Joshua Project spreads its wings

2016-02-25 06:00

IMAGINE waking up each morning covered in soot from sleeping in an alleyway, your stomach still wrenching in pain from the little you have eaten over the past few days.

Even when you do get food, it usually comes from digging in piles of trash, fighting with another child over tiny scraps of rotting sustenance.

Nights are for surviving - pickpocketing an adult to get a little bit of money to buy food or hiding out of fear of being abused.

This is the life of street children in Humansdorp. But now there is an alternative. Now they have the chance to get off the streets for good and begin a rehabilitation process that leads to a normal, healthy life.

Some two years ago, Erna Tolkamp - former project leader at Joshua Project in Jeffreys Bay, had a vision to change and enrich the lives of Humansdorp’s poorest youth. With the help of Joshua Project in Jeffreys Bay and several other organisations, this vision will become a reality when Joshua Project opens their second drop-in centre in Humansdorp before winter this year.

Tolkamp says they currently have 20 street children who are registered with the organisation. They hope to identify and accommodate more children as the project grows.

Joshua Project Humansdorp will be situated at the United Pentecostal Church in Voortrekker Street. “The location is ideal as it is close to the community, which in fact will enable us to accommodate more children in future,” says Tolkamp.

According to Tolkam,p the centre will provide a safe place from street life, and education and life skills activities.

“As a drop-in centre, Joshua Project Humansdorp will be open from Monday to Friday. Any street child from Humansdorp can come to the centre for porridge in the mornings, a lesson or two taught by local volunteers and a safe haven where they can get away from the negative influences of the streets before going back into survival mode each night.

“The centre will furthermore provide meals, shower facilities, clothes, and computer classes, as well as an adult base education training programme including reading, writing and life skill classes.

“Joshua Project is a Christian organisation, thus gospel will form a vital part of everything we do.”

Tolkamp says that they are in the process of establishing a food scheme programme in conjunction with the Bet-El Revival Church, the NG Church and the United Pentecostal Church.

“We are here to serve the street children of Humansdorp,” says Tolkamp.

According to Tolkamp, she loves the work she does - helping children in need. “Starting Joshua Project in Humansdorp is a faith thing. It is my task to start it, but once it is up and running it will be handed over to the local people.

“I believe that God will provide in all our needs. If God starts a project, He will finish it. I am only the tool; all the glory must go to Him.”

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