Twenty-five kilometres outside Bloemfontein on the banks of the Modder River near Mazelspoort and Phillip Sanders holiday resorts, you will find the Bolokanang Child and Youth Care Centre. The centre is surrounded by game reserves, wild olive and karee trees, indigenous plants and fresh air.
The provincial planning for the decentralising and transforming of children's homes make provision for the establishment of 13 decentralised centres in the Motheo-district. Therefore different possibilities are looked at for the establishment of centres. The need for centres for Sotho-speaking children is very big.
When the specific property in Bloemvallei came into the market, we saw it as a good possibility. The Church Social Services urgently needed a place for a large number of Sotho-speaking children to stay.
Almost 80 years ago a farmer donated a piece of land - part of the farm Diepfontein - to the Dutch Reformed Church with the idea to develop a church for Sotho-speaking people.
In due course the Department of Education asked the church to open a school. At first the Dutch Reformed Church Bloemvallei built only one classroom. Later it was extended into a school with 8 classes. Toilets were erected with funds received from overseas, especially the Netherlands. Later on the school was diminish to only 2 classes. A little hall was erected to serve as church. The community exists out of plots and no negative social patterns are present. The first meeting was held on 8 February 2007 with the community. It was decided to go ahead with the project. The church- and bigger community promised to support the project. NG Welsyn, the main company of Bloemvallei Dutch Reformed Church, bought the property and rebuilt it to a functional centre for 30 children. The capital cost of the project is R2 704 208.00.
The existing school, Uitkomst, is still in a different building on the premises. The primary school children in the centre also attend this school. Since 2009 there are 3 teachers and a Grade R-class. The children walk 20 steps from the door of the centre to the school.
Three pre-developed rooms were gained in order to be erected as additional classrooms. Outsurance built a beautiful classroom in 2009 with the help of several donors.
The hall in the centre is used every Sunday by the Church of England. The residents and personnel of the centre aldo attend these church activities.
A competition was held in order to get a name for this centre. Eventually there was decided on the name Bolokanang. It was sent in by 4 children and it means "to take care of one another".
The first children were admitted during April 2008. The centre makes provision for the care of 30 Sotho-speaking children. The youngest resident is 3 years old and the oldest a boy of 15 years.
The child care workers are Mampo Setlaba, Agnes Motlabane, Paulus Mahlaba and Lisa Temeki. The social worker is Marita van Aswegen. She also is a well known writer of children's stories with therapeutic value.
The children who are residents at present, mostly have no parents or only one parent. The surrounding Sotho community has opened their hearts for the children. They also helped with the cleaning of the site and buildings. They experience that the children who came form difficult circumstances are brave and make the best of their circumstances. The children love sports. They also have a soccer team. The girls enjoy learning to bake and to do needlework. A netball court was donated where the children can play netball and volleyball.
The children visit on regular basis the nearby holiday resort Mazelspoort and make use of the sport facilities with the school children of Uitkomst School. A hearty "thank you" goes to the owner. Not only does he regularly opens the facilities for them, but also spoil them with gifts and refreshments. Children also get exposure to creative dancing like gumboot dancing.
Bolokanang Child and Youth Care Centres is an example of where different races join hands in the interest of needy children. Although the centre have only Sotho-speaking children, the Afrikaans speaking community gives excellent support.
The management consists out of the following people:
Piet Marais (Chair person)
Jacob Ramabudu Trudie de Kock
Needs of the centre:
- Many children do not have parents or family and therefore they stay in the centre for holidays. They would like to visit holiday parents or be placed into foster care.
- Garden chairs
- Sport equipment is in need - especially soccer balls, netball balls.
- Soccer field.
- Painting of buildings.
Bolokanang Child and Youth Care Centre
Uitkomst no 2428
Tel: 051 433 2852
Re a leboha ka ho dula Bolokanang
Sebaka sena se re thusise haholo fela
Re bolokehile sebakeng sa Bolokanang
Bolakanang ke sebaka se se re thusitseng
Bolokanang e re sireleditse haholo sechabeng
Re dula ha montate Bolokanang
Bolokanang a re tlhokometse
Re amohelehile mo Bolokanang.
Peter and Lynn Holman came all the way from America to South Africa to learn about the children of our country and to help them to do things for themselves.
They have offered themselves to help every day at Bolokanang Youth Care Centre. They pray together with the staff and help with fixing broken things. Lynn dedicated herself to help with the daily management of the centre. She supported the staff, spend time talking and listening to the children and builds spiritual values to the lives of the children. Lynn takes pictures of the children. At least once a year they present a holiday camp for the children of the centre as well as the community.
Marita van Aswegen (Social worker)
Mampho Setlaba (Child care worker)
Agnes Mothlabane (Child care worker)
Lisa Temeki (Child care worker)
Paulus Masaba (Child care worker)
Emily Nthatisi (Assitant)
Thanks to financial support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) the centre can provide a service to the surrounding community. During 2009 funds were received to run a feeding scheme as well as social-, sport- and religious programmes. This contributes to the healthy development of approximately 90 children.
During 2010 the NLDTF provided funds for a gas stove, water conserving tanks, washing machine, school clothes, stationery and a vehicle. This is a huge encouragement to the management, personnel, children and community. The contribution gives hope to the rural districts.
Visit the National Lotteries Board website to find out about other projects supported by the NLDTF