Home of Hope, a non-profit children’s home in Table View might be forced to close its doors if they do not get the necessary funding to stay afloat.
Home of Hope has provided a safe haven to over 20 abused, abandoned and neglected children.
Through the adoption of her own children affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and having grown up in a children’s home, Eleanor Brook (53) started the organisation in 2005.
“Most of our children have been with us since they were babies. Each child has their own story and their own obstacles, mental or physical, to overcome. Some of the children in our care were abandoned in dustbins to die, violently abused, raped, hungry and neglected due to poverty, infected with HIV and Aids and born bearing the effects of excessive drug and alcohol abuse by their mothers during pregnancy. With limited resources, we do our best to give them the love and care they deserve’,” says Brook.
In 2011, Home of Hope, started a special needs school, Amathemba, which means ‘our hope’ in Xhosa.
The school is one of a few in South Africa which caters for children with learning disabilities as a result of FASD. They also have a farm where the older children can work and earn a stipend.
“We provide holistic care for every individual. Each child receives individual care, where the right therapy and interventions are given to assist with their disabilities, as far as possible. Our program also caters to 14 other individuals from impoverished communities who would not otherwise have access to education” says Brook.
Social worker Bianca Wichtmann says they are trying not to think about closing the doors. “How do you say to a child you can’t stay here anymore. This is the only place they know, and we are their family,” she says with teary eyes.
Wichtmann says they run a big project with very small legs. “ If we close, a lot of people will be affected. Not only the children but our staff will lose their livelihood.
Trying to keep the home running, they have a charity shop that sells second-hand goods, they also sell farm produce and have started a Back-a-Buddy campaign to raise much-needed funds.
“We are really trying to be sustainable, but we are having a tough time. Staff have had to go for months with a staggered salary but that has not affected their commitment and love. We believe the love that we have for the children and that we are a family here keeps us together,” says Wichtmann.
Brook hopes the public will continue to support them. “ We hope the public will support our Back-a-Buddy campaign so we can continue caring for these beautiful children. ,” she says.
Wichtmann adds that placing these children in new homes is also not an overnight process. “There is a huge waiting list. It also comes with the trauma and getting used to a new place,” says Witchmann.
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