By Nompilo Mncube
Child Welfare is raising funds to build an additional multipurpose community hall at the Joza Community Centre.
Walter Ekseen, who is behind the initiative will raise funds using Indiegogo, an internet-based crowdsourcing website. Funds will also be raised at a Gala dinner which will take place on 4 October at Lillian Strong Hall DSG.
The community hall will consist of a kitchen and three additional preschool classes. It will be located alongside the Ikhaya Losizo foster homes and the Nompumelelo Preschool, on the Joza property.
Director of Child Welfare Grahamstown, Woineshet Bischoff, said building a community hall is part of a five-year plan. This included the three foster homes, satellite office, preschool and, finally, a community hall.
“When we have the community hall we will have what we called at one stage a ‘complete safety zone’; an area where children are really protected,” said Bischoff.
The hall’s purpose is to provide a secure venue for the greater community of Grahamstown where engagement and training programmes will take place. Some of these programmes will include mathematics literacy, reading, computer literacy, sewing, parental skills training and awareness programmes. The building will also be used for indoor sports.
The first Ikhaya Losizo home was built in 2007 with money raised by Rhodes University students and was fully occupied in 2009. The building of the two additional homes was funded by The National Lottery Distribution Fund.
Currently two foster houses are used to house 12 children. Each home has six foster children and one foster mother. Child Welfare provides training and comfortable accommodation for the foster mothers.
“We offer a lot of support to the foster mothers. We have weekly meetings and each foster mother has their own file with all the children’s details where, they record little notes of important things that happen in the child’s life,” said Angela Hibbert the Joza Community Centre manager.
Nompumelelo Preschool, also located on the Joza Community Centre site, provides schooling for children under the age of five from the community.
“The hall will create a sense of community involvement because it will provide parental enrichment. When it’s raining it will be a place where children can also do indoor activities.”
Child Welfare Grahamstown invites the community to attend a fundraising Gala dinner at Lillian Strong Hall DSG on 4 October at 18h30. It will cost R200 per person or R2000 per table of 10 which will include a three course meal, entertainment and drinks.