Kids Haven in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, is home to 154 children with street connections. Our children turn to the streets when things go wrong in their homes. At Kids Haven, every child takes time to settle in, cope with schooling again and imagine being reconnected to their community once again. There is no magic to make this happen, it happens through the deliberate work and care of a committed counselor who can reach the child and build the bridge to their families in the community
The child who goes to the street gives a loud and clear signal of alarm. Something is going wrong - in the family, in school, in society. As a child his basic needs were not met- his goal is survival. The adults in his world have failed him- he no longer trusts. He was neglected not protected- he does not belong. He does not feel loved and wanted- he is unattached. He has no good role models and doesn't know right from wrong. This most vulnerable child should have the same rights as any child.
Many children have made Kids Haven their home over the past 26 years. We see their pain, they are our children. Here they have a chance to start over, to find their purpose in life even though the road to healing is not easy. Working with lost children takes much more than knowledge and experience, it is a calling that requires passion and commitment. You have to care, to feel their pain, or you will not reach them or make a difference in their lives. A committed counselor is a bridge builder.
There is no place in society for street kids and especially for youth without education and stability in their lives. It is a fight for survival always and crime becomes an attractive option. Kids Haven has seen more than 4000 children restored - completing schooling and reconnecting into society on equal footing. They are resilient. Hopeful. Attached and cared for. We are in their corner and they can conquer the world.