help for orphans

Tumi Sebusi

Mama Angel has again brought warm smiles, excitement and joy to the needy.

Mama Angel donated four chests-of-drawers and a stove to Hand in Children Care Centre based at Zone 12, Sebokeng, in the Vaal.

The founder of the centre, Sylvia Songelwa, was overwhelmed and delighted with the gifts.

The centre was established in 2000 with only three children. It now caters for 11 children and operates from Songelwa's home.

It was registered as a non-profit organisation in 2005.

Songelwa said the centre also caters for people with HIV-Aids, abandoned children and orphans.

"Most of them were brought to the centre by the police and social workers, some from as far as Ekurhuleni. We have only two caregivers who look after the well-being of the children," she said.

Songelwa decided to open the centre after she was touched by a grandmother who looked after two children whose parents died of an HIV-Aids-related illness.

Songelwa said: "The granny raised the orphans on her own because her relatives were reluctant to look after them. The family feared they would be infected with the illness.

"Her experience touched and awakened my awareness about the virus."

The centre aims to improve the lives of orphans in the Vaal, as well as other abandoned and vulnerable children from disadvantaged families, and to get them off the streets.

"These children need love, care and support, just like any other child in the country," she said.

One of the serious challenges faced by the centre is finance.

Songelwa had to dig deep into her own pockets to fund the centre. Churches, local businesses and the community have also helped out.

Songelwa's wish is to build a bigger home-based care centre.