Whilst we hope to make a difference in the lives of many, many indigent children, we also try to focus on the individual needs of each and very child in our care. As part of our social outreach projects in the community we have managed to change the lives of children through numerous different initiatives.
Emotional and spiritual care
Many children who live in the terribly challenging conditions of the informal settlements unfortunately become victims of domestic and sexual abuse. A long-term goal of Angels Care is to provide a centre where these children can receive all the counselling and medical assistance they may require. In the meantime we do what we can….. One special little girl of about 7 years of age who we have managed to help arrived one freezing cold winter’s Saturday morning at the feeding scheme. She was shivering, absolutely frozen to the bone and had soiled her clothing. She had probably slept the night on a cold floor without shoes, a blanket or clean clothes. Her mother being unemployed, desperate and an alcoholic had abandoned her child with the result that the child was left to survive in a very basic shelter with no access to toilet facilities, clean water or a safe place to stay. This child was given a warm shower by one of the Centre’s caregivers, hot sweet tea, something eat and provided with a new outfit that helped to stop her shivering and make her feel loved and comfortable. Our staff alerted the local social workers who have ensured that she is now in the care of her grandmother – it is such a joy to see her come on a Saturday looking so much healthier and full of smiles!
Many children need individualised health care and we help out wherever possible. Their needs differ from requirements for specialised surgery, mental health, access to opticians and audiologists, to everyday accidents that happen in the home or at school. A few cases are:
1. A child who fell over the cliff at Howick Falls was sent by Angels Care for treatment and became a resident at a local hospital for people who are mentally disabled.
2. A seven-year-old child aged was pushed into a pot of boiling water and suffered severe burns. He was taken to our local doctors who kindly saw him through the ordeal free of charge.
3. Two deaf children to the audiologists at Greys Hospital and received successful treatment.
4. An especially happy outcome of our health care initiative is that of a young 8-year-old girl, who was so badly squint that she could not see properly. Because of her squint eyes and the fact that it never seemed as though she was looking straight at anyone, her schoolmates mercilessly teased her and so she never attended school. In 2014 she was seen by a local ophthalmic surgeon who along with the Howick Community Medical trust have ensured that she has had the surgery she needed at Howick Hospital to correct her eyes and transform her young life. She is now well on her way to becoming a happy, well adjusted child who is sure to start gaining in self-confidence and happily return to school.
Provision of clothing and blankets
The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has extremely harsh winters with frost almost every morning. Our children who live in extreme poverty have little or no access to warm clothing or blankets and every winter we receive donations from kind people in the community who lovingly knit sweaters, scarves, woollen hats and even make beautiful colourful blankets for us to distribute.
Assistance for foreign nationals
Whenever possible we attempt to provide children who arrive in South Africa as refugees from our neighbouring countries, and who cannot attend our government schools, with an education. For example our community caregivers became aware of four abandoned children from Malawi who were in a desperate state and with no one to help them. One of the older children received individual classes from one of our volunteers for four years and then joined classes offered at a night school. The Angels Care staff also assisted the family with obtaining the relevant documentation they required for the other three children to attend school.