Sometimes when things get tough it's necessary to take a step back and count your many blessings. This has been a tough year for Thandanani but there have been many bright moments throughout the year, and I'd like to share 2 of them with you.
One of our girls (Kgomotso) is in her final year of school and will graduate next month, which means that November is the month of the Matric Dance (or the Prom if you are in the US). We like to be able to make this an extra special event for each of our young people but that means having to find sponsors, and Kgomotso was blessed when a sponsor volunteered to pay for everything which included the dress, hair, nails, limo, etc. She was absolutely thrilled, and looked stunning as she stepped out to meet her partner. (A million thanks to the sponsor.)
You would have heard me talk about our new home over the past few reports and we're excitedly look forward to moving in, notwithstanding the red tape delays that we have been experiencing. However, although the new home is the perfect size to fit all of our children and the house parents, we recognized early on that we were still short of an office for our Social Worker, so we were delighted when a company who manufactures mobile offices offered to donate one, and it fits exactly into a vacant space in the driveway without being an obstruction. (Thanks to Speed Space for their generous donation)
As you would have gathered above we still haven't been able to move into our new home and we're still fighting the bureaucracy, and as disappointing as this is (remembering that we had hoped to move in April this year), we're crossing each obstacle that gets thrown our way and hopefully we'll soon be able to share the exciting news when it happens.
As a result of a number of our older children moving out at the end of last year, we had some empty beds to fill, but it didn’t take long for the welfare authorities to identify new candidates who needed a place of safety due to their rather sad circumstances, resulting in them having to be removed from their respective families. As a result we have welcomed 6 new children (3 sets of siblings) all under the age of 10, in the past 2 months. We have had our hands full settling them in, dealing with the emotional turmoil of having been removed from their families, finding schools for them, etc., but what a joy to see happiness light up their faces as they start to feel comfortable in their new surroundings.
The unemployment rate in South Africa (30%) certainly doesn’t make it easy for our school leavers to find a job, and so Esther has still to find a teaching post at a nursery school, after completing her training in ECD (Early Childhood Development). She’s got her CV out and hopefully something will materialize before the end of this year.
Evelyn is in her final year of school and she recently celebrated her farewell party. A big thanks to those who sponsored her dress, she looked radiant on the occasion – see photo attached.
Well, all the renovations are finished at our new house, and it’s ready for us to take occupation, but unfortunately bureaucracy has denied us the possibility of moving in yet. We are required to apply to the local Council for permission to establish a children’s home in a residential suburb (which includes the canvassing of our new neighbours-to-be), and knowing this we applied at the beginning of the year, however, we are now in July and we are yet to receive our formal approval. On the positive side the new neighbours say they will welcome us, but we’re caught up in red tape at the Council. Hopefully my next report I’ll have some good news to bring you.
As reported the last time, we're preparing to move into a new home that was donated to us, but contrary to my expectations in the last report we were not able to move in by end-February. As is always the case with renovations the work moves slower that anticipated, and there are always unexpected snags. But we're making good progress (as you'll see from the attached photos) and we now have a target of moving in during April.
Apart from hiring contractors to carry out the construction part of the work, we have a team of willing volunteers who will be doing a host of smaller tasks from painting walls, to hanging curtains, to fixing cupboards, and the list is endless. And in case you think this is a job for the young volunteers, our oldest helper is John who turned 87 last month and has been working tirelessly on the kitchen cupboards and doors for the past 2 weeks.(Photo attached.)
As education is one of our key focuses this move will open up a host of opportunities to help our children due to the location of the new home. Many who were prepared to help in the past (e.g. retired school teachers) were reluctant to visit us at our current home due to safety reasons, but now they are queuing up to give extra lessons and help with homework in the new house. Plus we have educational psychologists who are prepared to donate some of their time to help the kids work through many of the traumas they have experienced before being placed with us.
So the excitement is rising as the children (and house parents) look forward to the big move, and we look forward to sharing our excitement with you in subsequent reports.
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