Visit to the Johanesburg Children’s Home

There’s something interesting Jodene said at our latest #JoziMeetup. She says the really cool thing about blogging is that it has opened doors of opportunities for her.

So, by a series of fortunate events, I visited an orphanage on Saturday. Actually I went to a Netflorist event last year (where I learnt to style a rocking bouquet of flowers) and was introduced to the Johannesburg Children’s Home. Media at the event were matched up with various kids (who we chose) to sponsor them a cake on their birthday. So I chose Sibusiso in September, as my husband, father and sister all have birthdays in this month.

 

 

 

 

 

Nicky chose the cake. He has a thing for Oreo biscuits at the moment and he liked the “Cookies and Cream” cake. (I bet you didn’t know Netflorist did cakes. Neither did I.)

We also went through some of his toys to give some away. The bigger ones he doesn’t play with anymore. And a tricycle. Plus a Lego lookalike which isn’t really Lego. 

So we drove there and as it turns out they have a system when you bring stuff in. You have to fill in a form and it goes to the office. Probably a good idea so that it all gets equally distributed. 

We then went in search of Sibusiso. And we found him. And a little friend called Banele.  Sibusiso was turning seven the next day. We spent a while playing with them. 

They have a stunning playground there with lots of jungle gyms to play on. Nicky had fun with his new friends.

 

I could see how the kids took pride in showing Nicky around. Nicky has a current fascination for upstairs homes and was entranced to see that they have this setup. So up we went to see their room and he looked out of the window in wonder. A lovely leafy view and also of the swimming pool. 

As much as they have a lovely environment to live in, there were signs that this was an orphanage. Sibusiso definitely wanted hugs and my heart ached for him and the situation. The rooms were neat and tidy but definitely sparse. I did notice books though and they showed Nicky their Ben Ten book very excitedly, also wanting to do some moves. 

I came home to all the clutter of toys and was reminded about what was important. The love we have in our family. The fact that Nicky has a mom and a dad. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have so very much to be so grateful about and I want to thank Netflorist and JHB Children’s Home for giving us this opportunity to make a difference.

(Check out our Spring gardening tips and win a daffodil with Netflorist in our current competition)

If you’d like to know more about the home and how to assist you can visit their website.  

You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. 

Support Kids Who Don’t Have Toys

topsy-support-kids-who-dont-have-toysOn Wednesdays we normally have a product review and/ or giveaway, but today we’re having a post about giving back.

I feel somewhat embarrassed about the plethora of toys that overrun our home. I have lost count of the cars. I have tried to organise them into boxes (small cars & big cars) and to separate the construction set from the train set. We recently got a new train set and now he has two.

topsy-matchboxThere are many kids in this country who don’t have the luxury of any toys at all and, being kids, make do  with what they have. They use real objects. Instead of a car, they would use a box.

Topsy Turvy is a project where you can support these kids by “buying” their makeshift toys – actually a donation so that they can get the real toys they need.

The Topsy Foundation is a registered Non-Profit Organisation which provides relief to South Africa’s most under developed rural communities, particularly those in Mpumalanga. Their mission is particularly to empower communities and children affected by AIDS.

Topsy’s name was inspired by a book. “Topsy” was the name of a character in a book written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852 called Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

As an uncivilized slave girl orphaned during her infancy, the character ‘Topsy’ has no recollection of her parents, nor has she undergone any formal education.

The character of Topsy in Uncle Tom’s Cabin has much in common with many of South Africa’s Aids orphans, who often grow up not having known their parents and without any form of love, nurturing or security.

Here is an extract from the book:

“How old are you, Topsy?”

“Dun no, Missis,” said the image, with a grin that showed all her teeth.

“Don’t know how old you are? Didn’t anybody ever tell you? Who was your mother?”

“Never had none!” said the child, with another grin.

“Never had any mother? What do you mean? Where were you born?”

“Never was born!” persisted Topsy, with another grin, that looked so goblin-like, that, if Miss Ophelia had been at all nervous, she might have fancied that she had got hold of some sooty gnome from the land of Diablerie; but Miss Ophelia was not nervous, but plain and business-like, and she said, with some sternness,

“You mustn’t answer me in that way, child; I’m not playing with you. Tell me where you were born, and who your father and mother were.”

“Never was born,” reiterated the creature, more emphatically; “never had no father nor mother, nor nothin’. I was raised by a speculator, with lots of others. Old Aunt Sue used to take car on us.”

The child was evidently sincere, and Jane, breaking into a short laugh, said,

“Laws, Missis, there’s heaps of ’em. Speculators buys ’em up cheap, when they’s little, and gets ’em raised for market.”

“How long have you lived with your master and mistress?”

“Dun no, Missis.”

“Is it a year, or more, or less?”

“Dun no, Missis.”

“Laws, Missis, those low negroes,–they can’t tell; they don’t know anything about time,” said Jane; “they don’t know what a year is; they don’t know their own ages.

“Have you ever heard anything about God, Topsy?”

The child looked bewildered, but grinned as usual.

“Do you know who made you?”

“Nobody, as I knows on,” said the child, with a short laugh.

The idea appeared to amuse her considerably; for her eyes twinkled, and she added,

“I spect I grow’d. Don’t think nobody never made me.”

***

Here is a success story:

topsy-trainThis little boy never ever communicates or shows any emotion during my visits, no matter how hard I have tried in the past. But look at the picture, he was so excited and when all the funny sounds came from the toy train he was over the moon. I wish I could have shared this moment with everyone. For the first time he smiled and made funny faces himself! It has made such a difference!

By Heleen Venter: Topsy Social Worker

If you’d like to contribute to the work Topsy is doing go here to Spree and support them.