Diet plan for healthy lives

FUTURE HOPE: Children playing at the Overstrand Child and Youth Care Centre. © Sowetan.
FUTURE HOPE: Children playing at the Overstrand Child and Youth Care Centre. © Sowetan.

Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

Mama Angel's helping hand reached out all the way to Overberg in Western Cape this week.

Sowetan donated almost a month's groceries to the Overstrand Child and Youth Care Centre.

The centre was founded 15 years ago to care for children from dysfunctional homes. The children are sent to the centre by the courts for long-time care.

Most of the parents are farm workers whose children suffer from foetal alcohol syndrome. They have IQs ranging from 55 to 85, which is below average.

"It is very sad," says Dr Mike Weekes, the social worker at Overstrand. "This is one of the things we should try to prevent. All pregnant women should be wary of the syndrome.

"The children are hyper, do not cope with frustration and their problem-solving skills are poor because of brain damage.

"This makes them difficult to deal with - a tough job for those who work here."

A part-time teacher helps the children adjust to school routines because they are very disruptive. Weekes says about half the children have had no schooling at all and have to be taught to read and write before they can be introduced into mainstream schools.

The children move on to youth schools - the old trade schools - when they are older than 16 years of age.

The centre is funded by the state and caters for boys between the ages of six and 14, looked after by six staff members. The subsidy does not cover all the needs of the children.

"We are thrilled to receive the money from Sowetan," Weekes says. "Some of the staff are out right now buying meat and cereals for the children.

"A dietician at the local clinic has drawn up a balanced diet plan that we follow to build up the children and make them healthy individuals.

"Last year we received funds for a soccer field. We are working towards creating a section for girls because we only take in boys," Weekes said.