Sleepover with a difference

2016-12-06 08:37
The hills came alive at Wolwekloof Academy near Ceres on 26 and 27 November as the scenic surrounds played host to 100 visiting children.

The hills came alive at Wolwekloof Academy near Ceres on 26 and 27 November as the scenic surrounds played host to 100 visiting children.

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When the child asked “Jinne, Auntie, what is this?” about the feather down duvet being thrown lovingly over him – the first one he’s ever come into contact with – there was not a dry eye in the big hall.

The scene was set for an emotional, but overall fun and care-free experience, when gold-hearted crews made the Sleepover Project a reality for 100 children from underprivileged areas on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November at the Wolwekloof Academy near Ceres.

Michelle Linnert, editor of People’s Post’s sister publication TygerBurger, went along as a volunteer and guardian to two groups of 16 children from across the newspapers’ distribution areas.

Some of these children had never slept on a bed. It was the story of a girl sleeping on two crates that had planted the seed that would culminate in this fun-filled sleepover weekend for the youngsters from across the peninsula.

From areas such as Vrygrond, Hout Bay, Elsies River, Bonteheuwel, Wolseley and Riverton, some of the young participants spoke openly about how they had to dodge bullets on their way to school, or the latest shooting incident near their home a week ago.

Sandy Pekeur and her brother, Dr Shaun Pekeur, of the South African Society for Hope (Sash) and Gabriela Wiener of Afrosapien Entertainment – with a host of other well-known and not-so-well-known, but equally kindhearted, souls – made the weekend possible for the children.

Of course, with a number of equally kindhearted and generous sponsors in tow who spared no expense in treating these children to the best.

Many firsts were experienced – some ate their first hamburgers, some had their first bus trips, some swam in a stream for the first time, others danced in front of a crowd for the first time. But the biggest first – that of sleeping in a comfy bed for the very first time – was reserved for 10 very special young ones to whom these beds were donated at the end of the weekend. Each child received their own bed, to be delivered soon.

The children whispered the night away after hours of entertainment saw them into their PJs and into the sponsored sleeping bags and feather down duvets in neat rows for boys and girls in the great hall.

Noticeable at the end of the journey was the lack of worry in the eyes of many of these children who had first boarded the buses at Artscape in the city centre.

But the trip had had an even more profound effect on the adults involved. It had shaken the lot to the core, and laid the basis for the next round of 100 kids sleeping over without worries.

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