Dreams of new home blossom
A dream came true when a sod-turning event for the R12million Lotus House was held in Winterveldt, North West, last week.
Mary Loate, popularly known as Mama Mary, is the founder of the Good Hope Community Organisation, which has been running an orphanage since 1975.
She started the orphanage with only two children and has been dreaming of a proper building with all facilities for her children.
In 2005 Loate was nominated for the Sowetan Community Builder of the Year inNorth West.
Mama Mary's dream project will be finished by June next year and it will accommodate between 300 and 350 children.
The new orphanage, known as Lotus House, will have a sport centre, a library and a computer centre for the children.
In 2005 Loate went to the US to raise funds.
She managed to register a foundation in the US known as Mabopane Foundation with the help of a US activist, Becky Young.
The Mabopane Foundation and the Chinese Buddhist Foundation, Tzu-Chi, have funded the building of the R12 million orphanage.
"I am happy because my children will enjoy staying at the new home," Loate says.
"And I will make sure that not a single kid remains on the street because this is their home.
"I have worked hard to establish the foundation in the United States and I will keep on working hard to protect the rights of the children," she adds.
Former Winterveldt mayor and ward councillor Shadrack Dhlamini describes Mama Mary as a "dedicated community builder" who took care of orphans not only from Winterveldt, but also from Gauteng and other parts of North West.
"She always makes sure that no child goes to bed on an empty stomach because she is dedicated to her job," Dhlamini says.
"I ask Mama Loate to keep doing the good work because there are few people like her."
Social worker Yaya Matsaneng says: "Mama Mary has worked hard to make sure that her kids have a shelter.
"She started with a knitting and sewing project and is still progressing," she says.