A time of giving, a time of love, a time of joy. For most Christmas is a wonderful time of year and for the Fikelela Family it was no different. The sounds of giggling children, the looks of absolute excitement as they unwrapped gifts, the pitter patter of little feet running around as they play with their new toys. The children at Fikelela discovered that Christmas is a time for celebrating and giving, but more than that, they learnt that they were loved by more than just the mammas in the home, but that Jesus loves them and made them special. This Christmas, for many the first, they learnt that they are not forgotten, but loved and valued.
As the new year rolled in we have seen many of our children grow and we are seeing our children develop in leaps and bounds. Babies becoming walking toddlers and this year we were excited to start the year by sending 14 children to school and 10 to preschool. 24 bags packed, Lunch boxes lined up on the counter, 100s of books covered, uniforms ironed, 48shoes polished - day one was a big success. The children loved their new schools, and we have already seen them grow and learn! We are excited and expectant for lives to be transformed in 2014.
From popcorn trees, to bible stories, to sticky paint and parachute fun, in the last few months we have been blessed with the opportunity to expand what we offer children in our care and have started a morning and afternoon stimulation & development programme. This has been developed by a professional OT and educator who volunteered her time to construct a comprehensive programme specifically for the children in our care. This covers everything from motor development, language & writing skills, and social play, to rights & responsibilities, arts &crafts, and learning about who they are in God. It is such a joy to not only hear the children singing and laughing, but to see the joy on the carers faces as they see broken children grow and develop to their full potential. The children burst in from school eagar to start the program. We have seen this programme help children delayed, walk and improve their speech. Children who normally play alone are interacting with other children.
We believe that as this program develops we will see more children grow and develop, no longer struggling at school, delayed, or developmentally challenged, but full of hope, succeeding in school and reaching their full potential for a new start in life.
The most incredible act of generosity we saw was on Mandela Day!
The centre was a hive of activity when we saw 15 groups of up to 30 people come through the home. Some volunteered their 67 minutes in giving the buildings a fresh coat of paint on the outside and inside. Others used their time to organize a party for the kids and shoeboxes and lunch was given to every child.
We were blessed with party packs, cakes, toys, clothes, mobiles above cots, food donations and monetary donations as well.
A whole lot of love and joy was brought to the children as CEOs, Managers and Staff of businesses sung, danced and played with the children. Those 67 minutes really made a difference to our centre!
The vegetables are starting to bloom and we are ready to harvest and the garden has an abundance that the children will enjoy picking and eating free of harmful chemicals.
A new school year – a new start
For children whose lives have been turned upside down by abuse, neglect or abandonment, school can play a huge role in providing stability and continuity. More than that, it provides a space to be a child among other children, a 'normal' experience in the middle of events that have made the child feel 'different'.
The start of the new school year (in January) is therefore a time of great excitement! There are new clothes (school uniform) and a new start, and lots of new possibilities to make a new start.
And meanwhile - the little ones stay at home with their carers and say good bye to their bigger brothers and sisters
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