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Merafong Child and Youth Care Centre

a Big need exists for more child and youth care centres in the Goldfields. At present the child and youth care centres of Winburg (Huis Smarag and Diamant), Theunissen (Thusano Child and Youth Care Centre), Riebeeckstad (Lizst Street 1 & 2), Virginia (Maanblom), Welkom (Othello Street) and Merafong (Hyslop street) provide care to 112 children.

Merafong means "Place of Gold". This is the name of the centre that was developed by Engo Free State Child and Youth Care at 3 Hyslop street, Seemeeu Park, Welkom. The property was made available by the "Getuieniskommissie" of the Dutch Reformed Church. At first this property was the parsonage of Dr Lourens Erasmus, the previous moderator of Dutch Reformed Church in the Free State. The minister of Merafong Wespark Dutch Reformed Church, rev. Pheko, is the chair person of the Management Committee. The vice-chair person is mr Thabo Letsora.

This centre provides care to 12 boys. At present the centre is in need of large outside pluy equipment and sportswear. The first children were admitted during the second term of 2009.

The surrounding community wanted to name the centre "Merafong", because they believe that the children of this centre will be the gold.

Enquiries in this regard: Principal Social Worker, ms Chirsta Maree, tel.: 057-352 9782.

A new child and youth care centre opened its doors in the city to provide in the growing need for safe housing for children in need.

Ms. Magda van Niekerk, director of Free State Youth Care Centres, during 2009, said there was a long waiting list for children who need to be placed out in child and youth care centres.

The centres in Winburg (Huis Smarag and Huis Diamant), Theunissen (Thusano), Riebeeckstad (Liszstraat 1 and 2), Virginia (Maanblom), Welkom (Othellostreet) and Merafong (Welkom) provide care to some 112 children.

"Children from the Goldfields sometimes need to be placed out to other districts because their circumstances are critic and they need protection."

To provide in this need, a new child and youth care centre in Hyslop Street, Welkom was developed. The property for the centre, Merafong, which means "place of gold" was supplied by the "Getuieniskommissie" of the Dutch Reformed Church.

The house was the parsonage of Rev. Lourens Erasmus, the former moderator of the Free State Dutch Reformed Church.

Merafong provides care to 12 boys.

The first six boys moved in in April 2009 and Mrs. Mamotseki Seleso was appointed as child and youth care worker.

The children's ages currently varies from birth to 18 years of age. Children under the age of twelfe years are admitted. As the children became older, they will remain in the centre and will not be placed out. "We found it easier to start with younger children."

Children still on the waiting list are temporary with family, foster parents or in place of safety.

Van Niekerk says it is very important that the children remain in contact with their family. "Every one of us needs a sence of belonging and acceptance. The children talk about it as "someone of their own".

This article appeared in Volksblad of March 11, 2009. This is the birth of Merafong Child and Youth Care Centre.

The "Getuieniskommissie" of the Dutch Reformed Church contacted Van Niekerk on 19 February 2008 with the possibility to establish a child and youth care centre in the former parsonage on the corner of Farrer and Hyslop Streets, Seemeeupark, Welkom.

The congregation of Merafong Wespark was visited on Sunday 16 March 2008. There were 16 members who undertook the responsibility for the project. The adjoining Dutch Reformed Churc of Welkom-Wes promised their support. The first meeting with the community was held on 17 November 2008.

The first management consisted out of:

Chairperson:  Rev. TS Pheko
Chairperson Financial committee:  Mr Thabo Kabulu
Chairperson Child care committee:  Ms Cathrine Senatle
Mr Joseph Likontsane
Mr Thabo Letsora
Mr Lou Coertzer
Ms Frederika Ntomba

There was decided to start the centre as a home for 12 Sotho speaking boys, because over the years there was a tendency in the Free State that more boys than girls became in need of care. The centre will be extended for girls as well when the funds became available.


PO Box 31032


Child and Youth Care Worker: Melita Seleso, Tel.: 078 566 3352
Social worker: Monica Venter, Tel.: 060 389 5953
Principal social worker: Christa Maree, Tel.: 057-352 9782

Needs of the centre:

• Boys clothes 0 - 18 years
• School bags and school requirements
• Toys
• Sport equipment 
Motto: "Our children are our gold."