Staff and pupils from the Eluxolweni Child and Youth Centre took soup and bread to people at the municipal landfill site as a Mandela Day mission.
Eluxolweni helps children who are experiencing problems with their families at home. Some have lost their parents or have been abused. A social worker asses each child, and accompanies them to court until a decision is made as to if the child will return home or come to live at Eluxolweni. Eluxolweni assists young boys from the age of eight until 18.
“There are also some children here [at the landfill]who used to be at our school, but when they are 18, by law, they must go somewhere else,” social worker Linda Mpiyane said. “It shows a gap: there are no services for them because they are no longer kids.”
She said she encouraged them not to lose hope. “They must pick themselves up from the dust.”
Volunteer manager of Eluxolweni Jane Bradshaw said, “I am so glad to see my boys coming up to help other children. It is community work for them, as well as awareness raising for them. It is they who are now giving to others – not them who are in the tip.”
Bradshaw, who was principal of the Amasango Career School for 25 years, knew most of the children at the landfill. Most of the children living at Eluxolweni attend Amasango.
“The staff thought of doing something for Mandela Day. We decided to come here and give them soup and bread and fruit. We tell them that we love them.”
Their visit was on Thursday 27 July.
“Everyone has to make a change in the community,” Mpiyane said. “We are giving food to the people at the dumpsite to show them there are those who thought about them. We brought our boys from the centre to give back to others. They are here to say to these kids that there is still a chance in life and they must not give up.”
The staff of Eluxolweni Centre continue to assist young children, capturing the spirit of Mandela Day all year long. For more information, or volunteer inquiries please contact Jane Bradshaw at 046 622 2537.