Soetehoop is the boys’ assessing house. Should they need therapeutic, medical or psychological help, this is arranged before the boy is relocated.
They are also placed in certain schools in accordance with their specific needs, for instance schools like Lettie Fouché and Martie du Plessis, where they facilitate children with special learning problems. The boys are transported all over the city to schools where their scholastic needs can be met. There is a boy here who has to attend special ABET classes every evening from 17h00 to 19h00, because he cannot be accommodated in a normal school.
At the moment, we have 10 boys between the ages of 10 and 17 years at Soetehoop. Many of them need extra care, because they had never been exposed to any structured routine or discipline. Some of them were street children who have no experience of living in a normal “home” environment and they have to learn how to live and share with others.
Each child has his own responsibilities and tasks that he has to perform in the house, like tidying rooms, washing dishes, etcetera. These responsibilities are rotated so that everyone gets a turn to perform certain tasks. If they show a keen interest in preparing meals, they are allowed to help with this and they will be given turns to prepare dinner. Some boys can already prepare excellent salads and even the youngest one can bake an egg.
The Dutch Reformed Church congregations of Universitas, Universitas Ridge and Jagersfontein are involved with Soetehoop, as well as volunteers who regularly drop by to enquire what the boys’ needs are. This definitely helps us a lot and we really won’t be able to function without their help and support.
Jagersfontein in the southern Free State often donate mutton and this gives us an opportunity for a barbeque. This is where everybody gets a chance to show off their salad, sandwich, porridge and sauce-making skills, while the older boys take care of the barbequing.
Three of us are responsible for the daily care of the boys. Maria January is the assistant. Agnes and Jana van Niekerk are the child care workers. On a higher level, we are also assisted by the social worker and the principal of the centre. As a team, we are able to compile a program that complies with each child’s needs.