Lethoteng Community Centre
In Clocolan on the border of Lesotho, farming is the main activity, with very little economic growth recorded in other sectors, unemployment is a big problem. Lethoteng Community Center helps better lives for children without birth certificates and that is living on the street due to several socio-economic factors.
Most of these children in the rural community on the border of the Free State and Lesotho have very little chance of education due to the lack of birth certificates issued to them. No birth certificate also means school admission is denied and children end up on the streets. Chances of a normal childhood and young adult development are very slim.
Marieta Groenewald, well-known farmer in the area saw the opportunity to create a better life for these kids by “creating unlikely networks to stimulate positive change” in the community. More than 100 kids in that small town have the need for basic learning. She makes use of local volunteers to help with educating these kids. She gets the farmers involved and once these kids are big enough to work, she places them out at farms. Art classes etc. are given. Because this is not a registered school due to lack of interest from government, every bit of exposure to the outside world is important for these kids.
Because these kids live on the streets of Clocolan, the one meal a day is sometimes their only meal. All the farming community is getting involved and giving food whenever they can contribute.
The connections formed here are very important for SA as firstly the street kids get a chance to interact with highly developed individuals, as well as the farming community realising that the only way to better SA is to give back of your time and resources.
An even greater opportunity is for students from Germany and all over the world that comes and visit and volunteer their time to educate and interact with the kids.
This learning centre has been going for 3 years and is making a very big difference to the community and Marieta is being praised for all her work with these kids. The emotional transformation of the children is amazing. Currently, we are using 6 volunteers – these are women from the community that does not have work. We give them basic training and they then facilitate the classes.
An educational therapist from Clocolan volunteers her time weekly to work with the volunteers and with the kids. We have farmers wives that volunteer their time to spend time with the kids. Art classes are given by volunteers from Clocolan.
The whole community tries to support the project. The local big businesses and farmers give maize and vegetables whenever the can.
We have students from Germany that sometimes come and volunteer their time and teach the kids about the world.It had such a positive effect on the community, that we are looking into expanding into other border towns like Ficksbrug. We had visits from various media including E-news that reported on the positive influence it had on the community. By getting farmers involved, we get to form a bond between these disadvantaged kids and the farmers.
It is, however, an ongoing struggle to get financial support and in order for us to give our volunteers working with the kids a basic salary as well as provide shoes and clothing for these homeless kids, we rely on the financial support of companies.
We deeply appreciate any volunteer or financial support to help us change South Africa One Child At A Time...
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