Creative play is an important part of our programme at Ikhayalethemba Village. The great thing about creative play is that children develop their social skills; interacting, talking and sharing. This play is also so essential to the development of children's physical skills, language and problem solving. One of our key goals at Ikhayalethemba is for the children to develop strong English skills and through Creative play children have many opportunities to develop their English language.
When we had some financial donations for Ikhayalethemba just prior to Christmas, we decided to put it toward a playhouse for the children. A playhouse provides an opportunity for children to role play and to interact with each other in a positive way. It is a wonderful opportunity for children to engage in Creative play. We decided that the playhouse would be a Christmas present from Father Christmas.
There was great excitement at Ikhayalethemba when Father Christmas' present arrived early. The children looked on with anticipation as a van drove up and in the back were large wooden shapes. They sat as a group to watch their gift unfold. It wasn't long before the children could recognise that the shapes were going to make a playhouse. As the workers put the playhouse together the children sat attentively. Once they realised what it was going to be, they started planning what they could put in it. The carers were joking that they would put their own beds in there to sleep, much to the amusement of the children. Once the house was erected, the workers stained it and so the children had to wait to explore for an hour and a half whilst it dried. They did this well and managed to line up an array of things that they thought would be suitable to use inside the house. Already the children's creativity was kicking in!
Since that first day the children have loved their playhouse. They have developed all sorts of role play situations and it's lovely to see them play so cooperatively. It made a great stable for our Christmas Nativity and many of our class lessons have been done inside the playhouse.
Mama Lumka is affectionately known as “The Wheelbarrow Lady” or “The Wheelbarrow Saint”. She gained this title from the days when she used to walk through the township collecting children who had been abused and neglected, taking them to her own home to provide care. Some of the children she found were in dark rooms with a bucket for a toilet and food left for them on the floor.
Mama’s passion is for the children with disabilities. Her own son Jackson had severe disabilities and had lived a short life. This particularly inspired Mama to take in children with Special Needs.
By 2001 Mama Lumka was providing care for 16 children in her own home in Nomzamo, a township near Cape Town. In 2002 a group of business people acknowledged the wonderful work that Mama was doing and decided to support her. This is when the Nceduluntu Sanctuary Trust was established. In September 2004 the first 2 homes on the Sanctuary site were established. It was named Ikhayalethemba Village. Ikhayalethemba means Home of Hope. Since then Mama has been providing care for orphaned and vulnerable children at Ikhayalethemba Village, many of them with Physical and Intellectual disabilities.
Global Vision International (GVI) formed a partnership with Mama in August 2009. Since then volunteers from all over the world have been working at Ikhayalethemba Village. GVI volunteers provide educational programs for the children and have also worked with the children with Special Needs to provide therapy programs. Through the Christmas appeal with GlobalGivingUK, we would love to take the children on outings and access services such Riding for the Disabled or Swimming therapy. This would be a great experience for the children. Your donation can make this a reality.
Ikhayalethemba Orphanage is in the Nomazamo township located just outside of Gordon's Bay. We were recently able to have one of our volunteers focus on one of the orphans with Special Needs who is non-verbal. We have been able to take photographs of the child doing a range of tasks such as drinking, eating, reading a book and kicking a ball. Through this, we can now gradually introduce these to the child as a way for her to communicate and also as a way for her to learn to make choices. This contribution had made a huge difference in support the development of the children at Ikhayalethemba.
The set up and maintenance of First Aid kits is a big task and thanks to donor support, our team have been able to set up 5 new kits; one for each of the Houses at Ikhayalethemba.
In the words of a recent volunteer: 23 of the happiest, most loving, and most resilient children I have ever met live at Ikhayalethemba. They greet you each day with a huge smile and a hug like no other, just because you are there to be with them. The love given by these kids give is an amazing and humbling phenomenon to witness.
We were pleased to have Sam join us for two weeks at Ikhayalethemba. Sam came to Cape Town to work on our construction project. Through Sam’s work we were able to build a fence and create a safe play area for our children, particularly one of our children with Special Needs who likes to wander and requires constant supervision.
The plan was to fence - off an alcove that is part of the Special Needs centre. Sam worked with two of our local community members to construct the fence. For part of the day he also worked with the children. It was great that he could build up a relationship with the child the area was primarily designed for. He could see how beneficial this play area would be.
Once the fence was up, Sam worked with some of our other volunteers to paint a mural in the area. Our mural was inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar story. This made the area look very child friendly and is now a bright and colourful place to play. Our plan was to add to the mural as soon as we had the chance.
On Woman’s Day we had all of our volunteers at Ikhayalethemba for the day. This was a great opportunity to complete the mural. Our volunteers who were part of all GVI’s Gordon’s Bay projects made a great team for the task. Of course, the finishing touches were added by the children, with their hand prints adding a great signature to the art work! Most importantly, as a result of this project, we have an area for a child who now has the freedom to explore and play safely.
Every single volunteer makes an important and significant contribution to the success of our projects, no matter how long they are with us. In small teams or in large groups, a lot can be achieved!
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