Published: June 28th 2012June 16th 2012
I first met with the manager of Othandweni Orphanage in Soweto. We took a back road through the townships of Soweto to get to the orphanage. Approximately, 1.3 million people live in Soweto – most being black. It seemed as the farther we drove away from Joburg, the worse the townships got. After getting lost and calling Phineas twice for directions, I saw the familiar sign on Othandweni Orphanage. Othandweni in Zulu means “Place of Love” and is part of the City of Joburg Welfare Society. I stepped out of the car and saw the same buildings I had seen two years ago. From what I could see not much had changed. In the administration building, I peaked my head into Phineas’ office and just as I had expected, saw a friendly face smiling at me.
At the orphanage they have started a “Granny Program” that is funded by the government. 10 grannies take care of the 20 toddler children (ages 0-5). They make sure the children’s motor and communication skills are developing correctly. Moreover, they offer the children the essentials of human care, empathy, and love.
Phineas also talked about some of his concerns about the
orphanage. His main concern was making sure that once the children left Othandweni, they would be successful. He talked about their newly created IPL (Independent Learning Project) Program. This is essentially a support system for those children who have no family members or relatives outside of Othandweni. Because Othandweni is partly funded by the government, they cannot support any child over the age of 18. This program gives young adults a network of resources to be successful adults. It includes creating a mentor system with Othandweni graduates that will help them find places to stay, work and do well in further studies.
Although it varies from day to day, my schedule goes as follows:
9:00-11:00 am: Work on children’s motor and social development skills. Through the Granny Program toddler’s do activities (drawing, coloring, reading).
11:00-12:00: Play time outside
12:00-1:15: Feed 40 children and put them to bed for nap time
1:30-3:30: Work in administrative office (teach staff how to use Microsoft Office and computers, typing, answering calls, planning events, writing proposals for funding, etc.)
3:30-4:30: Play sports and games with older children returning from school and help with homework.
Typed a 43 page document of Othandweni’s Official Guide/Documentation Book
2. Learned how to successfully feed a crying baby while creating a minimal mess
3. Implemented a “Health Awareness” system to prevent the kids from catching colds and diseases
4. Planned “Fun Day” Fundraiser Event to raise money for the IPL Program
5. Spent hours playing with marbles and bricks
6. Found numerous mentors who are satisfied and happy: they do the best they can with what they are given
There are more photos below