IKHAYALETHU SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
On 18 July 2013, GCF led by Monica Woodhouse, rescued 23 severely disabled children who were starving & neglected living in the rural district of Ugu, KZN. In the middle of winter they had been left with no water, electricity, food, or heat.
The team from GCF drove in the early hours to take food to these disabled children & to bring them back to our Place of Safety in Margate, Ugu.
For the next 6 months these disabled children stayed with the team at GCF & were given medical care, nutrition, love, support, occupational therapy & much more.
Through the guidance & negotiations of GCF, these children now have their own home-Ikhayalethu- in Izingolweni, Ugu, where we have an MOU signed to help Build Capacity of Ikhayalthu, through board member / management / staff training, development and upliftment, so that that these children remain safe & secure.
There are now 46 disabled children in Ikhayalethu, which is now being earmarked by the Premier's Office to be a flagship model.
The objective of the campaign:
1. The Safe Rescue of Disabled Children from the neglect and risk factors they are suffering.
2. Placement of Disabled Children in a safe and secure facility, with best care practices to ensure the optimum quality of life for children with a disability
3. Training and Capacity Building Board Members/ Management & Staff of Ikhayalethu Home of Love and Care to ensure best care practices for the disabled children in their care and the sustainability of the organization.
4. To build Ikhayalethu in to a Flagship Model to promote the best care practices for Disabled Children
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
After we have rescued the first 23 disabled children from the horrendous conditions they were living in, we set about building back their resilience and health. We brought in a external occupational therapist to assist with their care. Each child had a nutritional and healthcare plan to ensure their full recovery.
After 6 month they were able to move into their new home in Izingolweni, where we have continued to support and capacitate the home for the last 3 years.
We have assisted them in the following Training:
Fundraising and Marketing
Maintenance & Housekeeping
Recently Ikhayalethu was approached by the Premiers Office to become the Flagship in KZN for disabled children and we are hoping that this will lead to more opportunities to help the children of Ikhayalethu
Being in the deep rural area, Izingolweni, Ikhaylethu was planned with the upmost GREEN care, so that it ensures longevity and low running cost.
Build Green with rain tanks to conserve water, solar panels to assist with electricity reduction and gas for cooking.
Vegetable patches and gardens were planted to help with food sustainability.
Caregivers are undergoing onsite occupational therapy training to continue best care practices for the children.
Families are encouraged to participate in the care of their disabled children.
The children take part in the small day school set up and run by the caregivers.
With so few care facilities for disabled children in SA, Ikhayalethu is making a big impact and giving many children with disabilities hope and encouragement
Thanks to the ongoing work being done at Ikhayalethu, we have seen amazing results. Like the 14 year girl who had never been able to speak before, but due to the diligence of our occupational therapist she has begun to talk...her world of silence has been broken.
We also started a small day school for the children, so those who can attend, are stimulated through art, music and crafts.
We are breaking barriers in the community, by helping breakdown the fears and stigmas of dealing with a disabled child. We encourage families to learn more about being disabled and how they can better the lives of children living with disabilities.
We have upskilled the capacity of caregivers, management and an inexperienced Board. Together we have started the journey that has and will continue to make a difference in a community that needed it.
Although we found sponsorship for the building of Ikhayalethu and the facilities, there was no money for operational costs. The only income was the Child Grant, which does not cover all the costs of running the home.
Training of the staff took longer than anticipated, especially on Financial Management and Resource Development. Being a completely new home, the staff had no experience, work long hours, and many of the workers volunteer (for a small stipend). Additional Funding is vitally needed to help grow and encourage this home.
Also as a Green Building, repairs and maintenance were hard to uphold, as there are no Green Suppliers in this region and to bring in the items from out of province is very expensive
Strong management and ongoing experienced support is needed to ensure the capacity development of a new organization.
Children with disabilities need a daily programme of stimulation and development, occupational therapy is vital.
Green Buildings in a rural setting needs guarantees from the supplier when things break or need replacing.
When committing to a new building/organization you have to look long term, you cant just pay for facilities and walk away, you need to ensure their is operational funding and training support.
We have learnt that there is a dire shortage of facilities that can help or house children with disabilities. Many children are left abandoned, neglected and at risk, because of stigma, fear and lack of support.