Sunday, May 27, 2012

Providing hope in a bleak place

O.R. Tambo Informal Settlement is a squatter camp at Elandsvlei, about 10 kilometres outside the Randfontein town centre.
 It is a grim place, of that there is no doubt. Residents live in shacks that they construct themselves, made from whatever materials they are able to scrounge. In summer it is like living in the bowels of hell and winter is a thoroughly miserable experience. In some years, shacks are washed away by heavy rains.
 Water must be collected from large plastic tanks set up at the entrance to the camp that are filled every few days by the Randfontein Town Council. Sewage is rudimentary.

 The people who live in O.R. Tambo are desperately poor. Some are orphaned children who have no choice but to fend for themselves. Without help, the community, especially the children, would have little hope of knowing anything else and would simply slip into the abyss made up of the millions of the unknown, desperate, poor in South Africa.
 But there is hope for these vulnerable people.
 At the end of March 2012 Carryou Ministry opened a Drop-in Centre at Elandsvlei. The facility provides a nutritious, cooked meal to around 600 children, six days a week. It also supplies daily meals to kids at a nearby school.
 There is also a nursery school that operates at the Carryou Drop-in Centre where, currently, 22 pre-school kids are fed, cared for and prepared for school.
 In the afternoons, trained care-givers are on hand to help both primary and high-school children complete their school homework and prepare them for their exams.
 In addition, counseling services are made available, life-skills programs that cover issues like HIV/AIDS prevention, TB awareness and teenage preganancies, are run and help is given in obtaining birth certificates and identity documents.
 "As a society it is our God-given duty to give these kids a hand-up in life," says Rev Lawrence Mabaso, General Manager of Carryou Ministry. "Who knows what potential lies amongst them and just needs a little help, to be realized?"

No comments:

Post a Comment