Some project updates:
|1. Childline - Limpopo|
|The crèche we have been funding and supporting since March 2008 is doing really well, the demand gets greater, the local community gets more involved and, more to the point, over 100 small children are now safe and developing well with many more coming in during 2009. Considering the malnourished and sad state most of them arrive at the crèche the change over the months is amazing as their bodies and minds get fed, exercised developed and protected. They had the first group of small children move on to the local Primary School in January 2009 and there was a lovely ceremony to celebrate their ‘graduation’.|
|We plan to continue supporting this crèche for another 2 years until enough local money has been raised to make this self-sufficient; the protection of these vulnerable children is paramount…. but you should see the pride and joy in their faces when they sing new songs or play games or sit and paint.|
2. Childline - North West Province
|This is where we are now rolling-out our jointly developed training programme for crèche leaders and workers. By the end of 2008 we have trained 114 people in 57 crèches and there are calls to Childline also most daily from other parts of the province for the training to happen for their crèche leaders.|
|People often ask me if training is simply a ‘day out’ – well for most of these ladies it is the first time anyone has ever offered them training, they are so SO motivated by it and we get anecdotal stories about how things are changing to keep children safe …. for example where the training has happened all the crèches now have fences around them, they all hold registers and they all make sure they know who is delivering and collecting the children – these may seem small things but they have dramatically reduced the numbers of small children being abducted and abused.
The other very telling factor is that the calls reporting suspected abuse to Childline, after the training, are very significantly raised. Each report is acted on, many children have been helped and/or removed and the numbers of reported incidents keep rising – this may be horrific but it is a major success as this all previously went unreported
|I met Martha on one of the training courses for local volunteers that we fund and she told me her story.
Aged two years old she was taken to live with a relative. The relative put her to work, she had no clothes of her own as she grew and was often clothed in bits of plastic, she had to sleep on the floor or outside, and her place was to serve the family. For 7 years she was bullied, beaten, malnourished, and cold and deprived of emotional comfort. She did however go to early school. At 9 years old she finally ran away and went to live under the railway arches and in ditches [common places for homeless children to go] from then on she survived by exchanging her body for food and/or money – how else could she survive?At 14 years old she was discovered by a philanthropic lady who toured the homeless sites and was taken in to this lady’s home with other similar children. From this secure base she went to school and eventually matriculated. Martha, understandably, regards this lady as her saviour and mother and remains in contact. Now, aged 26 years, she has set-up an orphanage in a tumbledown disused building in the middle of nowhere on a wing and a prayer and takes in other children from railways and ditches. She scrapes together whatever she can for herself and these children
I have seen her physical scars, and heard her mental scars, but her determination to help other such children is astonishing. She cares for 9 children from 18 months to 16 years and gets funds and food and clothing from wherever she can. She attended our training for crèche volunteers because, as she says, she had no mothering so doesn’t know how to mother her children – she has to learn and then teach them.
She is far too distant to attract any multinational funds… but what an inspiration.
[1 Not her real name]
|If anyone would like further information about any of our projects please contact me|