In 2015 Botshabelo celebrated its 15th birthday and the fruit of those 15 years of blessing from God, generosity of donors and support from our community. A place to run to for abandoned and orphaned children, a place of education for pre schoolers and a place of training for Early Childhood Practitioners – that is the heart of what we do.
Generous justice is our heart and adding value to our city is our goal!
During the last year we have cared for 26 children with 13 new admissions during the year. 11 adoptions took place, 1 reunited with family and 1 child placed in foster care. We currently have 12 babies in our home of which 8 are under 1 year old.
Our children are not just numbers or statistics, but they are cared for in a great home environment by a team of dedicated caregivers who know the individual needs and personalities of every child. These ladies are modern day heroes!!
We noticed that there were some delays in our children’s milestones, as is consistent with children in babies homes. It’s an accepted and expected statistic that these children will be 3 months developmentally delayed. We decided that we wanted to prevent this. We chose one caregiver to train and uplift with a new role and the sole purpose to ensure that our children meet their milestones as they grow – and to address any shortfalls in any child. Priscilla is a consistent presence in our home for when our children come back from school, helping with extra homework, uniforms and so forth. Her greatest job is to lavish extra love and attention on our children every day. It is definitely working. Priscilla works Monday to Friday, full day that provides consistency for the kids.
She spends time with each child individually doing age appropriate stimulation activities for that child. In this way, she can keep track of the progress of each child so that delays are detected early and treated promptly. She has received some training from the Occupational Therapists at Thusanani Children’s Foundation where our children go for medical check ups and therapy and she then puts that into practice on a daily basis. We evaluate each child monthly to monitor their growth and development and to discuss problems or progress. We have noticed a huge difference in doing this and the OT’s at Thusanani have been impressed at what a difference it’s made. They have, in fact, asked if Priscilla can share what she does in video format which they will share at a conference and are hoping that other homes will consider doing what we have done. Our Babies Home is like a whole new world… as the intentional time spent loving and stimulating the children has resulted in happier, flourishing children.
Our goal is to have every child adopted into a healthy and caring family and that they grow up to be responsible and contributing members of society.
When it comes to the Babies Home, salaries are the most difficult area to raise funds for and yet we cannot function without our admin staff and caregivers. We can have thousands of nappies (and we need them, we use up to 26 000 nappies a year!!) but if we don’t have the hands to change them, we have nothing!
Urban Kids is another one of our projects that is the result of dedication, hard work and commitment. Tonight we are going to be celebrating with them.
At Urban Kids we aim to provide a good quality early education program and a formal Grade R curriculum, thus ensuring the skills necessary to establish a good foundation of further learning that will positively impact their school careers.
As we have been operating for 4 years, we are now in a place where we can see the results of an Urban Kids education as the children have gone on into primary school and the feedback we often get is that ‘my child is ahead in his or her reading level, mathematics, etc.
During this year we had 75 children in the school of which 20 graduated from Grade R. WE have now grown to 94 children in 5 classrooms as of January this year – it’s a busy place! We aim to open our 6th and final classroom as of January 2016, going up to just over 100 children!
As far as staff is concerned at Urban Kids, in 2014, we had 5 teachers and 1 class assistant. In 2015 we have 6 teachers and 1 class assistant / trainee.
Our greatest need is continued sponsorships to support families who cannot afford even our reduced fees.
School in a Box:
Our fledgling project: School in a Box aims to establish low-cost, insulated and fully equipped classrooms and/or whole preschools in impoverished communities (complete with trained teachers, curriculum, policies, daily planning and general admin). The long-term goal is to establish these preschools in as many municipalities of South Africa as we can. This will mean better-resourced preschools for poor communities, higher standards of teaching and a better foundational education for the next generation of this nation.
At the moment, the project is running in its developmental stages and we are currently building prototype classrooms at Urban Kids to establish the best way forward with School in a Box. These classrooms will benefit up to 40 children at Urban Kids but ultimately, many more, as we will be able to replicate these classrooms as part of the School in a Box project.
Our hopes and dreams for School in a Box are vast and daunting, but we believe that together with our community, donors and a whole lot of passion, we will see these dreams come to pass.
Our teachers training project got a name this year – ‘UpliftED’. It is a growing project with huge benefits into Olievenhoutbosch. In 2014 16 teachers from 16 existing crèches were trained in Early Childhood Development skills and given R8000 worth of equipment each to use in their schools.
In January 2015 we adapted the program to training in Olieven and monitoring and evaluating the schools on a weekly basis. We have been working with 16 preschools and 17 teachers, thus impacting around 380 children.
The most wonderful aspect of this training program is the upliftment of women. As we see them development as teachers, gain confidence as professionals and hold their heads up high, the impact on the children is phenomenal. We see happy children learning something new every day.
There is a great opportunity for funders to get involved in our preschool facilities by upgrading the centers. These are all small, black owned businesses.
We have a steady stream of local and international volunteers. They come from nations such as Germany, USA, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
These volunteers come to serve at their own cost in our projects. School upgrades are also an area where volunteers come to serve.
These volunteers are vital to the success of what we do.
Botshabelo again had a year where we have experienced the generosity of our city and the people that support us.
The ongoing funding from the Department of Social Development is a great support but does not pay all the bills and so the support of our donors is key to us continuing in what we do.
We have no debts and our staff has been paid every month throughout the year and salary increases were given.
Events such as Mandela Day, carols and Market evening and the Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge ‘Ride for a Future’ campaign continue to bring in vital financial provision.
We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to our donors – those that have joined in this great adventure recently and those that have been long-standing partners of our exciting mission. There are too many donors to list individually tonight, but we hope that we can convey our gratitude to you, both companies and individuals, those that sponsor school fees, Adopt Cots in the Babies Home, give large grants and simply donate monthly – you enable us to continue caring and educating children!
Audited financial statements can be obtained from our offices.
As always, the committee members have been a great support and encouragement during the year. Their prayers, creativity and care is greatly appreciated.
Michelle Hinrichsen is leaving our board.
The board is being strengthened with the addition of the following people:
Melosi Baloyi, Candice Modiga and Vuyiswa.
We thank them for their availability.
Botshabelo would like to thank the elders of Urban Life Church for their prayers, support and vision. You set a great example of what Botshabelo represents.
We look forward to the future with great excitement. The stories of changed lives and impacted communities inspire us and keep us motivated. The joy on the faces of adoptive parents, a graduating preschool child and the confidence of trained teachers underlines our mission again – to add value to our city