Open house, heart
A visionary community worker went out of her way to open her house and turn it into a sanctuary for orphans .
Nelly Matjeke calls her project Jehovah Jira, which means God shall provide.
Matjeke of Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, took in an orphan in November 2003.
Today, the mother of three has 14 orphaned children under her permanent care.
Six of these children are in her foster care and the rest rely solely on the centre to live.
"The number of abandoned and orphaned children brought in by social workers, the police and the community grew day by day," Matjeke says.
"I realised that there was a serious need for a bigger place. The owner of a local creche put the building up for sale and the Tshwane University of Technology purchased the building for me in 2004."
Sustaining the home is a big challenge but as its name says, God does provide because the children never go to bed on an empty stomachs.
"God provides in the form of private donors as well as the money I raise through the support of the community members who bring their children to my daycare centre to sustain the home," Matjeke says.
The home employs five local people.
Two of them teach at the daycare centre and the other three work as caregivers to the children, aged between one and 12.
Touched by the plight of the children under Matjeke's care, former Miss Confident and editor of We Are Capable magazine Julia Moloi mobilised local celebrities to raise funds for Jehovah Jira Orphanage.
The cast from Muvhango and Backstage and musicians from Ghetto Ruff raised funds for the home by working for a day at the Soshanguve Pick 'n Pay.
The initiative raised R5000 for the orphanage.
Members of the New Faith Baptist Church from Illinois in the US led by Reverend Trunell Felder also came to the party and donated R7000 and toys.
Felder said his church, through its five branches in Africa, was involved in poverty alleviation and HIV-Aids initiatives on the continent .
"We help people, especially children, affected and infected by the Aids pandemic in Africa," Felder said.
"We learnt about Jehovah Jira's plight through one of our local contacts, Paul Msiza.
"We decided to come and give what we did because we are on the continent furthering our humanitarian work as messengers of God.
"We are going to be friends of Jehovah Jira Orphanage to ensure that the children benefit as much as they can from our society betterment initiatives," Felder said.