Gert Maritz, a community doctor at Memel, first realised the impact that HIV/Aids was having on the community of Memel and Zamani as he was faced with the needs of the children from these communities on a daily basis. He started to investigate possible ways of helping these children.
On 7 November 2003 he made an appointment with the director of the Free State Youth Care Centres. Other organisations and individuals also offered assistance, namely Amos Agrimen, a movement which preaches the word of God on farms, Doctors Ron and Ena Bromley, originally from the Damascus Road Community Church of Maryland, USA and Mrs Cilna Maritz who played an indispensable role throughout.
The foundation meeting took place on 14 May 2004. At this meeting, the social worker of the department of social development, Mary Masuaya, urged the community to take action as the number of community children in need of care was very high. Mr. JW du Toit was elected as chairperson and Mrs. Khumalo as vice chairperson of the steering committee of the project. The committee decided to rent a property at 9 Voortrekkerstraat and started the Dumisani project officially in September 2004.
A building plot was brought from the Phumelela municipality. It is situated in the Zumani township and building is now completed. The name Dumisani means “praise”.
SERVICES RENDERED BY THE CENTRE TO THE RESIDENTS AND COMMUNITY
Dumisani Child and Youth Care Centre render care to 16 children from the local community of Memel and surrounding area (Vrede, Warden, Harrismith and Frankfort). Dumisani Child and Youth Care Centre aims to work according to an individual development plan with each resident child which also includes therapeutic work. The social worker offers advice to the community as and when required.
The centre acts as a place of safety for children requiring such care urgently. Services are rendered to the families of residents which include advice and material assistance when needed. The centre has a referral function and needy families in the community are referred to the department of social development for further assistance.
Dumisani Child and Youth Care Centre have one child and youth care and two part time assistants. The centre also has a relief child care worker and part time gardener.
Age, gender and language of the residents
16 Children of both sexes are accommodated from age 2 to 18. The centre mainly accommodates black children due to its location. At present the centre has only black children who are mainly Sotho and Zulu speaking.
Interests, achievements and unique characteristics of the residents
Dumisani Child and Youth Care Centre encourage its children to have various interests. Children of the centre mainly have an interest in sports such as soccer and netball.
Members of the management and their involvement in the community
Dumisani Child and Youth Care Centre have an active child care committee and well functioning financial committee. Members of the management committee are from Zamani township and Memel and exist of white and black people in accordance with the population distribution of the area.
Volunteers help the children with sport recreational activities and outings.
Church and school involvement
The centre’s children attend the Dutch Reformed Church in Zamani. They attend local primary and secondary schools in Zamani and Memel. There is a student who helps the children with homework in the afternoons.
Dumisani Child and Youth Care Centre have a need to assist resident children to achieve effective independence. For this reason, the centre would like to start skills and entrepreneurial projects which could provide older children with the necessary skills to become independent. The centre has a need for volunteers who can assist in these projects. The centre also needs material for these projects, which can be made into articles for selling.