Centre a place of love, care for kids, making them feel safe and secure

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The Sithabile Child and Youth Care Centre in Benoni needs electric fencing, garden chairs and tables and building materials.

Thabisile Msezane, who has been running the centre since 1994, said: "We are really grateful for Sowetan's help, but we still need things, especially building materials."

The last time Mama Angel visited the centre, in 2005, she gave it linen.

The construction of a girls' dormitory at the centre has been completed.

"We still need to finish the boys' dormitory. The building is complete except for the ceiling," Msezane said.

A fence has been built around the centre's plot, but they are still bothered by burglars.

"We are worried about burglary. We need to have an electric fence to stop the burglaries," she said.

With all the love they receive from Msezane, the children are doing well in school.

"Some of them have finished high school and are now receiving in-job training," said a proud Msezane.

When Sithabile Child and Youth Care Centre was established it was run from Msezane's three-bedroomed house in Dawn Park. That was before 3M South Africa, a diversified manufacturing company, gave it funds to buy the property on which the centre stands.

Msezane, a former school teacher, started the centre after a trip to a supermarket.

"On the way to the shops I was approached by a little boy in rags. He begged me to take him to school.

"I was taken aback by his odd request but, before I could answer, I found myself surrounded by a group of boys, all asking me for the same thing."

The centre is home to children aged between three and 18 from informal settlements.

Some of them had been exploited as farmworkers.