festive smiles for kids

Frank Maponya

Sowetan's Mama Angel brought smiles to the faces of the children at Takalani Children's Home in Siloam village in Nzhelele, outside Louis Trichardt, last month.

The home caters for more than 40 orphans, the abandoned and those infected and affected by HIV-Aids. It has been operating for 19 years and is managed by Joyce Phaswana.

In its endeavour to assist needy children, Sowetan bought them groceries and clothes worth R5000 and delivered these on December 28.

Phaswana could not hide her excitement when a Sowetan team visited the home.

She said the home received a small subsidy from the government, which is not enough to cater for the children's needs.

The subsidy covers the everyday care of the children and includes food, clothing, medication, schooling and paying care workers.

"The level of need is urgent at this home," said Phaswana.

"We have to rely mainly on private donations. We are grateful to Mama Angel for coming to our rescue this festive season because we were in dire straits."

Phaswana said the need was greater as the number of orphans coming in continually exceeded the budget. The monthly costs of operation were also very high depending on the time in the school year, or the number of doctors' visits and medication.

She said the costs also included expenses in trying to find the families of the orphans, applying for birth certificates, child-care grants, children's court appearances and re-uniting the orphan or vulnerable child with extended families.

"The cost of re-unification includes the employment of a registered social worker and regular counselling sessions with prospective foster parents, together with research to find extended family members of the orphaned children."