Rays of hope in face of relentless poverty
The children of Spring Valley have poverty etched into their faces. But their future looks brighter thanks to the departments of Health and Social Services.
The informal settlement is situated next to the leafy suburb of Rhino Ridge in Witbank, Mpumalanga. Their makeshift shacks bear testimony to their despair.
Gilly Khanyile, a local woman concerned about the living conditions of the children , decided to start a daycare centre on a voluntary basis.
Most of the children are between three and five years old. They all hail from poverty-stricken families.
The local Methodist Church, with limited resources, has helped the centre to make ends meet.
The plight of the centre came to the attention of Health and Social Services MEC Pogisho Pasha, who arranged a subsidy of R5 a child a day. The subsidy covers 45 children of the 55 enrolled in the centre.
"It is worth noting that many children in the province face similar despair and unfortunately cannot be reached because of limited funds," Pasha said.
"This year has been identified as a year in which we must intensify the struggle against poverty. All efforts should be made in partnership with our communities and the private sector to alleviate poverty and to finally eradicate it in all its forms."
Pasha said R25000 has been allocated to erect more classrooms and to procure more facilities for the care of the children.
Khanyile said: "I am so happy these children will learn in safer classes. We thank the MEC for this much-awaited help."