Child headed families receive new homes

TEN child headed families have kicked off 2013 in their own homes.
These families, based in the Groblersdal area, are all orphans and rely on
their elder siblings and each other for parenting support.

The end of last year saw each family receive the keys to their newly built,
two bedroom home from the Ndlovu Care Group. This non-profit organisation
(NPO), who identify orphaned and vulnerable children within the outlying
areas of Groblersdal, enrol the relevant families in the Children's Program
for Child Headed Households (CHAMP), which helps and assists these children
where necessary. It was through this programme that Ndlovu identified that
many children had no roof over their heads, which resulted in the NPO
starting the Tjommie Foundation. To date, the foundation has raised enough
funding to build twenty-eight homes, which will benefit fifty children.

Jackina Mello (35), placed at the Ndlovu Care Group through the Vodacom
Change the World initiative, identifies and assesses the families that have
met the criteria for housing. She commented "I have developed close
relationships with most of the children. Knowing they now have a safe place
to rest their heads at night and a somewhere where they can develop
functional family values makes all our hard work worth it."

Through this housing project, stigmatisation has also been alleviated for
many of these children. One such child is Sipho*, whose parents died of AIDS
when he was ten years old.  For the past five years, he has been living on
his own and surviving with the help of a friend who brings him leftovers,
the feeding scheme at his school and the kindness of neighbours and teachers
who give him clothes.  

The shack he lived in was so dilapidated that leaning against the wall would
cause it to collapse. Despite his hardship and without parental insistence,
he has still been attending school every day, taking his education and his
future into his own hands. Now, with a home of his own, the future looks a
little brighter.

In previous years, the foundation has been able to build a number of houses
and in some instances funding was secured to repair child headed household
homes. One of the biggest challenges facing children living in houses that
their parents have left to them is that the houses are usually run down and
without secure locks for windows and doors.  Their safety is at risk and
many live in constant fear of being raped and robbed. In some instances
children live in atrocious structures they have constructed themselves. 

Mariette Slabbert from Ndlovu commented, "We built the new houses near
boreholes, erected by Ndlovu, due to the fact that many of these children,
especially the younger ones, spent hours every day fetching and carrying
water. This has alleviated that problem and made it easier for them to have
access to water." 


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