Safe haven for children escaping from Zimbabwe to South Africa

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lured by the glamour of the World Cup and looking for a better life, thousands of Zimbabwean children have been risking their lives crossing the border to South Africa.

They are leaving Zimbabwe for many reasons. Some have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, others are fleeing hunger and poverty because of famine or drought in their village. And many are looking for an education which will give them a better chance in life.

But the journey is dangerous. The children have to cut their way through vicious razor wire to get across the border, they face being swept away or encountering deadly crocodiles in the Limpopo river. The children are vulnerable to drugs and crime and the young girls are exposed to physical and sexual abuse.

Despite this, hundreds of children every month manage to cross the border to find a better life. Once across, there’s a safe haven for them and the opportunity to get an education. The Musina project, funded by UKaid from the Department for International Development and run by Save the Children, provides shelter, offers food and support and ensures they don’t end up on the streets or become involved in crime or drugs.

The project helps them to enrol into school in South Africa and find a placement in a children’s home. Staff also help children to get in contact with the families they have left behind in Zimbabwe or family members who are already living in South Africa.

Click on the image above to see a photo diary of some of the experiences of children who've crossed the border