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family is everything

Nompilo finds her family

family is everything

Every child deserves to grow up in the warm heart of a family. Sadly, it’s not possible for so many of today’s little ones.

Nompilo’s mother died shortly after she was born, and she was placed in a children’s home. A few years ago, the home closed down and Nompilo came to us.

But this young girl never believed she was an orphan. She remembered visits from her father when she was little. She also remembered the visits coming to an abrupt end, although she didn’t know why.

Thus began our search for Nompilo’s dad. Our social worker made contact with an agency social worker in the area where Nompilo was born. We asked her to go to the hospital to see if she could find out the name of Nompilo’s father … and there it was in the hospital medical file. It was a huge blow to find out that he had died in 2008.

Seeing Nompilo’s disappointment, our social worker asked the agency worker to go to the father’s last known address. She hoped there might be other family members still living there. Sadly, it was not so. But a neighbour recalled having seen two family members in the town. She promised to keep an eye open and pass on the agency worker’s number if she saw them again. And so it was that Nompilo finally made contact with her paternal aunt and grandfather.

They were beyond grateful to have found their ‘lost’ child. Nompilo, who turns 18 in a couple of months, has decided to return into their care.

Although we strive to give children placed with us the best possible care and attention, the truth is that there is no substitute for a real family. We are always so excited when it becomes possible for a child to return to his or her family. And we strive to work with family members to make reintegration possible, wherever it is in the best interests of the child.

Pamela's story

Thank you for giving Christmas joy

When we shared Pamela’s* story with you at the end of last year, we never dreamed how deeply it would touch your heart. For the past seven years, Pamela and her siblings have spent every Christmas here at the Durban Child & Youth Care Centre, because they have no family to go to at this special time of year.

Your response was nothing short of phenomenal! From invitations to take the children out to donations towards gifts and treats, you showered the siblings … and 50 other children who remained with us over the holidays … with love. Thank you!

Special thanks to Toys R Us who donated gifts to the value of R12 000 – as well as East Coast Radio who made the kids the recipient of their Big Favour. You cannot imagine how much joy and excitement your kindness gave.

If you remember Pamela’s story, you’ll know that shortly before Christmas, our social worker managed to trace the children’s paternal grandparents in Mpumalanga. Although the granny indicated that she wanted to become involved in Pamela’s life, inter-provincial transport posed a big problem, both logistically and financially. We were certain that any plans made would fall through and the children would once again be badly let down.

But our social worker received an unexpected call from the grandparents. They had borrowed a car and were on their way to Durban to pick Pamela up for the school holidays. Oh the excitement, the jubilation when they arrived!

The visit was a resounding success and the outcome is that Pamela will be placed with her grandpaents at the end of this year. We are working on having her younger siblings transferred to a Child & Youth Care Centre in Mpumalanga, so the children will be able to see each other frequently, and there will be contact with the extended family.

Pamela’s story turned into a real Christmas miracle!

*Name changed to protect identity

Mandy Goble

Message from the Director

Today I was reminded that, no matter how dire the situation, we should never write off a child.

Sipho left our Centre two years ago. He had just failed matric and was returning to a home beset with poverty. Apart from his academic challenges, he also struggled with social skills, having been raised by a granny with psychiatric challenges.

But, instead of being defeated and sinking into hopelessness, Sipho chose to redo Grade 11 and then matric. And today he came to show us his results: a Bachelor pass with 1 distinction and 2 ‘B’s’!

How amazing, how wonderful! A story of determination and resilience, which saw this young man overcome so many obstacles to succeed against all the odds.

This story reminds me how important and worthwhile our services are to vulnerable and at-risk children. It is an honour and privilege to do this work. The responsibility is great and often overwhelming; however, the reward is priceless.

Sipho’s beaming face is all the encouragement our child care team needs to face 2022 with the courage that will surely be required as we navigate the many obstacles that are sure to come our way.

I hope that we can count on you to continue your journey with us this year.

Fun with Lego

Lessons from Lego

Fun with Lego

Creativity, puzzle solving and fine motor skills were just a few of the  lessons learned by our children during a fun morning building with Lego. Sets of the popular building blocks were kindly donated by World Sports Betting.

Our Child and Youth Care Team identified that when they gave a child a limited number of blocks to complete their project, they learnt that each piece counted! They began to understand that, regardless of the colour, shape or size, each piece is crucial to completing a whole puzzle.

In the same way, each one of our children counts, and is important to our Centre, our community and our world.

Fun with lego

Back to school

On your marks, get set, go … back to school at last!

Back to school

How exciting it was for the children to go back to school at the beginning of the year, given all the disruptions of the past two years! There was a flurry of activity as uniforms and shoes that fitted last year were found to be too small to squeeze into now. And the long lists of required stationery items seemed never ending!

Thank goodness for our wonderful friends and supporters, who never fail to open their hearts and hands to make sure the children have everything they need.

In particular, we thank SPAR Glenwood for donating new school shoes and Ethekwini Caterers who donated new school bags. Chester Butchery, Pro Print, the ladies from Mildene Clinic and We Buy Cars all chipped in with stationery items, and we received cash donations from various individuals towards new uniforms. Thank you, one and all!

Your kindness not only enables our kids to start the year, fully kitted out – it also carries the unspoken message: you are worthy and just as important as any other child in your class.

As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Our future generation deserve the right to access quality education for a bright and better future. Thank you for giving our children an opportunity to learn, grow and excel!

Donations of school shoes and stationery

New Roof from Victor Daitz Foundation

New roof over our heads – thanks to the Victor Daitz Foundation

New Roof from Victor Daitz Foundation

Thanks once again to the generosity of The Victor Daitz Foundation, our historic Baumann Hall now has a new roof – and a new lease on life. Broken tiles have been replaced, and years of moss build up removed. Adding the finishing touch are the spick and span new fascias. Now, the roof not only looks good, but is completely sound and weather proof.

The generous R188 522 grant we received from the Foundation was enough to cover the cost of replacing the boiler at SAWAS House as well. This completes some of the urgent repairs and renovations needed at the Durban Child & Youth Care Centre. Thanks to all concerned, for giving our children a safe and comfortable home they can be proud of.