WATCH | This mother and daughter are shaping the lives of abandoned youth in South Africa
For children, a stable home is a fundamental need. But in South Africa, over 3 500 kids are abandoned every year.
To tackle this scourge head on, Alison Alexander created Rainbow of Hope, a sanctuary for orphaned children in Cape Town.
“I couldn't sit back and do nothing,” Alison says. Testament to her stewardship is her daughter Zoey Alexander, whom she adopted at just two weeks old.
“I've learned that I have to share my mother with a hundred, thousand other kids and that's okay with me,” Zoey says.
For over 17 years, Alison has cared for and guided vulnerable children. From her beginnings as a Sunday school teacher, she progressed to be a junior youth worker and later became a pre-primary educator.
In December 1999, she and her husband responded to a newspaper article about a child who was abandoned and in need of a home.
“Zoey was the youngest child I ever took into my care,” Alison says. Once her biological children were mature enough, she founded her organisation to shelter kids.
“I want to give them a foundation to learn and build their own dreams,” Alison says. Rainbow of Hope is currently housing 12 children who are homeschooled.
Outside of the home they have the freedom to explore their own interests, such as dance, gymnastics, and rock climbing.
Through Alison’s unique Adopt A Child initiative, the children can spend weekends away with different families and choose their future home. To date, over 100 children have been through the doors of Rainbow of Hope.
Some have been adopted while others transitioned to begin their new lives in adulthood.
Zoey is now an older sister to the other children and leads by example.
Drawing inspiration from her mother, she is a driver for change in her own right.
“What I've taken in from Alison is that I can go out there and help others because love is love at the end of the day,” Zoey says.
She volunteers as an ambassador for Never In The Red, an organisation assisting young girls with life skills and financial literacy.
As mother and daughter, Alison and Zoey remain committed to empowering youth in South Africa. “For my children, this place has become more than a home,'' Alison says.
Her sanctuary is anchored by love, unity and empathy. “It's been a beautiful journey and I enjoy every moment of it,” Zoey says.