Children give trees special sparkle

2018-12-11 06:01
Children from Leliebloem House and Christine Revell Children’s Home lent their creative talents to the beautification of Vangate Mall’s Christmas trees this festive season. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Children from Leliebloem House and Christine Revell Children’s Home lent their creative talents to the beautification of Vangate Mall’s Christmas trees this festive season. PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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Children from Leliebloem House and Christine Revell Children’s Home lent their creative talents to the beautification of Vangate Mall this festive season.

The Christmas trees which adorn the shopping centre have been hand decorated with an assortment of handcrafted trinkets made by the children themselves. In what was initially presented as a challenge became a fun-filled activity, explains Bilqees Gabier, Vangate Mall’s marketing manager.

“We were initially going to make it a Christmas tree challenge and the best decorated Christmas tree by each orphanage was going to win some money, but we decided to split that money between the two of them – as the shopping centre in the community that we can do something like this and the orphanages can still benefit in a monetary way,” she says.

Francisco Cornelius, director at Leliebloem House, says the opportunity to give the children exposure was too good to miss out on.

“The opportunity to come out here and get exposure means a lot to us. We are in Crawford and some people who live there still don’t know about Leliebloem, and we have been there since 1972, even though the organisation is 150 years old. More people outside our borders where we live know about us,” he says.

Cornelius says that the home always welcomes help from the community and that they need more than just financial assistanc­e.

“We need other resources such as children’s clothing, school fees, travelling costs, maintenance which needs to be done. If you look at the subsidy that we get, it is less than a third now of what it costs us to have children in a facility like that and to render these services. It is hard, but the more people we have on board, the more resources we have. You can convert the resources into finances eventually. It is making that contact first and getting businesses to understand what we are doing, so they need to come and see what we are doing,” says Cornelius.

While most of us will be celebrating the festive period with and around family, almost all the children at Leliebloem House do not have family of their own to spend this time with. Cornelius says the holiday provides its own set of challenges.

“The days are longer now, because the children are there all the time during the school holidays. During the week they go to school, so the day is a little bit shorter. When people come in and spend time with the children and with the staff, they provide some relief for the staff as well.

“They can sit, otherwise you must be on your feet all the time having to make sure that the children are safe and secure. That they are busy, so those confined spaces become a little broader for them and they can move around a little more freely,” Cornelius says.

He encourages those who would like to share their time with the children to get into contact with them to arrange a suitable date as the home is a round-the-clock operation.

“We check the programme and see what is happening and if there is time in the afternoon where you want to come and spend some time to just play with the children. If you want to give them something, that is up to you, that is not important. It is just spending time with them, because they don’t have their own families with whom they can spend their time.”

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