Thusano Child and Youth Care Centre
End of 1998 some members of the community of Tshepong, Masilo and Theunissen noticed that there was a remarkable increase in children not attending school but visiting the dustbins in town and begging. A committee was formed and nothing less than a wonder happened. The whole community joined in and soon we were able to feed up to 50 children and assist them to attend school, a matter on which we are still very strict. The town council donated a building plot 1171, Masilo and other people helped to turn it into a home where some of the children could live while others came during daytime to eat and study.
The subsidy that we receive from the government covers 70% of the running costs. We sometimes struggle to make ends meet. We very seldom get in kind donations. Donations of vegetables, bread, fruit, milk and meat can make it possible for us to continue rendering services to the children in the centre but also to children at risk in the community.
Another basic need that we have to address is the need for clothes and blankets. Used clothes can make a big difference.
On 5 June 2002 we became a decentralised youth care centre and have since been receiving subsidy for the statutary children. We call our centre Thusano meaning “to work together”. We are registered at the Department of the Social Development as a children’s home to have 15 children.
Our children attend Concordia high school, Loboneng primary school, Taine secondary school and Khotso primary school.
The youth care centre make use of the services of a social worker. She has two therapeutic sessions with each child every quarter.
When a child is being admitted to the centre a multi therapeutic team meeting is held to draw up an Individual Developmental Plan and Care Plan for each child. This plan assists the people involved with the child to know who will render which services to the child concerned. It also assists in co-ordinating the services.
The social worker and the child and youth care worker often have discussions about the child – in this way they work together as a team.
A multi therapeutic team meeting is held annualy to evaluate the achievements and to plan ahead for each child.
The social worker also arranges for weekend and holiday leave to the child’s parents or host families.
The management and the child and youth care worker ensures that the child’s basic needs are met by making sure he/she has a safe house, food, clothes and education.
The children attend the Rock of Ages Ministries.
During 2003 we received money from NG Welfare to build a Community Centre next to the centre, where we can take care of children from the rest of the community needing care and support. During 2010 we received a mini-bus and money for steel closets in the children's rooms, Spesial thanx to the Lotto
CHILDREN OF THE COMMUNITY
These kids still have a house or some family where they belong but who cannot support them and see that they attend school. Up to 20 children attend the centre daily, depending on their circumstances at home. They receive food and clothes and help with schoolwork if needed. They share in all the activities such as sport and dancing lessons. We do not receive any subsidy to operate the Community Centre and have to rely on contributions from the public.
It is clear that the government will not be able to put every child in need of care in a foster home but the community must be educated and assisted to take responsibility, since numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. Theunissen took up the challenge and very good work is being done to ensure that every child has the opportunity to develop into a healthy, educated, responsible and happy person who will be able to take care of him-/herself and his or her own family while contributing to the well-being of the rest of the community.
Since the establishment of Thusano it is certainly not necessary for a child to do crime just to survive the night. We also work very closely with the Child Care Committee who attends to children who are living in at home but where the parents died or are too ill to take care - the so called child headed households.
There is always a bit of stigmatisation of children once called "street kids" and our children are very sensitive to that. One must address their needs, without overcompensating. Having the right school uniform and sport gear, with a variety of opportunities, help a lot. A child who can for instance dance or play tennis or chess just blends much easier into a new or strange environment.
Children who had to struggle just to survive, do not have any dreams. When they first come into the centre and you ask them about their future plans they have to stretch their mind to come up with something like “garden boy”. Taking them places and pointing out different career opportunities is vital for reaching their potential. Just taking them on an outing to the local dam brought about dreams such as bus drivers, traffic officers, game rangers, conservationists, architects, dam builders, anglers, skiers, and who knows what else. Tours and outings are a great way to expand their experience and mindset. To illustrate: The management took the children to the Erfenis dam. They were afraid of so much water and when I walked into the dam, they were hysterical since according to them, it was clear that the water was “eating my feet!” It was a life changing experience for some of them to muster up the courage to venture into the unknown and swim! Thanks to the Lotto who donated a kombi during2010.
You may think that it is very depressing to work with such neglected and sometimes abused youngsters. On the contrary, it is most rewarding to see them grab the opportunities and to watch them grow into confident, groomed and educated young people. To get the report that the bedwetting and nightmares had stopped and to see the little ones play like they have no worries, is most uplifting. Some of them could not pass a grade in a number of years and then something just snaps into place and one cannot believe that it is the same child. Thusano Youth Care Centre is making a difference in the lives of children, giving them as the motto says: “Tumclo, Tshepo, Lerato – Faith, Hope, Love”.
PO BOX 433
TEL: 078 406 2079
Child Care Worker: Edith Satlaelo is the child care worker since May 2010.
Social worker: Vyvyan Rossouw 057 212 4242
Chairperson: Mr. Daniël Mahoko
Secretary: Ms. Marieta Visser.
Chairperson child care committee: Ms Magda Cronjé
Secretary: Ms Marieta Visser
Chairperson financial committee: Zagaria Dikoko Newsletter 2 - 2009:
Thusano Child and Youth Care Centre is blessed by leaders on the commitee. God send Rev. Dikoko of A.M.E. Church and Rev. Mahoko of the Hope of Glory Church to the centre. Rev. Dikoko is the chairperson of the Financial Committee and Rev. Mahoko is chairperson of the Management Committee.
Thusano Child and Youth Care Centre selected a "Child Forum". The work of this forum is like the school's RCL. They help to find out the views and feelings of the children. It also helps the child and youth care worker to solve problems and to build a good relationship among the children. The chairperson of this forum is a boy named Mangaliso, the secretary is Amanda and the other members are Tshepiso and Seipati.