The Brave Heart campaign Designers make a stand Against Child Abuse
Johannesburg – Thirty-six top South African fashion designers have teamed up for to raise money for the national effort to end child abuse.
The designers have dressed over 120 teddy bears in trendy apparel from their collections for the first annual Brave Heart Bears initiative that is part of the16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
The Brave Heart campaign is in collaboration with Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA).
The unique teddy bears were unveiled at the Jenna Clifford Design Studio in Johannesburg last week, and they are up for auctioning.
Spearheaded by jewellery designer Jenna Clifford, some of the labels in the Brave Heart Bears initiative include Scalo, Rubicon, Anel Botha, and Fundudzi by Craig Jacobs. Among leading personalities involved in the campaign are hip-hop artist Riky Rick, ex-Miss South Africa Sasha Lee Laurel, End Girl Hate founder Leanne Dlamini, the Soweto Gospel Choir, and TV host Kim Jayde.
Designer Thokozani Lloyd “TK” Mbatha – who runs the Lloyd Hotsense label – said it was high time society demonstrated that actions were louder than words when it came to ending all forms of abuse.
“The 16 Days are not enough, people need to be reminded about gender-based violence every day of the year. I wanted to make a difference. And as a father, being part of a project such as this, one day my son will understand me as a person and will see what I have done. I won’t have to explain, he’ll see what is the right thing to do,” said Mbatha
WMACA founder Miranda Jordan said violence against women and children had increased during the lockdown period.
“Over the past eight months, we have assisted with 3,500 children’s therapy sessions, 90 parent sessions and 120 family sessions,” she added.
Jordan explained they had settled on teddy bears for the campaign because of te affinity many children had for the stuffed toys.
“Besides being cuddly and cute, they offer unconditional love, reassurance, security and companionship. Even in our high-tech world of gadgets and gizmos, their love affair with the simple teddy bear runs deep, which is why Brave Heart Bears was the perfect initiative for what we are working towards.
“This will help us with a much needed financial injection to help those broken little souls by giving them tools to navigate a positive way through their pain,” she said.
She spoke firmly for the need of mental support for children who become victims of sexual abuse.
“I often refer to it as a lifelong impact, of child sexual abuse may cause a range of negative consequences for the mental health and adjustment in childhood, adolescence and adulthood for the victim.
“The abuse does not only steal the childhood, but it also steals adulthood and that is why our early work at our clinics is often followed by later work with our advocacy team. Important aspects of the abuse include the relationship with the perpetrator, the betrayal of trust, the age and gender of the child and the particular form of abuse; all are significant factors,” she said.