‘Safe space’ for kids

2018-03-06 06:00
Children are given the opportunity to play in a safe space created by a Tafelsig based NPO at their ECD centre.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Children are given the opportunity to play in a safe space created by a Tafelsig based NPO at their ECD centre.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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They have spent more than two decades working toward making a positive impact in the lives of the youth at risk.

Situated in the heart of Tafelsig, local non-profit organisation Joining Hands has somehow managed to stay afloat with little to no assistance.

Although the organisation was only registered in 2010, founders Charles and Denise De Long and Jamiela Haliem have been working with children and youth in the area for the past 25 years.

The NPO, Joining Hands operates from a plot in Voelvlei Street and services the ‘most vulnerable’ residents, including young children, the youth and the elderly.

Some of their projects include a soup kitchen, outreach projects to the elderly and an ECD centre which prepares the children for Grade R.

“We started with a soup kitchen on this site with one container and we worked with the youth. That started 25 years ago,” says Charles. “Our youth get lost and go in the wrong direction on a bad path. I am not perfect, but I try to make a difference and put a stop to [anti-social behaviour] in our community. Thus far, I have made a success working with our youth,” he says.

He has dedicated his life to the betterment of the youth.

“I don’t work any other job. I dedicate all my time to this. If I don’t do it, what is there for the children? The children are our future and we do this all for them,” he says.

Around five years ago, the organisation opened an ECD centre that services 80 children­.

“This is a safe place for children to come and play. The children need that when their parents go to work,” he says.

They have also opened their doors as a safe-house for wayward youth and orphaned children. Joining Hands has partnered with several organisations in the area but are still in need of assistance in upgrading their facilities and continuing in making a difference in the children’s lives.

“The roof is leaking and we need help to fix it. Also our bakkie burnt out and we are not able to collect food for the feeding scheme anymore,” he says.

The organisation feeds the children from the ECD everyday and have a soup kitchen every Wednesday where they feed hundreds more from the community.

Some of their other needs include food items such as non-perishable food and meat, as well as electrical connections, beds and blankets, clothing, power tools and a closet.

The organisation would also like to extend the property with more containers and make it more winter ready with a roofed porch.
“I maintain the containers myself, but we need the tools to do that,” says Charles.

He thanked Pick n Pay Ottery for their donations toward the feeding scheme and Breadline SA for their donations of containers, school uniforms for the children and surrounding children and gifts they have sponsored.

V If you would like to get involved or donate to the cause, Call Charles de Long on 084 854 3274 or Jamiela Haliem on 073 879 1833. You can also email jhcphpo@gmail.com.

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