I Care was launched in June 2002 by the LHC Foundation Trust, a registered NPO Organisation) and PBO (Public Benefits Organisation). I Care is dedicated to finding a sustainable solution to challenges facing street children in South Africa. Our programme is holistic and covers Awareness, Outreach, Rehabilitation, Housing/Shelter, Education and Skills/Job Creation. Awareness: I Care educates the public that giving money to street children actually keeps them on the street. Our motivation to the public is: ‘Don’t give me money, give me a future’. There are so many other ways they can help.
Outreach: I Care establishes relationships of trust with children, essential for further intervention to take place. I Care have Hope Centres in Durban and Johannesburg where the children’s basic needs are met i.e. medical, nutritional and emotional. It is a safe place to come to off the streets and it is from here we are able to begin their rehabilitation or reunification process.
Rehabilitation: I Care run three Khuthaza (encourage) rehab programmes each year. The 3 month Christian based programme is run over 3 months. We work with the children assisting them to overcome substance abuse, provide life skills training, HIV Aids education and counselling and many other relevant subjects. We have a rehabilitation facility with the capacity to take 20 boys per programme. The children are accommodated in this facility while they attend the programme and whilst there our aftercare team are assessing the home situation and preparing the family for reunification. Those boys that are unable to return home, for various reasons – (see pie chart), will be taken into one of the I Care family homes
Housing: I Care have 3 purpose-built houses in Lower Ilovo and a rented house in Boksburg, Jhb. Each house a family of 6 children and 2 house parents. We re-create a family unit for the children. They remain with I Care for a period of approximately 18 months while a long-term solution to their home situation is arranged.
Education Many street children have missed out on formal education and lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. I Care have registered a school to prepare children for going back into mainstream education. Others attend special needs schools while staying with us.
Skills Training I Care work with children until they progress into adulthood, and work to provide an avenue for their entry into an independent self-supporting lifestyle. This avenue often entails rehabilitation at an adult rehab centre and then placement within a company or on a formal skills training programme.