PLACE CALLED HOME

NOMFUNDO Ndlovu is a caregiver at The House, but nine years ago her situation was entirely different as the daughter of a prostitute.

NOMFUNDO Ndlovu is a caregiver at The House, but nine years ago her situation was entirely different as the daughter of a prostitute.

She grew up on the streets, exposed to things a child should never see.

She says: "The prostituting used to happen in the house where I was and it is not good for a child to witness sexual acts between adults."

Ndlovu, 23, explained that her mother could not afford to send her to school and that was when she decided to go to The House.

The owners of the shelter, Ingrid and Pierre du Plessis, took her in and gave her a home and an education.

She said: "The House is really a home among homes."

The shelter is situated in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, and currently accommodates about 40 girls who either come directly out of prostitution or are children of sex workers.

Young girls come to The House voluntarily or are found by the police and social workers and then taken to the shelter.

The owners are currently receiving just enough funding to provide basic care for the children that they take care of.

As a result the two houses used to accommodate the shelter are derelict, with floor and ceiling boards damp and disintegrated.

A single communal shower is shared between shelter girls as well as visitors.

Sleeping quarters are also shared between about eight to 10 girls a room, thus not providing the girls with the basic dignity of privacy.

The House will be renovated and redecorated by Afhco Projects and Switch Design, among other generous sponsors. This will help restore a level of dignity to all who live there.

This will be achieved by providing private shower areas as well as curtained-off bunk beds for the children.

While The House is being renovated the girls living there will be accommodated in luxury apartments in one of Afhco's buildings in the city centre.

Parties looking to get involved in assisting to fund the refurbishment can contact Carlos Borges by e-mailing: carlos@afhco.co.za

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