iKhaya was originally intended to be an orphanage but the community was adamant that the children not lose their heritage or identity; rather the children would come and live with them whether they were relatives or neighbors. Ultimately iKhaya and the community became partners in raising the kids by providing a safe place for the kids to play after school and helping with homework. The collaboration seeds were planted, nurtured, and watered for the last 14 years. Today iKhaya le Themba – the Home of Hope remains a place of safety, love, nurture and care for children and their families. Together we are believing in the hopes and dreams of orphaned and vulnerable children who might otherwise drop out of school, join a gang or end up on the wrong side of life. Too many youth today don’t have the vital support they need to finish school; some have special needs and need to be assessed but disadvantaged families are less likely to know how to go about this so kids end up losing hope. iKhaya seeks to serve those children and families with the least resources for they are the ones who fall through the cracks without support, encouragement and hope for the future. We developed a learning program that re-enforces what they are meant to learn in school and now with hands-on activities like knitting, art, games, sports, expressive arts – dance, drama and songs; they are able to make the progress expected of them and more.
We monitor and evaluate students monthly, advocate with families and teachers and follow up with testing and students’ school reports. Homework and Literacy labs are held every day along with classes in isiXhosa and English, Maths, Environmental Science and Life Skills….these are vital for the future. A parent phoned recently to thank iKhaya, her child won the Poetry Award for isiXhosa at a cross-school competition. It’s not a subject offered at her school but she learns it at iKhaya.
NGOs play a significant role picking up the deficits where government can’t provide and collaborating with corporate partners who provide funding will bring the transformation of a nation. When businesses give back to the communities where they operate they harvest a great return where everyone benefits.
Over 14 years iKhaya le Themba has grown from a container with some plastic tables and chairs helping 45 children do their homework to a 5 days per week reinforced learning program assisting 100+ children from grades 1 – 6 and their families daily.
Embraced and supported by the community, 70% of iKhaya staff come from the township. Partnering with other community groups and local NGOs in Hout Bay, they provide counselling, therapy and workshops for adults along with an intensive after school care program for grades 1-6. Recently a youth development program for grades 7-12 was launched and early childhood development training model has been established to train mothers in the community to care for children ages 0-6.