One man’s commitment to children

The pastor and his wifeOn the edges of Ventersdorp – the desolate town in which Eugene Terreblanche was killed in December 2009 – there is a very poverty stricken township.  There are thousands of people living there with little hope of anything much – the schools can’t cope, there is widespread sickness, the locals farms are shedding workers by the hundreds and no other employment is on the horizon. As a result of all this there is considerable poverty, death, violence, and crime.  To help alleviate the awful problems faced by many families a lot of of the women [who are often widows / left unsupported] are prepared to travel miles and miles either every day or weekly to get money to survive.

A local Pastor, working on a shoestring himself, noticed many, many very small children left alone all day and, knowing how very vulnerable they are, he somehow got together enough resources to start up three different crèches. He has volunteer helpers who more often than not don’t get paid and together they somehow manage to keep 68 tots safe from harm every day.  He somehow heard about our training for crèche leaders and has now attended, praising it to the skies; we are planning for all his volunteer helpers to also attend during 2010.

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To date, with the help of DHL, we have sent from the UK to South Africa, over 2,500 soft toys for vulnerable children. The outpouring of love and donations of beautiful soft toys has been quite amazing and we thank every child and parent/guardian who have donated. Each and every toy that we sent will be cherished in their new home. We are now stopping accepting toys because those lovely people at do this all the time, again with DHL, and send toys to children all over the world. Any kind people who wish to donate will now be referred to them.

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We are proud and honoured that our work has been recognised by the UK Prime Minister, and that he has given Lesley his Point of Light award, stating
With the Infant Trust Lesley has empowered thousands of women across South Africa to protect and safeguard children in their communities. The education and training she has provided has helped to improve the lives of over 800,000 children, tackling the violence and abuse that affects too many of them in their early years. As we mark International Women’s Day this week I am delighted to recognise all that Lesley has done.”
You can find the full story at

Why are so many small children abused by male perpetrators in South Africa? Our researcher interviewed 27 perpetrators in prison in South Africa; all are in jail after being found guilty of some of the most terrible crimes against some of the most vulnerable children – some as young as a few days old. Those interviewed are all men aged between 16 years and 84 years old, and all have brutalised and raped at least one child. But the findings aren’t maybe what we might expect – it makes interesting reading.  We have been funding research into this for 5 years and it is finally finished and published – you can read the summary here

Our flagship Caring for Crèches programme has reached into some of the poorest communities in five of the nine provinces in South Africa and we have crèche leaders everywhere clamouring for the training. We have now trained over 2,200 people and they in turn have already positively impacted on the lives of over 160,000 children … and will continue to help many hundreds more children for years to come

Just once in a while, amongst all the amazing work that is done to help children in South Africa, we come across a shining star. One such is Wilhelmina who determined to setup a refuge for abandoned children.
Newsletter The report from our most recent visit to South Africa

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