On Saturday 20th April, a group of NCCF volunteers visited 8 charities in Soweto. We also visited another charity for assessment who appealed to us for support.
It was a cold, wet and in some places very muddy, but that did not deter the volunteers. We were welcomed at each facility with huge smiles, hugs, cheers and even song and dance as we handed out Eater eggs and sweets. The care-givers and many parents were so grateful for our support plus the fact that we took the trouble to visit each centre.
Our first stop was in Motsoaledi at Embizweni Day Care where our builder had renovated all their shacks, and despite the heavy rains, the little rooms were warm and dry, much to the delight of Victoria who runs this centre. With the NCCF support she is now able to care for 45 children.
Our next visit was to the Ratanang Group for Children with Multiple Disabilities where we assisted in feeding the children their Easter eggs. This centre has a large team of highly trained staff to care for the 27 severely disabled children. The fire damage to the unit almost 3 years ago has resulted in the closure of part of the centre and despite NCCF offering to re-build the 2 rooms, the Department of Health red tape still precludes us from doing so.
Next on the list was a new charity – Emuseni Daycare – which blew us away. A spotless home, large outdoor play area, bright classrooms, 4 teachers and 66 adorable children aged 2 – 6 years. The day care has been operating for 23 years and was officially registered on January 1999. Owner, Eunice burst into tears when we assured her of a grocery shop in May which would include educational items as well.
Thembelenkosini is always a happy place to visit, but sadly the number of indigent children in their care has increased to 148 with Khosi informing us that she continually has requests to take in more, but there is just no space. The children were thrilled to receive Easter eggs.
At the Nkanyezi Stimulation Centre we were welcomed by the founder Irene and her team, as well as a number of parents with their physically/mentally disabled children that the centre caters for. At this brightly painted centre with large wheelchair friendly grounds, the 40 children are given the best possible care. It is a pleasure to continue to assist Nkanyezi.
Always a favourite on our Soweto visits is Mirriam and her staff who oversee 60 children living in the Orlando Children’s Orphanage. This home which also runs a day care centre, has large grounds, bright airy rooms, an inviting baby and toddler unit plus a well-equipped play area.
Joy at Work was eagerly awaiting our arrival as the children danced and sang while we handed out Easter eggs. Sylvia asked for assistance with a badly leaking carport as well as ceiling boards for their main classroom which also has exposed wires. We will ask our builder to quote for these repairs. The playground has just one swing and a broken slide for 84 children to use. The NCCF will purchase sandpits as well as a swing and slide for this area.
Thiba Tlala was brimming at the seams when we walked into their small centre to the sound of cheerful voices singing a welcome song for us. This after care and safe house is run by Anastacia who cannot cope with the more than 80 children needing help. NCFF will purchase the required school stationery for the older children.
And our final stop was at Matjele Community Centre with its gaily painted shipping containers where 250 children arrive after school for mostly their only meal of the day. There is also assistance with homework and supervised after care under the guidance of Julia and her team of volunteers. Julia’s main concern is that they still have no electricity and appeals to the local municipality have fallen on deaf ears.
Our next trip is on 25th May when we head for the East Rand to visit 9 of our profiled charities.