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Charlotte Theron Child and Youth Care Centre

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord shall provide – is the name Abraham gave the place where he was supposed to sacrifice his son, Isak and where the Lord provided a ram as offering when He saw Abraham’s obedience (Gen 22:14).

Charlotte Johanna de Leeuw was born on 28 December 1842 in Paarl and later married Servaas de Kock. Their first-born died and when their second child, Hildie was born they were full of joy. Shortly thereafter Servaas died and at the age of four death also claimed little Hildie’s life.

Charlotte’s grief resulted in her reaching out to other people especially children, to relief their suffering.

During 1878, reverend Charles Theron, a reverend from Bethlehem, married the widow Charlotte de Kock. The Anglo Boer War broke out in 1899. People were killed and women and children were kept in concentration camps. The number of orphans increased and Charlotte started to take care of seven orphans. This number increased to 47 in 1903. The orphans were cared for in a house rev. Theron bought. Because there was not enough space, a tin cottage with four rooms was put up just below the house. The boys stayed there. Water was fetched in buckets from a fountain across the Jordaan River.

At that stage ‘personnel’ were not compensated. Members from the community who lent their support were:
  • Uncle Barend du Plessis, the secretary of the Dutch Reformed Church
  • Uncle Theuns Fourie, who donated the first R50,00
  • Mr. A P Naude, co-founder of Bethlehem
  • Mr. W K van der Merwe from “Aasvoëlkrans”
  • Mrs. R Rozenzweig
  • Mrs. J J Botha
The influenza epidemic of 1918 caused an inflow of orphans. In 1924 there were more than 300 children.

The present grounds in Wessels street were obtained. The first housefather, mr Mostert and the big boys erected the first three buildings themselves. It was inaugurated on 22 August 1926 and is still used.

A hospital, Bellevue, was build during 1939 and was equiped with apparatus and medicine.

During 1948 a nursery school was built. After the Second World War (1939-1945) the number of children was high, e.g. 442 in 1949.

During 1985 the number of children a houseparent had to care for, was decreased from one houseparent for 25 children to one houseparent for 12 children.

The Management decided during 2001 to take part in the process of decentralisation and transformation. Funds for buying decentralised centres are made available as property on the present grounds are sold.

COMPOSITION AND FUNCTIONING OF THE CENTRE


Charlotte Theron Child and Youth Care Centre currently takes care of 135 children who are in need of care. The youngest is 1 year old and the eldest 20 years old. The children are White, Black and Coloured.

The children are cared for in 11 houses on one big premises. There are separate houses for boys and girls. Each house has it’s own child care worker and it operates on it’s own like a big household.

The centre is Christian orientated and its aim is to lead every child to Christ and teach them healthy values and norms.

The children attend 7 different schools and most of the pupils attend the Maluti Hoogland Special School. All the pre-school children go to nursery schools.

Children who perform well have the opportunity to study at a college or university. Currently there are 4 children busy with tertiary education.

SERVICES TO CHILDREN FROM THE COMMUNITY


The centre often helps children from the community with clothes, food or safeguarding when a child is in need. During holidays transport is given to children who live away from their parents and come to visit them in Bethlehem.

PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES


Mr Piet Smith is the Chairperson of the Management Committee and Mr Hugo Burger the Vice-chairperson. The head of the centre is Mrs. Cathy Symington.

PERSONNEL


The following personnel work at Charlotte Theron Child and Youth Care Centre.
  • 1x Principal Social Worker
  • 3x Social Workers
  • 1x Secretary
  • 1x Administrative Officer
  • 1x Transport Officer
  • 1x Factotum
  • 10x Child Care Workers
  • 3x Relieve Child Care Workers
  • 10x General Assistants
  • 2 x General Assistants - Grounds

SERVICES TO CHILDREN IN THE CENTRE


The children’s basic needs for a safe home, food and clothing are met. Meals are prepared according to an approved balanced menu and children receive good second hand as well as new clothes.

Children receive medical care and treatment by specialists whenever necessary.

The children receive enough opportunities to socialise. Social events are organised at the centre and the children also attend social events at their different schools.

All the children attend school and there are set study times after school hours. Children with developmental problems receive occupational therapy and extra classes.

All the children receive therapy from a social worker. The Therapeutic Team compile an individual developmental plan for each child and all work together to provide in the child’s needs. If necessary, arrangements are made for help from other therapists like a psychologist, psychiatrist, etc.

INVOLVEMENT FROM THE COMMUNITY


The centre organise a big bazaar every year to generate funds and we need the support and donations from the community to be successful in this.

Help can be given continuously in the following ways:
  • Donations: Cash or in kind, e.g. second-hand clothes, food, linen, household appliances, furniture, etc.
  • Assistance with extra classes, study.
  • Free of charge or reduced tariffs by doctors, dentists, occupational and speech therapists, psychologists, hairdressers, sport coaches, etc.
  • Weekend- and holiday parents who take a child to visit them during weekends and holidays.

WHY GET INVOLVED?


Out of gratitude for so many blessings received from our Father.

Here are children with a lot of potential that have to be developed and you can make a difference in a child’s life.

Postal Address:


P O Box 14
Bethlehem

Street Address:


46 Wessels Street
Bethlehem
9700 9701

Telephone: 058-3073700
Fax: 058-3038092

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Management:

Chairperson: 
Mr P Smith
Vice chairperson:  Mr HC Burger
Chairperson Financial Committee:  Mr C Ackerman
Chairperson Child Care Committee:  Mr P Smith

During the previous 5 years the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) provided big amounts to the capital expenditures of the child and youth care centres. This centre has recently received a 60 seater bus as well as funds to replace the water and sewerage system of the 100 year old buildings. The NLDTF also funded a swimming pool. The children are very glad about the pool and vehicle and the management is very thankful for the maintenance that can now be done.

Visit the National Lotteries Board website to find out about other projects supported by the NLDTF