Christ­mas Cheer for Ikhaya Lo­sizo clus­ter fos­ter homes

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS - STAFF REPORTER

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”.

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