Seven months ago, 13 year old Sammy was on the verge of giving up on trying to improve her life and just join the group of rural children wandering around the town making trouble for the shop keepers and restaurants hoping to escape her difficult home circumstances.
“Farm” children are often bullied by “town” children because they appear to be different. Some of them might smell like smoke from their families cooking food on fires and because they have the smell of smoke in their clothes, the “town” children push them away. They also might not be properly dressed, lacking in shoes or other pieces of school clothing which makes them look different to the “town” children.
At this very difficult moment in Sammy’s life, the Youth Centre on Goedgedacht farm started bussing children in from the surrounding farms. This was a real turning point in her life! She felt accepted. She felt loved. She found herself in a happy place. She has a quiet space to do her homework, she receives a meal, has access to a computer, gets to take part in sports activities which she cannot do at school because of transport issues and most importantly she gets to have fun with friends. Life is once again a pleasure.
Sammy’s story is the story of many of our rural children and illustrates how important it is to keep this Youth Centre open and welcoming to children from farms.
We have reached a critical moment. We have been looking after 74 children at the Goedgedacht Centre and running activities that were not part of our budget for this year. This has left us in a tricky position. It costs us R22 000 a month to take care of the children – R14 000 for transport and R8000 for food. This comes to only R15 per day, per child.
We are able to cover the salaries and overheads from existing funds. We only need support for the food and the bus to fetch and take the children home.
It’s working so well that we would hate to cancel it and put these children back on the street. We have a special holiday programme planned for December and January to keep our children safe over the holiday period and prepare them for the new school year starting in 2019.
The Goedgedacht Trust, POP Centre Manager