12 September 2017

In the quiet Republic of Hout Bay lies incredible potential passionately becoming the next leaders of the New South Africa.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ” Romans 12:2

Are we willing to change the way we think, feel and respond to certain places, events and circumstances around us?  Are we able to see the good in people and help them as opposed to merely pointing out what’s wrong?

The youth of Hout Bay are bursting with potential and creativity .  Too many are confronted with overwhelming odds, and are forced to forfeit their studies and secure short-term employment to meet their day-to-day needs.  Too easily, the short-term becomes part of a spiral that traps them in poverty in spite of their best efforts.

Ikhaya le Themba – Home of Hope – is an NPO nestled in Imizamo Yethu, that has spent the last 14 years trying to enhance the options and capabilities of some of the most vulnerable children in Hout Bay. The beautiful premises are staffed by 11 people and a host of volunteers. 

The 98 children between the ages of 6 and 14 who currently attend iKhaya le Themba ever week-day afternoon receive homework assistance, a hot lunch as well as a snack and fruit.  Crucially,  Ikhaya le Themba provides a safe environment where children can read,  dance, learn crafts and experience the type of life skills and therapy groups that every child needs, but too few receive. iKhaya le Themba is an incredibly fun place. The children who do attend are selected based on the extent of their need, but invariably grow in confidence and stature and this is reflected in their ability to persist with school.

By design iKhaya le Themba hosts children from a variety of family circumstances but always looks to strengthen the support that children receive when at home. Guardians are assisted through home visits  and support groups run by our community workers. Guardians are also equipped  through  programmes such as Word Works, conversational English, computer literacy and training in how to grow their own food, sewing classes, baking classes, worker readiness training and CV writing courses as well.

Although designed around the needs of children and their guardians, it is our visitors who tend to leave with the biggest  smiles and filled with new hope. Ironically, however, most of our visitors are from outside of South Africa. Surely it is time to change that, to recognise the asset that we have right here in the valley and to build the type of relationship bridges between iKhaya le Themba (and  Imizamo Yethu more generally) and the rest of the valley that will serve us all in the future. 

As with most NGO’s iKhaya le Themba depends on the contributions of donors and volunteers for its existence. As with most NGOs, when the economy is struggling iKhaya le Themba struggles. Sadly, too few people living in Hout Bay know quite what a difference iKhaya is making in the lives of Hout Bay’s youth and in building a future for us all. We would love residents and local businesses to  come and see what we are all about.  Over a cup of coffee we’d love to introduce you to some amazing young children. And if, like us, you think iKhaya le Themba is an essential part of Hout Bay  we would welcome the chance to find a way in which you could assist as a volunteer, as the part-sponsor of a child, as a provider of food and materials or as a financial supporter. You could even link us to your My School card and support us every time you shop at Woolworths.

When we live the change we want to see in Hout Bay we will have the makings of a unified and even happier valley. A place we all call home.
Susan Hill, Director, Ikhaya lethemba – Home of Hope; ikhayalethemba@gmail.com  0725174100
Anton Cartwright volunteers on the iKhaya le Themba Management Committee

Article source: IKhaya Le Themba (Home of Hope)

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