On what was a vacant piece of land 30 years ago, now stands a beacon of hope for thousands of residents in Khayelitsha.
Baphumelele Children’s Home will this week celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Its name means “you have progressed”.
The centre, which was started by managing director Rosie Mashale, a trained primary school teacher, has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and currently accommodates hundreds of abandoned and vulnerable children and adults.
Ms Mashale said upon her arrival in Khayelitsha, from the Eastern Cape, she witnessed social obstacles that were the result of poverty, substance abuse and a lack of education.
“However, the largest obstacle facing the Khayelitsha community, and most people from black townships, is the breakdown of families and the consequences thereof.
“Absent fathers, single parents, children and women abuse are most of the challenges faced by most households in the township, thus most children ended up in our care,” she said.
“When we started, it was a children’s home where kids were dropped by people and some found left on the doorstep.
“But due to pervasiveness of human trafficking and the protection of children by the laws stipulated specifically for them, like the Children’s Act, they are thus placed in the facility by the social workers through valid court orders,” she said.
Through hard work, determination, and the help of the community and friends, the centre has developed into a thriving community project.
It has expanded to offer more services, like an early childhood educare centre, children and adult respite care centre, Fountain of Hope for teenage kids, child-headed mentorship programme, a soup kitchen, bakery, and more.
Ms Mashale said there had been no social workers when the organisation started, but now there were registered child and youth care workers as well as the medical team on site rendering structured programmes “that speak to the needs of the broken children”.
Baphumelele’s celebrations will bring together the community of Khayelitsha, donors, and some of the children who grew up in the centre, who have made great strides towards improving their lives.
“The management of Baphumelele wants to extend its gratitude to all stakeholders that made the organisation a success.
“Also thanking the community and the surrounding areas for understanding the children raised at the facility and treating them as their own,” Ms Mashale said.
Khayelitsha Developemment Forum chairman, Ndithini Thyido, hailed Ms Mashale as a true patriot and a mother with a big heart.
“We congrutulate Rosie on this milestone, she is a courageous woman,” said Mr Thyido.