Sandy Arendse from Hillview has a big heart for children, which is why she is dedicating her time to help them with homework and ensure they are safe.Having worked for a non-profit organisation focused on the education of children, she felt inspired to start her own organisation and help local children.Last year Arendse started and registered her non-profit organisation, Rising Helping Hands, in the area. She runs several programmes from her backyard and accommodates children aged between seven and 15.“Children come to me straight after school and I help them with homework and we run several programmes to help them be better people and good citizens in the near future. We start from 15:00 until 18:00. I keep the children until the parents come to fetch them. If parents don’t come I have to walk them home to ensure that they get home safe. I also feed the children because coming back from school they are hungry so we give them snacks and juice. I want all the children that I work with to have full stomachs and fresh minds – that is why I do what I do,” she says.As is the case for most NPOs, Arendse says funding is a challenge. “My wish is to give the children porridge in the morning, but we can’t afford that all the time. Sometimes there is and times we have nothing. I do my best to ask for donations. It would be great if we could get porridge in the morning. Unemployment is a huge challenge in our area and some children go to school hungry and we don’t want that,” she says. “I want children to be full so that they can concentrate in class. If anyone can help me with snacks, and porridge it will be appreciated.”The mother of two says children are dear to her heart and with the challenges faced in her community, an informal settlement nearby, she doesn’t want children to struggle. “I want children to have a safe space. We teach them a lot, especially academically, and also self-respect and respect for other people. The children that I work with know that as soon as we step into Aunty Sandy’s yard it is all about respect and I want them to take that everywhere they go,” she says.Arendse has 40 children in her aftercare programme. “I prepare material for them to learn every day. I have two volunteers that have matriculated also from my backyard, so they come back and help. They told me they wanted to help because what I did for them really changed their lives and it made them pass so they want to share that with other children.”V To help Rising Helping Hands, call Sandy Arendse on 083 867 5185.