South Africa, May 2015

On the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa, there is a privately operated orphanage, which gets no help from the government and relies solely on the assistance of private donors. The center looks after abused mothers with small children, as well as babies and toddlers that are orphaned or came out of households with domestic violence. The mothers in the facility are also expected to assist with the caretaking of the other children. The center is always in need of staple foods, clothes and educational toys, as well as other basic commodities for babies and young children. At one of the local retail stores we bought some nappies, formula milk, baby wipes and petroleum jelly for the babies. For the older children we got some sweets, crisps and fruit juice.

When we arrived at the center, the children had already been expecting us. They were swarming around us, all trying to tell us their stories at the same time. Then they eagerly helped us to offload the vehicles.

We had the opportunity to spend some time with the children in a relaxed atmosphere. One of the older girls had taken the cleaning task on herself and was busy cleaning the other children’s faces with clean wipes. It was amazing to see how well organised and disciplined the children were.
After a while, we noticed that there was some excitement with sporadic laughter behind one of our vehicles. When we got closer, we realised that the children were seeing their own reflection in the chrome part at the back of the vehicle. It was really uplifting to see that something we take for granted can bring them so much joy.
Afterwards they each got handed a sweet, packet of crisps and a juice.

The children and the center management were very grateful and we had a wonderful time interacting with them. It was an afternoon well spent and we discovered even more opportunities to assist in the future. With this in mind, we look forward to returning soon.