IThemba brings hope

2015-11-17 06:00
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THE year 2015 marks a decade of giving service to the children at Focus on iThemba in Hillcrest.

Executive chairman Danie van der Heever said: “We use this opportunity to reflect, not only on the successes that Focus on iThemba has had in achieving our goals over the past 10 years, but more importantly on the tangible differences that the organisation has made to a future generation of children. At iThemba we believe that it is not the least we can do for a child- it is the most that we can do that makes us different.

“In practical terms, doing the most means committing ourselves to bringing Hope to the future of each and every child by giving them sustained and long-term educational opportunities that they would not normally have had.

Focus on iThemba was officially registered in 2003. This non-profit organisation is based on the iThemba Campus in Hillcrest. The organisation was founded by Danie and Judy van den Heever as a catalyst for effecting positive change in a society challenged by poverty, HIV and AIDS and incomplete family structures.

He said the organisation has an innovative foundation phase school, the iThemba Academy, which offers schooling in small class sizes for girls and boys from Grade R to Grade 4. With the support of donors, vulnerable children from the broader Valley of 1000 Hills community are offered fundamental foundation phase education.

“We are able to report that the children’s learning curve remains on an upwards trajectory as they benefit from schooling in a stable and familiar environment. Our new intake of Grade R children tackled the challenge of learning the English language and adjusting to the routine of school life at the beginning of the year and we look forward to witnessing them start Grade One”

The foster programme managed by Focus on iThemba places vulnerable children in homes headed by married, loving parents who provide a family life rooted by stability and renewal.

“The model used by iThemba Homes has, in the past centred around the placement of children with foster families living in homes on the iThemba Campus. Foster parents and children focus on balancing work, school and life together, as families do.

“Professional mentorship, personal discussion, guidance, sharing and a space for reflection is provided by the family services team at Focus on iThemba. 2015 saw the launch of the House of Stars on the iThemba Campus. This facility was established as a home for those foster children old enough to step out into the world and start making a life for themselves.

“Our iThemba Enterprise Development Model seeks to upgrade existing crèches and pre-schools in the Embo Valley to become registered legal businesses. The enterprise development team have been hard at work growing this successful programme in the Embo community. We are extremely grateful to receive donations of food, educational toys and clothing. A highlight of 2015 was the opening of the Siyajabula Crèche in the Embo community.

He added partnership with Zoe- Life saw the introduction of volunteer programmes this year. Small groups of young people from the United Kingdom spend six weeks volunteering their time and skills in the crèches where they were most needed.

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