15 June 2017
More than sixty children in need of care are looked after at the Drop-In Centre on the exit road from Schoonplaas, the residential area adjacent to Pilgrim’s Rest. Ilina Maabane, who has done this work voluntarily for many years, drives the project.
The centre currently caters for 49 vulnerable children (those whose parents are out of work, who are abused or have special needs) and 15 orphans. The children are encouraged to come to the drop-in centre after school as well as all day during the school holidays. They get a simple meal, after which homework and various activities are supervised. “I try to keep them off the streets,” explained Maabane. “Through what I do and teach, I am hoping to prevent the children from begging in the village, thieving and getting involved in gangs, alcohol and drugs.” The centre also links with social services to assist the children where possible.
Maabane completed a certificate in home based care in 2005 and while working on this project became aware of the needs of the children, for example when a care-giver passed away. She completed a short course in Psychosocial Orphan and Vulnerable Child Care, after which she opened the Drop-In Centre.
The centre receives no subsidy and is totally dependent on donations. At the moment there is a dire need for basic ingredients for soup, especially non-perishables, such as dried beans. “I had to tell the children not to come today, as there was nothing to make food with,” Maabane told GPS News. The facilities are very limited and any donations of items which can create a more homely atmosphere for the children, such as furniture, toys and books would also be welcomed, as will children’s clothing. If you would like to make a donation you can call Ilina Maabane on 060-885-6778 or drop it off at the Iron Store, in Up Town, Pilgrim’s Rest.
Image: From left: Oorkant Matsone, Ilina Maabane and Dineo Kok in front of the Drop-In Centre.