Poor Free State kids cared for

ADOPTING KIDS: Ace Magashule with one of the adopted children. © Sowetan.
ADOPTING KIDS: Ace Magashule with one of the adopted children. © Sowetan.

Sowetan Reporters

Sowetan Reporters

Sipho Dlamini, 13, who lived in the streets, finally has a proper home.

Like 12-year-olds Boitumelo Sebatli and Shantel van der Berg, Thabo benefitted from a programme to find a home or support system for every child in Free State.

Called Botho, the programme is the brainchild of Free State ANC chairman and chief whip Ace Magashule.

"No child should grow up without a parent or love. It is unAfrican," Magashule said at the launch of Botho in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

Magashule's aim is to find a home, guardian, provider or proper accommodation for every child in the province.

Some of the children will be looked after in orphanages and others will be provided for while living with their destitute parents or guardians.

Thabo was born on a farm outside Reitz. His parents died when he was very young and he started living in the streets.

That was until Jimmy Matshila, Nketoana municipal manager, took him home. Now, the 13-year-old attends a school and is thriving.

Thabo was ecstatic in his new school uniform. He and other children in similar situations were given toys, clothes and loving homes.

Boitumelo and Lerato Sefadi from Bloemfontein were adopted by Sandlana Smit, a manager in Magashule's office. The chief whip adopted five children from Bloemfontein and Parys.

One of the children is Lebo Matla, 14, who prompted Magashule to start the programme.

"She wrote and requested that I buy her a small TV set and shoes for school. The TV was to help her with a school project. I arranged to meet her.

"It was then that I decided that we needed to respond to the plight of our children in a coordinated manner.

"We intend to take Botho to every town in Free State. We will approach the social welfare department to see how best to coordinate activities," he said.

"The children of this country deserve better. No child should grow up without life's necessities. If we ignore our responsibility towards them, history will judge us harshly.

"We appeal to members of the community, the private sector, professionals and BEE's to come to the rescue of these children.

"We have decided not to break up families. Those children who live with one parent or both destitute parents and relatives will not be taken away from their familiar environments, but will also benefit like the adopted children," said Magashule.