Oasis a true haven to kids
The only home and family Mpho* has ever known is the home for abandoned children, Oasis Haven, in Randburg, northern Johannesburg.
She was just four years old when she came to stay at the home.
Now she is 18 years old and is one of the eldest children housed at Oasis Haven. She is in Grade 11. "I plan to study media studies when I pass my matric next year," she said.
Mpho effortlessly plays the role of a big sister to the younger children at the home.
Oasis Haven has created a family home for the children even though it knows that it will never be a "normal home" in the true sense.
When Sowetan visited the home, all the children went about their chores seemingly oblivious to their reality.
In the kitchen, one of the older girls was making breakfast and the smell of Russian sausages filled the house.
Two other girls played a game of cards in the living room, while the younger ones were busy in the playroom.
Some of the children were abandoned by their mothers, others taken away from their homes because they were left unattended for days, others ran away from abusive homes and some were left at people's driveways, on pavements or abandoned at hospitals.
Oasis Haven has been operating for 17 years and has two homes which together have a capacity of accommodating 10 girls and 10 boys.
The two youngest children at the home will turn three in August. Mpho is the eldest, followed by a 16-year-old boy.
Managing director of the home Beverly Beukes said that in recent years the home had not had a horrendous case of abandonment but admitted there had been some "bad situations" in the past.
"One of our horrible case was of Lerato who was left in a plastic bag on the side of the road and rats had started biting on her when she was discovered," Beukes said.
Meanwhile, just last week, a baby boy, estimated to be two or three weeks old, was found on the side of the road next to Katlehong Primary School, Ekurhuleni.
Captain Mega Ndobe said the child was still in hospital and police were still searching for his parents. He said a case of child neglect had been opened.
Beukes said she had witnessed a mother being sentenced to two years in jail for abandoning a baby.