Ons Plek Projects For Female Street Children
Ons Plek Projects
“A place for us!” was the delighted response of Cape Town’s invisible street children, the girls, when Ons Plek Shelter opened for them in 1988. Before there was a shelter, girls had been on the streets for a period of 3 years. Help was was available for boys but not for girls! Street life was a deeply ingrained habit. Ons Plek is the only intake shelter for girls in Cape Town.
Counselling is provided in addition to the girls’ basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, education and love. The primary purpose of treatment is to stabilize behaviour to enable girls to participate, constructively, in society.
Once stabilized at Ons Plek, they graduate to Siviwe for the next phase of treatment.
Ukondla, meaning ‘to nourish’, focuses on preventative work. It reaches out to the children of Philippi who are at risk of dropping out of school or home. Ukondla provides family and individual counselling, homework, activities after school and during holidays. Since the inception of this project the number of street children from Philippi, becoming street children has reduced almost entirely.
What we do
Our programme is designed to empower girls to cope with life. While the girls adjust to
a structured environment, our professional staff investigate home circumstances.
For 70% there is a supervised return to their families who are helped to resolve their
difficulties. Of those who remain, 99% return to school.
The girls are empowered by instilling a sense of responsibility for themselves. Each
girl must participate in household duties, including all cooking and shopping for the
food. Household decisions and rules are made by girls and staff members together.
Over time the public and social workers brought girls, at risk of running away, to us before they became street children. From a yearly average of 100 girls on the streets it is now generally under 7 girls. The majority change their lives, return to school and never live on the streets.
But were we not here, a large proportion of these girls at risk of becoming street children would not receive the help they need to avoid living on the streets, compromising their safety.