Christmas Cheer for Ikhaya Losizo cluster foster homes
It’s that time of year again and, as always, Grocott’s Mail is focusing on raising money to make a difference in the community.
So, here’s the official announcement – the 2015 Grocott’s Christmas Cheer Fund will go towards helping the Ikhaya Losizo Cluster Foster Home Scheme continue its amazing work.
Situated by the post office in Joza, the three houses that make up the Scheme – which is part of Grahamstown Child Welfare – provide a safe and loving environment for up to 18 vulnerable children between the ages of 2 and 18.
Each house is run by a caring and dedicated foster parent – overseen by centre coordinator, Angela Hibbert.
The emphasis is on seeing each child as an individual, drawing up specific care plans and holding regular meetings with schools, social workers and psychologists if necessary.
The aim is to equip each child with everything they need for a happy, confident and productive life – despite their difficult start. There is, of course, always a desperate need for funds.
Angela Hibbert, herself a child care worker, acts as a mentor to the foster mothers.
“We work alongside the mothers to support them – but they are the mothers in the home,” Hibbert says. “We try to keep that as natural and normal as possible.
“What Ikhaya Losizo also has going for it is that it’s overseen and suppported by Grahamstown Child Welfare. With their support, we address the children’s needs while they're there.
“This is an environment that helps nurture happy and healthy individuals, whose needs are met holistically.
Hibbert explained the “cottage system”.
“We have moved away from a hostel-type environment to a cottage system, where there’s a mom and a few children. Ikhaya Losizo offers a normal family environment instead of an institutional one.
“It’s so important for a child to be part of a family.”
At weekly care meetings, professionals look at the needs and issues of individual chil- dren, as well as the care needs of the carers themselves.
The children attend various local schools – including the Nompulelelo Pre School (which is also run by Child Welfare), Ntaba Maria Primary School and Kuyasa Special School.
To give them an even better educational foundation, Ikhaya Losizo also has its own enrichment programmes – with a particular focus on literacy and numeracy.
There’s a Fun with Maths club and a weekly Nal’ibali Reading Club. There’s also the ‘Children helping Children’ programme, which sees pupils from schools around Grahamstown spending time reading to and teaching the Ikhaya Losizo little ones as well as helping to take them on outings and organising birthday parties – which is a huge help to the scheme.
“The more volunteers we have, the more individual attention each child gets which makes an enormous difference to their progress”, says Hibbert. “It makes them feel special”.