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Queen Silvia visits South Africa for World Childhood Foundation

Queen Silvia visited South Africa earlier this week to view projects supported by the World Childhood Foundation and other organisations.

The World Childhood Foundation has partnerships with 12 projects in South Africa that range from support to victims of child abuse, home visits to pregnant women and new parents, therapy for children who have been abused, and helping to prepare children to testify in court.

On Monday, Queen Silvia’s first day in South Africa, she visited the Philisa Abafazi Bethu project, Waves for Change, and Project Playground in Cape Town and Langa.

Philisa Abafazi Bethu provides support to women and children in the violent area surrounding the charity, Lavender Hill in Cape Town.

According to the World Childhood Foundation’s website, its ongoing project with Philisa “also focuses on training and supporting a number of mothers who are on call to take care of children who have been abandoned or taken into care, until such time as the social services can take over responsibility.”

While visiting with Waves for Change, Queen Silvia met with the young people participating in the project.

Wave for Change is a surf club for young people which uses “surfing to teach children to feel connected to their bodies, which can help to reduce symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.”

Queen Silvia also visited Project Playground, a charity founded by her daughter-in-law, Princess Sofia, in 2010.

Project Playground’s mission is to provide a place where “children are allowed to be children and where they can grow and become confident, competent and well-functioning individuals on their own terms…through recreational sports and educational activities.”

On Tuesday, Queen Silvia visited James House and Mamelani.

At James House, the Queen learned about their BEST program (Building Emotionally Strong Teens), which is a “six-month non-residential solution to prevent at-risk teenage boys and girls with challenging behaviour entering a path that may be destructive to either themselves or others,” according to its official website.

At Mamelani, Queen Silvia saw the work of the after-care program and how it helps young people who have previously lived in institutions get back on their feet to live independent lives.

“Instead of simply being ‘thrown out into the street’ the day they become 18, with no network and no support, which previously often meant they began living on the streets and/or using drugs, they are now offered support and education during a period before and after the day of their 18th birthday,” according to Childhood’s website.

On Wednesday, her final day in South Africa, Queen Silvia visited Seven Passes and the Institute for Security Services.

At Seven Passes, a charitable initiative that works to combat poverty by increasing the level of education in the area, Queen Silvia learned about their projects and educational activities, which include homework help, sports and music and drama for young people.

Seven Passes provides help to newborns, toddlers, children up to age nine, and teenagers; and works to support development and wellbeing through five areas: “social skills, building relationships, learning how to handle emotions and self-control, learning appropriate behaviour and boundaries as well as cognitive skills, such as language and reasoning.”

Queen Silvia’s last engagement in South Africa was a stop at the Institute of Security Services, which works to improve safety as a way to achieve peace.

Queen Silvia founded the World Childhood Foundation in 1999. The Foundation works to “safeguard the right of the child to a safe and loving childhood, and to work in particular to improve the living conditions for children at risk of becoming victims of violence or sexual abuse.”

The World Childhood Foundation has offices in Sweden, Germany, Brazil and the United States; and is engaged in projects around the world, including South Africa, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, and Poland.

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