Founding Member and Senior Director – Miranda Jordan-Friedmann
Miranda Jordan-Friedmann became acutely aware of children’s rights while attending law classes in the early 1990’s at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a time of excitement and upheaval in the politics of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela and the ANC, amongst other parties and entities, had been unbanned and were all jostling for attention. It was a time of fierce activism at universities and other academic institutions throughout South Africa. Almost everyone at the time was aligning themselves to a cause – almost any cause – as the political turmoil was diverting attention away from other societal issues.
While working for Linda Goodman at the Goodman Gallery, Miranda was given the leeway by her employer to attend rallies and marches where she, with many other like-minded people, started becoming vocal about the most vulnerable in society – the children.
The horrific abuse case of baby Samantha in 1994 saw this group of activists uniting to form and found the Child Abuse Action Group where Miranda became a director. This became a hard-hitting advocacy group with much more radical-type protests. This Group made sure that the Samantha case and others were highlighted in the media. Children’s rights were now receiving mainstream media attention – their activism started paying dividends.
Three years later saw Miranda evolve from pure activism to that of becoming more involved in service delivery. She joined Women & Men against Child Abuse in 1997 where she presently holds the title of Founding Director.
Executive Director – Kevin Barbeau
Kevin Barbeau, currently Executive Director of Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), joined the NGO in 2003. With his previous marketing and counseling experience, Kevin has been chiefly responsible for maintaining and developing sponsor relationships and sustainability over the past 15 years.
Ensuring the organisation has a healthy cash flow and financial reserves is paramount to its sustainability.
Kevin has also been involved in raising the public profile of WMACA, the general promotion of WMACA’s services to the communities in which the public benefit organisation operates, and increasing awareness of child abuse.
Kevin is driven each and every day, by the need to make a positive difference in the lives of others. His goal for WMACA is continued growth and to make the brand a household name.
In his spare time (a rare treat), he enjoys spending time with his pets, and close friends from varying backgrounds and careers. According to Barbeau, this provides him with the healthy balance needed to focus every day.
Operations Director – Vincentia Dlamini
Growing up in a family that always reached out to children in need has had a great influence on my life choices. If there was a child who needed to be taken in, my family stepped in. In my matric year I showed up with a classmate needing a conducive environment to study, we shared a room with her until exams were over, this is who we were in my family.
Dropping out of engineering and pursuing nursing was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After graduating as a registered nurse, I decided to do a forensic nursing course which allowed me to not only take physical and forensic evidence for court but to offer a friendly environment that allowed mainly victims of sexual assault comfort and courage to deal with their trauma.
I joined WMACA in 2006 because I found it to be speaking to what I was about as an activist for social justice and my passion has been kept alive.
Every child deserves to live in an environment free from harm and this responsibility falls upon all citizens to protect their rights.
Advocacy, Research, Media Engagement – Ngaatendweishe Murombedzi
I have a passion for children and the wellness of society as a whole, through the protection of vulnerable groups, including women. My passion lies in being able to give a voice to those who cannot otherwise be heard, to be a speaker about the issues find too sensitive or too minute to pursue. I began my academic career in Law, choosing at a later stage to follow a more grassroots level of engagement with society though Anthropology. I obtained a post-graduate degree in Development Studies and Anthropology.
I found my strong points in communication and writing and hope to be able to take the stories of those who have no capacity to speak for themselves and raise awareness to the cracks in society that create detrimental divides such as abuse and crime. Through engagement with activities that can in the long run eradicate these symptoms of discord, such as educating children and caregivers on safety measures, skills acquisition and basic social engagement, we can protect the children that are the future of our world. Children should be allowed to be children without the fear of the safety of being little being taken from them.
Administrative Manager – Tania Otto
Tania came to WMACA in 2006 after an extensive career in the IT industry and an administrative and bookkeeping background.
“Something was calling me. I had to leave the corporate world and do something more meaningful” she says.
A social justice activist at heart, Tania works in the background, doing funding proposals, progress reports, NPO compliance, compiling statistics, designing protest banners and even wrapping 100 Christmas presents when the need arises.
“I have washed buckets in Alexandra during the Xenophobia and I’ve patched up kids’ injuries in Boksburg. I have fought with the Department of Health in Orange Farm, and warded off a wife beater in Verulam.
We have protested outside courts quietly and when the perpetrators’ supporters scream at us and try to follow us. The next day I go back to a desk and a spreadsheet. Never a dull moment! Wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Passionate about justice and children’s rights, Tania lends administrative support to Directors, the Advocacy team, and the Kidz Clinics .