Inge Wessels

Project Manager, Sinovuyo Caring Families Project

Violence is a problem in South Africa that affects all of us. Inge Wessels has made it her life mission to help prevent violence through strengthening the relationship between caregivers and the children they look after.

Wessels is a project manager for the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project in Khayelitsha. This involves the development and testing of a parenting programme for caregivers of children under the age of 10 that aims to reduce the risk of child maltreatment.

This is the first intervention study of its kind in a developing country.

In 2013 Wessels was awarded the Potter Fellowship, awarded to outstanding individuals with a profound interest in promoting a civil society in South Africa’s democracy to pursue a doctorate in psychology at the University of Cape Town.

Her research will explore how to train and supervise community-based workers to deliver parenting interventions effectively on the scale necessary to effect significant change in South Africa.

Over the past years Wessels has presented her work at local and international conferences, and published papers on parenting programmes and evaluation. She completed an internship at the World Health Organisation’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability in Geneva, where she engaged with world leaders in her field.

In addition to her involvement in violence prevention activities, Wessels has been involved in setting up campus-wide HIV-awareness and testing campaigns, and worked as an educational tutor for learners living in low-income communities.

“As a South African I have grappled with the challenges we face as a country and how we can work together to overcome them. One of these challenges is the high level of violence that we hear about and see in our communities.

“My vision for South Africa is to see a nation where kindness and understanding is central to the philosophy of life; where each and every citizen can feel safe both within and outside their homes; and where children are able to thrive emotionally, cognitively and socially, and grow into productive and well-adjusted adults. This vision is what keeps me motivated and focused in my work.” — Linda Doke