ENROLLING NEW KIDS

Day by day we are enrolling new kids and the message of our project got around in the neighborhood. Struggling parents are coming to our organization trying to get help for their children. Times are tough and sadly the children are the first to feel it.

We are trying to give every person and every story our attention, we are even going to other slums and ask for parents who are struggling with the school fees for their children. People in the slum are very helpful and everybody know someone who really needs our help.

ENROLLING NEW CHILDREN

Once we have found a child or a family, our real work begins. We sit down with the children and learn about their situation, history, dreams and wishes. It is not easy to hear all the sad stories, but our work gives us hope to give these children a better future. Among other things, we ask the children about their favorite thing to to in their free time, favorite color and their dream job. Each of these children has a dream that they cannot achieve without an education. In order to find a suitable sponsor, we try to capture the entire story of the child. The life of a child in the slums is often about one parent who run away and one parent who would do anything for the child. Unfortunately, it is not easy for single parents in the slums, they cannot go to work and at the same time be there for the child and cook. Parents which are drug addicted are also not unusually.

WE ARE TRYING TO HELP EVERY CHILD INDIVIDUALLY

We record their story and try to find a solution for each child individually. For some children, school is not the solution, but rather a suitable environment and daily food. We are already looking after several children for whom we have also been looking for a sponsor for the monthly grocery shopping. The case of the little Angel from the Soweto slums is very close to my heart. Angel is four years old, malnourished, and in many cognitive ways not appropriate for other children her age. Her father left the family early and her mother has been addicted to drugs for years. Angel’s older sister died of malnutrition at the age of 5 because her mother could not look after her. Unfortunately there is no state organization in the slums, such as the youth welfare office, that can protect a child from such circumstances. Angel’s aunt had tried several times to take Angel in or to bring her to live with her grandparents. Each time the mother came and took Angel back with her in her rough way and brought her back “home”. The situation was really difficult.

OUR PLAN TO HELP ANGEL

We sat down, got a picture of the situation and thought about how we could help. In a clarifying discussion, we came to the decision to find a solution for mother and daughter together. We talked to her mother and decided that Angel should move in with her grandmother and that her mother, under our supervision, must be drug-free for at least one year in order to bring Angel back. To support Angel’s mother in her healing process, we offered her to take care of the garden in the organization every day. Angel’s mother used to be a gifted business woman. Back then she had her own business and we want to help her get back on her feet and have a future with Angel. On one of my last days in Kenya, Bonface, Angel her mother and I drove three hours to the country to bring her to her grandparents. The situation there is good for Angel. There is a school that Angel can attend and several children live in the neighborhood. The country is beautiful and we hope that Angel will have a nice childhood here.

OUR PROCESS TO ENROLL NEW KIDS

Thank goodness not all of our cases are as nerve-wracking as Angel’s. In most cases we get the necessary support from the parents, or one of the parents, and can rely on their support in the future as we hope for a school child. In order to take a child on our list, we don’t need many rules. We take children between the ages of 3 and 20 and only need a signature from their parents to use their data and pictures to make the search for a sponsor easier. The parents later have the task of preparing their child for school, taking care of breakfast and sending them out on time for the start of school. So far we have not had any negative experiences. The parents are very helpful and thank us for our work. They appreciate our time and try to help us in any way.

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