iKhaya le themba

High up in Hout Bay against a backdrop of some of the worst settlement areas in aIkayatitlecaption township called Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, South Africa, lies an oasis called iKhaya le themba (Home of Hope). IkayawallpaintiKhaya le themba is an after-school activity-based organisation for 90 children, aged 6-12, all coming from Imizamo Yethu and organised by its go-ahead leader, Nicky Lloyd.  It is well worth a visit, if not only for its inspirational message but for its remarkable exhibition of what can really be achieved to help those less privileged by making them feel special. iKhaya le themba keeps little hands busy and little brains focused after school hours with games, exercises, skills teaching and sport.  The drive through the acres of poverty of the neighbouring area and the arrival at this oasis in the middle of Imizamo Yethu is quite shattering.  It’s difficult to feel earthbound. IkayafacepaintChildren enrol in the programmes offered by iKhaya le themba after an interview with their parents/carers and priority is given to children whose families are vulnerable, especially to those families and children affected by HIV/AIDS and to children who have special learning needs. Nicky and her team of paid teachers work closely with their neighbouring nursery school Ikayayoungcrowdaround the corner – Little Lambs, also supported by Rotary Club of Hout Bay.  iKhaya le themba is a most professional and effective undertaking and aside from all the “in house” activities, the objective is now to start taking the children on tours in the Cape Town area to widen their knowledge and create more interests in young minds. IkayabraaiRotarians who visited on World Aids Day were quite overcome by the spirit and happiness that exuded from the hundreds of children and youngsters who attended, invited carefully from the schools and homes nearby so that it wasn’t a mad rush for food which was served from two or three braais running the whole time. There was wall painting, gum boot dancing, school choir singing, pop singers and of Ikayagumbootscourse a central theme coming through, all the time, about AIDS and the fact that “your life is in your hands to make the right decisions about partnering and protection as you make your way through life”, a  message which the new generation is learning to accept.

Ashley Newley

Ashley Newley

Fancy being told as school children, in the form of a play, that it’s wise to get tested and use a condom when it matters and also getting a lecture that to get AIDS is not a death sentence.  Yet that is the reality of what is happening and all are grateful to Ashley Newell, our new Volunteer Rotarian in Rotary Club of Hout Bay for working so closely with Nicky Lloyd at the school. The happiness and togetherness, the singing and the rapport amongst all the Ikayasingerschildren from different homes, schools and backgrounds was incredible to experience and very moving.  We can happily report to our Australian co-sponsors, Rotary Club of Coolamon, that a wonderful thing happened in Imizamo Yethu on World Aids Day and I hope Rotarians are proud of what was, with other sponsors, made possible. RFFA Logo smallThe pictures taken do not do justice to the moving and wonderful experience and the great work being done every day at iKhaya le themba and the way the message of World AIDS Day was conveyed to the children in this little corner of Africa. Patrick McLaughlin

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