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"Resilience in a Changing South Africa" JPCCC's 75th Anniversary Conference.

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

On Friday the 26th of July Robyn Nesbitt - Operations Manager for Dramatic Need attended the Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre - JPCCC's 75th Anniversary Conference on "Resilience in a Changing South Africa" hosted at the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre.

A slide from Renilla Singh's presentation on Using Attachment and Neuroscience Insights to Build Resilience in Children with Neurological and Emotional Trauma.

The conference programme touched on all areas of building resilience when working with children and adults. Speakers spoke of their personal experiences, sharing cases whereby they learnt to develop new methodologies when working with children, young adults, schools, parents and at times themselves.

The programme consisted of esteemed speakers Mark Haywood (Executive director SECTION27 and co editor of Maverick Citizen), Tracey Farber (Social Worker and Psychologist), Laverne Antrobus (Child Psychologist and Psychotherapist), Gilian Berkowitz (Educational Psychologist), Irene Chait (Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst), Dr Shona Fraser (Neuropsychology), Renilla Singh (Social Worker), Emily Walton Social workers and Play Based Intervention), Prof Adrian van Breda (Clinical Social Worker) and Dr Gloria Marsay (Educational Psychologist).

A slide from Dr Shona Fraser presentation: Using Attachement and Neuroscience Insights to Build Resilience in Children with Neurological and Emotional Trauma.

Mark Haywood opened the conference setting the tone for the day with his opening statement, “We have a crisis in children’s health care in South Africa... 90 million children’s health needs are not being met!” He posed questions to the audience "Where do we start?", "What are the foundations that need to be built?" and "What are the causes of this and what are the solutions?" He appealed to the audience of whom the majority were health care practioners, social workers, psychologists, psychoanalysts and NGO’s working with children stressing that the work we do does not go unnoticed and that we need to make visible the evidence of our work in order to support and draw attention to the care of our children.

Haywood went on to suggest that there are three things we collectively need to do:

1. We need to create and raise awareness - to build empathy in order to build support.

2. We need to step up campaigns that support children’s rights to make it a political priority for the government to address.

3. And lastly we need to strengthen alliances through organisations who are working with children to support each other and develop these networks further sharing resources, ideas and experiences.

After leaving the conference feeling inspired and overwhelmed by the stories shared by all the speakers and audience members - it made me very aware of the urgent and important work we all do when working with children and the communities we service. It also made visible the support and networks that are available to us, in addressing the needs of our children, developing global awareness and change in South Africa.

Important sites worth visiting:

Visit for more info on the conference

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