Reach out

Johann Kikillus, Ocean View

Following the response from the City of Cape Town over the past few weeks, I have to admit that OceanView Care Centre has lost the battle.

It has become clear to me that we are taking a huge risk running New Life Kids Centre on a venue that does not meet their strict norms and standards.

Should something go wrong, our tiny organisation would not be able to survive.

I will continue to take that risk for the month of November, but from the beginning of 2019, the responsibility of looking after our most vulnerable children will be on the City of Cape Town.

Ideally a church or NGO in Ocean View can take over with the daily feeding, counselling and school preparation.

Our role in January 2019 will be to gather up as many 3 to 5 year olds as we can find in Ocean View, do an initial assessment and then hand them over to the new caregivers.

We will also be able to assist with any other support necessary.

What has become clear over the past eight years is that the effects of poverty, violence and drugs in Ocean View have taken their toll on very young children.

If they are not given a safety net in their early childhood, they risk the very real chance
of falling behind by Grade 1.

Every effort has to be taken to prevent this. Bear in mind that their families are not able to pay for this service. What we have learned over the past four years of running New Life Kids Centre is that the broader valley population want to assist.

We have been donated tons of food and clothes over the past few years to feed the 200 children who came to us.

Stationery, toys and equipment were provided. The whole exercise cost our organisation very little money in the greater scheme of things.

I wish to encourage the people of the valley to continue to reach out across the difference communities.

It is not government that will fix society’s injustices, it is civil society. I also want to ask people from Masiphumelele, Red Hill and Vrygrond to also gather up their most vulnerable children.

It would be helpful to get a clearer picture of how poverty is affecting the far south so that we can plan accordingly.