iKhaya le Themba for the youth

2016-12-20 06:01

The youth of Hout Bay are bursting with potential creativity, but due to circumstances they are forced off the trail.

Too many are confronted with overwhelming odds, forced to forfeit their studies and secure short-term employment to meet their day-to-day needs.

Despite the challenges that are faced by youth, Ikhaya le Themba – Home of Hope – is an NPO in Imizamo Yethu, that has spent the last 14 years trying to enhance the options and capabilities of some of the most vulnerable children in Hout Bay.

The NPO has 11 staff members and a host of volunteers. They work with 98 children between the ages of six and 14 who currently attend iKhaya le Themba every weekday afternoon to receive homework assistance, a hot lunch as well as a snack and fruit.

Susan Hill, director of Ikhaya le Themba, says the NPO provides a safe environment where children can read, dance, learn crafts and experience the type of life skills and therapy groups that every child needs, but too few receive.

“IKhaya le Themba is an incredibly fun place. The children who attend are selected based on the extent of their need, but invariably grow in confidence and stature, and this is reflected in their ability to persist with school,” she says.

“By design iKhaya le Themba hosts children from a variety of family circumstances, but always looks to strengthen the support that children receive when at home. Guardians are assisted through home visits and support groups run by our community workers. Guardians are also equipped through programmes such as Word Works, conversational English, computer literacy and training in how to grow their own food, sewing classes, baking classes, worker readiness training and CV writing courses as well,” says Hill.

Although designed around the needs of children and their guardians, it is the visitors who tend to leave with the biggest smiles and filled with new hope.

“Ironically, however, most of our visitors are from outside of South Africa. Surely it is time to change that – to recognise the asset that we have right here in the valley and to build the type of relationship bridges between iKhaya le Themba and Imizamo Yethu and the rest of the valley that will serve us all in the future,” she says.

As with most NGOs, iKhaya le Themba depends on the contributions of donors and volunteers for its existence, and when the economy is struggling, iKhaya le Themba struggles.

“Sadly, too few people living in Hout Bay know quite what a difference iKhaya is making in the lives of Hout Bay’s youth and in building a future for us all. We would love residents and local businesses to come and see what we are all about. Over a cup of coffee we’d love to introduce you to some amazing children,” says Hill.

V To help Ikhaye le Themba call Susan Hill on 072 517 4100

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