In a society that shows growing signs every year in unfortunate cases of children being thrown aside, murdered and constantly put through abusive treatment, it’s hard to imagine what happens ‘after’.
How do these kids live ‘after’ being found, saved and maybe reallocated?
Some of them, history has taught us, go on to become the parents of the children they once were, after all people had already felt their duty done and dusted once the children were discovered, dressed in a day’s best and shipped off to a new home, whether that home was just a different kind of hell was almost always irrelevant. The good deed was completed.
It’s in observing that, that we as people become quickly disillusioned with even bothering to help the next troubled child that comes across our path. Most of us even go so far as to justify our inaction by arguing if the children ‘really’ are troubled.
Considering all that, it makes for a warming heart and sparked determination when one comes across a cause that could maybe just save us from the fire, be it the one churches preach to us about or the one those neglected and abandon children could one day bury us in.
Recently I was introduced to just such a cause.
On visiting the Facebook page for Project P.L.A.Y ZA, you are informed of their vision and mission through a brief description which reveals that their name means more than a cute play on words.
‘Participating in the Lives of Africa’s Youth’ – P.L.A.Y
The initiative is born from the strong desire to sustainably fund the ‘Footprints P.L.A.Y children’s home’ and it’s very refreshing to see a project like this, not funded by the government, but looking for ways to survive without that kind of dependency. It makes for a promising change that people have come together and realized that some things don’t need the unstable and heavily uncertain support from the government who only tends to focus on such initiatives when elections come around.
It’s great to see that a project exists that sees the children past the days of election and wants to ensure they aren’t only looked upon every five years, but instead every year.
Of course there are no doubt other organizations that exist, legitimately or not, that strive to do the same, but what makes Project P.L.A.Y ZA stand out for me personally is that had I not been invited to their first event, Project P.L.A.Y Quiz, I would never have known of their existence.
This project seems to enter the cracks of society with only the power of ‘word of mouth’ to build on. To me, this speaks of a group of people doing great things, not for the recognition but for the simple satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of innocent souls dealt a harsh hand in life’s gamble.
Project PLAY Quiz
On the 15 February 2014, Project PLAY ZA held their first event that is to be in support of their desire to build an obstacle course for the Footprints P.L.A.Y children’s home. Opening the event with impassioned words, one of the coordinators for the event explained how they wished to supply the children with a safe and enriching obstacle course where children could be the carefree innocents all children have the right to be. It was also revealed that the obstacle course wasn’t just for the sake of the abandoned children, but also the children of the community in general.
It is clear through their words that this Project strives to ensure an integrated space where children can come together and play without the discrimination society has labelled with them. I can’t help but be in awe at the efforts made in this vision to ensure that all children, regardless of background, can come together and befriend each other without the damaging critique of narrow minded and abusive behaviors that tend to be cultivated within similarly enclosed households.
The short film played before the event also leaves one speechless with its powerful message that visually explains, in beautifully tragic imagery, their vision and mission.
With the help and support from members of the Grace Family Church and Jeppe High School for Girls, for the use of their hall facilities, the event sported a good turnout of competitive individuals all gunning for first place and just looking for some fun as they tested their brains in the four categories prepared for the day, along with an entertaining bonus round inspired by the TV show ‘Minute to Win it’.
Raffles and prizes like custom handmade jewelry to an Apple iPad mini were up for grabs as participants took to teams ranging from four to eight individuals and tackled random questions concerning music, movies and general knowledge.
The coordinators showed some great team work as they presided over the well-organized event, from patrolling the tables, to ensure that no one sneaked an invite to google onto their team, to making sure that any children not quite quiz ready were well taken care of in a special area.
Everything ran like a well-oiled machine.
The success of the event could be felt from the quick-witted quiz master and the chefs preparing the lunches, right to the pumped up teams trying their luck at fooling other members with false answers ‘accidentally’ shouted out.
All in all, the event gave for an entertaining Saturday afternoon that left participants brain dizzy but feeling good as they let loose.
When looking at one of the many highlights of the event, I can’t help but hope that Project PLAY doesn’t take as many as ‘a thousand miles' to reach their goal of constructing the Footprints P.L.A.Y children’s obstacle course.
‘It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.’ – Harry S.Truman