B. BACKGROUND OF THE ORGANISATION
Mama Mary Lwate initially started to look after children from her four roomed house in 1975 with her daughter being the sole sponsor, buying food supplies The Good Hope Community Organisation also known as Lotus Home for Children was started by Mama Mary Lwate in 1994 with only 18 children. They are now over 100 Orphans and Vulnerable children in the care of Mama and Good Hope Community Organization (GHCO).
The Taiwanese International Buddhist Compassion Relief Organisation (TZU-CHI Foundation) got to know about this project and they were very much impressed about Mary’s compassion. They purchased a bigger house in Lebanon, Winterveldt for her to continue with her work. The facility was used for accommodation, office and all other activities related to children’s home. To date, the relationship between the GHCO and TZU-CHI is still going strong.
The GHCO grew at an alarming rate, housing up to two hundred abandoned, abused, orphaned, disabled, misplaced foreign children and lost children (who are often reunited with their families through the help of the in-house Social Worker). The children are placed by the Children’s Court as children in need of care and protection pending investigations into their circumstances.
The shelter currently caters for over a hundred and thirty children from all over South Africa including those affected by xenophobia. The children are not permanent at the home as they move on when they grow older while others go to tertiary institutions; some find employment while others are reintegrated into families.
Also catered for are some destitute members of the community who come in daily for a meal as part of the organization’s poverty alleviation program making this facility a friend and home to many local people. A crèche is also available for the younger children while also community members can bring in their children at a lesser fee due to them being economically challenged.
The impact and growth of this organisation necessitated an application to register as a Non Profit Organisation (NPO) which was finally approved by the Department of Social Development in 2001. This assists in the professional management of the home as prescribed by the Children’s Act and the Non Profit Organisation Act.
GHCO extended its services beyond the community of Winterveldt. They also serve in Mabopane, Soshanguve, Klipgat and Pretoria area as a whole, including other South African provinces. It is however acknowledged that without the contribution of the volunteer workers, the success rate of the organisation would have been invisible while the community and business worked hard to keep the place going through their generous contributions.
C. INTRODUCTION AND GEOGRAPHICAL OVERVIEW
The Good Hope Community Organisation (GHCO) is a children’s home located in Lebanon, Winterveldt, Ward 14 in the north of Pretoria. Lebanon is part of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng Province but the area was once administered by the North West Province.
Like many South African communities, Winterveldt is also challenged by high incidences of unemployment, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, crime, broken down families and influx of foreign nationals, particularly from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
However, many other people do try to fight poverty by establishing their own small businesses and finding means to supplement their meager income. The GHCO plays a major role in addressing some of these social challenges in the community.
D. OUR MOTTO
“The little we have, we share”.
E. OUR VISION
To build a complex with different facilities to house children and workers, provide schooling, library, skills development and extra mural activities for the children and interested community members.
To form projects that will economically sustain the GHCO.
To be able to provide for all the children’s needs as required by the children’s bill of rights and the Constitution of South Africa.
To forge relations with other organizations with similar objectives as ours so as to learn and exchange what could be best practice methods so as to assist as many children as possible.
F. OUR MISSION
GHCO cares for underprivileged, orphans and homeless children through accommodating them and giving them a warm and safe environment needed by a growing child. As a community based organisation, GHCO has formed a strong bond with the community thereby making it a refuge for indigents through its Outreach Programmes, drop in center where meals are provided daily to the needy, skills development, HIV/AIDS referrals to professional bodies, home based care programs.