Village of Hope

The previous days, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the children in our PATRIZIA KinderHouse. It felt like being in a huge family. The children struggled with each other and the next moment they were kissing and cuddling again. Although there are several pairs of brother and sisters among the children, I was not able to pair them. They all behaved like brothers and sisters.

Finally, I had the chance to talk to the busy social worker Mr. Blankenberg, who gave me a great insight into the histories, problems and backgrounds of all the children.

The former farm on which the PATRIZIA KinderHouse Grabouw is located, is called “Village of Hope”, The hope and objective for each child is, to bring it back to their families, relatives, or to foster care families.

For three months now, the project is officially registered as Child and Youth Care Center (CYCC). This means, that all children are sent to the PATRIZIA KinderHouse by court. Either the reason is that they are really orphans, or due to domestic violence, substance abuse or neglection. The court decides how long the children might stay. In the meantime, social workers are dealing with the trauma of the children and work out individual develop and training plans with the families.

On my last evening, we had a small farewell party. It was both beautiful and sad. The children are so lovely. Of course, I am happy to see my own family again, but on the other side, I leave behind children, missing nothing more than a family. As Mr. Blankenberg said: “The children do not need luxury. They need their parents.”

The attitude and strength of the people working here, make me very happy that I could meet them. I am looking back to an impressing, emotional and exhausting, but motivating project journey and I am looking forward to come back one day.

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Family photo – with all 13 children and their house mums.

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Having a one year old child myself, Jenna the youngest, is very close to me.

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Big sisters, Felicity and Beredine, like to take care for their little brothers and sisters.

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Saying goodbye – always a pensive moment.

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Last time cuddling on the couch.

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Visiting Educare – Education and care for children

Educare is a ECD-Program (Early Childhood Development) of Thembalitsa in Grabouw. As I told in my last blog, many children in the townships are neglected, abused or even raped during the absence of their parents for work.

In 2015 Thembalitsa had enough. Within two years, they built six EDC-Centres, for 50 children in average at an age between three and six. Three more are planned already. The children are away from the streets, while learning in a safe environment. Attached to the EDC-Centres, there are playing fields, which can also be used by the older ones in the afternoon. Furthermore, within small gardens, the small students already learn how to grow own fruits and vegetables.

Since the parents often have to walk a long distance to the farms, the centres are open from six o`clock in the morning until half past five in the evening. The average income of a farmworker is about 3000 Rand per month, which is not even 200 Euro. And they are employed only seasonal.

Violent housebreaking into the centres are quite regular, but together with a lot of volunteers, there is always a way to fix the things. A lot of volunteers from all over the world are visiting Thembalitsa quite often, supporting them with maintenance, painting and wherever they are needed. And the cooperation with the community is very good. Concerning the last housebreak, the police and the people worked closely together: almost all stolen devices from kitchen to clothes were brought back.

The EDC program is so successful, that neighbouring cities have already asked Thembalitsa to do the same there. The demand is high, not only because the fee of less than ten Euro is very low. Before, many parents paid 40 Euro a month for nannies.

Back in the PATRIZIA KinderHouse, I used the time to play with the children in the garden. After dinner, we spend some wonderful moments in the lounge. Although the house mums are very lovingly, the children haven`t been overflowed with affection so far. Therefore, they enjoyed it very much, having someone for themselves.

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Projectmanager Unathi (right) shows me the places. Here we meet the head of the first Educare centre. In order to start quick, it was build with containers.

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The children enjoy learning in the centres.

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Gardening is one of the subjects.

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Violent housebreakings happens often in the centres.

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The latest Educare centre, has just started last month.

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Good night story in Africans: challenging for me – funny for the children

The Angels of Thembacare!

Yesterday I could see another project of our partners, the Thembalitsa foundation: „Thembacare“.

I will surely never forget this day, which was both shocking and impressing. Thembacare is a palliative station, which takes care for terminal ill persons, HIV positive people and tuberculosis patients in the townships.

Additionally, they take terminal care for seven in-patients. The waiting list for the beds is long, but the government supports only four beds with a non-sufficient contribution. More places with the high ongoing costs, are just not affordable.

I walked into the local township with two nurses, who are called there the angels. I received a clear guidance, stay close, no backpack which would attract desire and photos only to be taken with permission. Quite annoying considering the fact, that Capetown and vicinity ranks place nine amongst the most dangerous cities in the world, due to the townships.

Entering the officially called “informal settlement”, I experienced a shocking level of poverty and life conditions. The average income per person is less than two dollars a day, which makes Grabouw better than many other similar places. Being 60 kilometres out of Capetown, the farms around the city offer at least a seasonal income.

Together with the team, we walked eight kilometres through the township, visiting twelve seriously ill patients. Twenty per cent of the population are HIV positive. Tuberculosis or cancer are other frequent diseases. Thembalitsa is nursing almost 350 patients a week, with five teams.

It was just admirable, to see the nurses doing their vocation under those circumstances, bringing hope and dignity to people who really need it.

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Clear guidance: Stay close – the nurses are familiar with the people.

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Medication check, blood test, bookkeeping – the nurses are really conscientious!

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While the parents work on the farms, many kids stay alone or with neighbours the whole day!

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The „older“ ones are responsible both for the household and the younger brothers and sisters.

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Little boy, curious about the white man with the camera.

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Electric shocks are happening regularly…

 

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Saying goodbye.

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Leaving the township makes me both relieved and thoughtfully. We take things too often for granted!

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After the tour is before the tour – documentation and preparations for the next day.

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Thank you for taking me with you! Maybe our HOPE from PATRICIA can also give hope to the angels from Thembacare.

 

A journey to PATRIZIA KinderHouse Grabouw, South Africa

Happy children.

I am for the first time at our PATRIZIA Orphanage Grabouw, South Africa. To meet the 13 children and our partners from the Thembalitsa Foundation is overwhelming. I have found the children so happy, really loved by their house mums (officially „child and youth care worker“). And the site, which is a former six hectares farm, gives them huge space to play around, go for a walk or just relax in the lounge area.

All the children were interested, who I am and where I come from. They all wanted to get to know to me, to lead me around, to play with me and most important, to make photos with my camera. The house mums, who are working in twelve hour shifts, enjoyed this seldom moment of calmness, with the children gathering around myself. The easiness and patience, the house mums are doing their vocation is just admirable. After several hours, I was seriously in the need of a break, so I went for some sports into the hills. It is spring in South Africa and the beautiful landscape surrounding the orphanage is amazing.

One highlight of today was the flying camera. Flying with the drone over the PATRIZIA KinderHouse did not only provide a lot of fun to the children, but also beautiful pictures and a short video, you are invited to see on facebook

Jenna, me, .. Barbara, Chatleen

Warm welcome: Barbara and three of the kids, Jenna, Jaylin and Chatleen.

Jeandre,...

Jeandre (3 years) and Ezet (5 years) cannot get enough of the camera.

Jaylin and Jenna

Jaylin (6) and Jenna (2) on the rocking horse.

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The swing, made from old tires is always in use.

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Housemum Francis, preparing fresh lunch for the kids.

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Lunch with the kids – for sure never boring.

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Ezet, cuddling with her housemum.

Beredine, Brendon, Jerado

The oldest ones: Jerado (13), Brendon (13) and Beredine (14), showing me the river, which is the border of the farm.

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Francis takes her chance, while the young kids are sleeping and the older kids are keeping myself in action.

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Exploring the nature which is surrounding the farm.

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Andre (11) and Felicity (13) helping me to prepare the drone.

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View from above: The children having fun at the playground.