Transforming Communities, Changing Lives 


Human Rights work at the Safe Parks

Posted by Martin Keat


Last month was Human Rights month in South Africa and it is a time that South Africans take to look back and reflect on the hardships they have fought through and conquered in the times of apartheid. It is still very much a sensitive topic for many as lives were lost during this time.

South Africa is still in its development stages, trying to stabilize the different social imbalances but, at times, it seems like a never-ending process as they continue to pick up pieces from the past through each step. This is something the Safe Parks that we collaborate with experience. Although we make a difference in the lives of many people in need, there is still much more to be done.

 We take this moment to introduce you to Bonisiwe Safe Park, our partner organisation based in the township Magagula Heights in Johannesburg, South Africa. We have been in partnership with Bonisiwe Safe Park for over 5 years now and although our contribution has made a difference to the organisation, there is still a lot that needs to be done. 

Bonisiwe is a place where people in Magagula Heights have found purpose and hope, there are passionate Child Care Advocates that work tirelessly to ensure that children and senior citizens in their community are well fed and taken care of.  Patricia, the founder of Bonisiwe, is a woman who saw a situation in her community and made a decision to take action by collaborating with people who shared the same concerns as her and exercised their right to make a difference in their community.

We live in a world filled with opportunities but not everyone finds the courage to take the step to change their lives. We as The Bishop Simeon Trust come to support what the Safe Parks already do and the impact they make in their communities. It is not an easy process for Safe Parks to keep running as they face different challenges. Food shortages and a limited number of people helping are some of the challenges that Safe Parks experience but that has never been a reason for them to give up.

Our contribution to Safe Parks covers small running costs but the difference that we make in the lives of vulnerable children gives communities hope to get up and see the possibility of a better future.

 We spoke to some of the beneficiaries about Human Rights and what they mean to them. Most of the responses were the same; to them Human Rights are those of having shelter, food, an education and nothing beyond that. One would think that it is enough to value those things as your only Human Rights but we have a different outlook on that.

We would like to instill a bigger vision of hope in the lives of the beneficiaries, not only for them to focus on their basic needs but to see an opportunity to achieve what they may think is far-fetched for people from poor backgrounds. We want them to see the power within themselves and grow eager to find ways that will fulfil their hunger for success. It is up to us to show them that Human Rights are not limited to basic resources but based on seeing beyond their circumstances as well as knowing that is their right to live out their dreams and aspirations.

We exercise our rights by giving Safe Parks hope. Hope that they will gain independence and create a continuous cycle of passing on knowledge and skills to those who come through their doors always.

We have learnt that Human Rights are not those that were developed by the law but are based on the things that we want to fulfil in our lives. Therefore, Human Rights are personal successes and we can achieve them by taking the first step to make a difference in whichever way. Although we are ordinary people, it is very possible for us to do extraordinary things.


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A big part of our work here at the Bishop Simeon trust is committed to assuring that children and young adults in South Africa are able to challenge and conquer those obstacles in their lives that prevent them from accessing education and assuring that they can  make the most of the potential they possess to thrive and build a positive future.