In order to address the harsh realities that exist within South Africa a well-trained, inspired workforce of supportive counsellors is needed to service those people who fall by the wayside of accessible mental health services and make a meaningful social impact. At SACAP we believe that our fieldwork programme is the first step towards empowering our student counsellors. We have partnered with more than 100 NGOs, with a specific focus on those that make a social impact in their community. Our students spend time working at these NGOs, gaining valuable work experience and we would like to acknowledge our amazing partner NGOs through a series of posts featuring their work.
Introduction to the Teddy Bear Clinic
Established in Johannesburg in 1986, the Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children (TTBC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring abused children are protected and rehabilitated. Launched initially due to an urgent need for medical examinations for sexually abused children, it is today a holistic service providing forensic medical examinations, forensic assessments, counselling, psychological testing and a diversion programme for youth sex offenders.
With a team of 38 staff members and 50 volunteers at 3 branches, The Teddy Bear Clinic assists abused children between the ages of 3 and 18 years old, by offering therapy, counselling, love, safety and on-going support.
The clinic also works with the parents of the victims and within the community, empowering them with knowledge and skills to help prevent and stop child abuse and to support those affected. The team actively approaches schools to provide education to the learners on sexual, physical and drug abuse in an effort to prevent further incidents. Teacher training is also provided, giving the Educators clear direction on how to handle child abuse cases.
There are currently 3 SACAP students from the Johannesburg campus doing their fieldwork component at the Teddy Bear Clinic. The students play a critical role at the clinic by providing counselling to the child victims and their families. The counselling provided helps children in their journey to healing and enables them to make the shift from a victim to a ‘thriver’ rather than just a survivor. A SACAP alumni continues to provide counselling at the Krugersdorp office in the capacity of a volunteer. She has made further contributions by identifying needs at the branch and finding resources to fill the gaps such as furniture, etc.
Dr Shaheda Omar from the Teddy Bear Clinic, says, ‘The SACAP students have made a great impression at our clinic and their work ethic has been so professional. Their support has eased some of the load carried by our staff through successfully providing therapy to the traumatised children referred to our clinic for intervention. We value the support provided by SACAP and we look forward to this continued partnership’.
The Teddy Bear Clinic receives funding from the Department of Social Development and Department of Health, but do rely on donations from Corporates and private benefactors too.
For further info on how to support them and to find out about volunteering opportunities, visit www.ttbc.org.za