As the festive season reaches its peak and families are enjoying the holidays, safety is at the foremost of everyone’s minds, as children often go missing or get lost. Parents can easily get into a panic and during the crucial moments when a child goes missing, struggle to remember the important physical details and particulars pertaining to the missing child.
While statistics show that an average of 100 children go missing over the festive period, NGO Pink Ladies has since 2010, been highlighting the need for parents and schools to make use of an identikit for children. The identikit is a watermarked document filled in with permission from the parents and in partnership with the South African Police service, to gather information and keep a record of one’s children and present to police when children go missing.
Director Dessie Rechner says that after several years of round table meetings with all appropriate authorities and potential role-players, they were given the go-ahead, in conjunction with the SAPS and Community Policing Forums, to launch their “My Little Fingerprints” Project.
“In conjunction with CPF’s and the SAPS we are now in a position to attend schools, shopping centres, national and local events, in order to advise parents, and fingerprint their children. This information is handed to the parents or caregivers themselves, for safekeeping,” said Rechner
“In the unfortunate event of the child going missing, this information is then readily available and able to be handed to the Missing Persons Officers, to facilitate records of the child’s information on the standard Form 55, and also for dissemination to the media and other role-players involved in searches.”
She said the project has been officially been endorsed by the SAPS and CPFs and Pink Ladies work with them, side by side, on each and every case which is brought to their attention.
The organisation has been offering this service free of charge.
“There can be no price placed on the life of any child and it is our strong belief that ‘every child is my child’, an ethos that we are actively attempting to reinforce in communities across South Africa and beyond,” said Rechner.
There are so many children in South Africa that are essentially “identity-less”. The number of unidentified deceased children who are found and buried without names is astounding.
Rechner said they wish to give these children an identity and to bring closure to their families.
She added that there is no database kept by them and the completed fingerprint forms are handed to parents and caregivers for their preservation.
To get hold of the identikit form, you can request it from the organisation itself, or at their nearest police station. You can also follow the link to the Pink Ladies website for more information: http://thepinkladiesza.weebly.com/
VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)