Your donation can help

2015-12-09 06:00

EVERY MORNING when one drives to work, you see a child standing at the same robot, asking for food, the warmth of a blanket, the loving embrace of someone who cares.

One sees that child day after day, month after month, year after year, growing up on a street corner in South Africa. He looks a little bit more forlorn every time you pass, until eventually there’s no light shining in his eyes anymore.

Who is this child? What is his name? Does it matter if it’s a boy or a girl? Does it even matter where he comes from?

All that should matter, is that this child is alone and vulnerable in an incredibly cruel world, and needs help and support in a family structure.

The rights of children in South Africa are enshrined in our Constitution and yet our most vulnerable are orphaned, destitute and at the mercy of a world that is all too eager to turn a blind eye.

“It is society’s responsibility to look after its children, every man and every woman X you and I. We simply cannot afford to be armchair citizens who are safely cocooned, in our notion that ‘someone else’ will do it,” says Vincent Hlabangana, the national child and youth development manager of SOS Children’s Villages.

SOS Children’s Villages (SOSCV) is the largest NGO in the world that looks after 600 000 destitute and vulnerable children across the globe.

In South Africa, SOS Children’s Villages provide a loving home for 860 children in its family-based care programme, and another 4 673 children who are at risk of losing the care of their families in its Family Strengthening Programme (FSP).

The combined financial cost for these two programmes amounts to R54 million each year, raised entirely from corporate and individual donors.

To further address the overwhelming need of children in South Africa, the SOSCV has pledged to increase the number of children in its care to 10 000 by the year 2020.

“The odds can be really overwhelming when one starts to consider how to make a difference in the lives of South Africa’s 3,5 million orphaned children.

“While the numbers are tremendous and can easily push people to turn away due to an overwhelming sense of hopelessness, it’s so important to realise that for a nominal amount of just R135 a month, you and I can make the world of difference to a child in our Family Strengthening Programme.

“It does not have to be overwhelming or hopeless, but it does require that we commit to small, consistent actions to change the fate of a child,” explains Hlabangana.

“To put that into perspective: The R200 that you spent on your braai this past weekend, or R160 you paid for takeaways, your facial, your pedicure – could keep a child clothed, fed and cared for in a safe environment for an entire month,” he says.

“If you are wondering how you can make a difference in the life of a child, you can start by supporting SOS Children’s Villages.

“For many of us, R200 won’t make much of a dent on our monthly budget, but it will change the life of a child who is destitute and in desperate need of food, shelter and a support structure,” adds Hlabanagana.

“If you have children, think of how they would cope if faced with the same challenges – for any loving parent it’s inconceivable that any child should suffer. It was Nelson Mandela who once said that there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

“Let’s be that difference. Let it start with each one of us making a conscious decision to do something X no matter how small X not just during 16 days of activism, but every day,” he concludes .

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