“Ubuntu” – a word that at Mandela’s Memorial Service held on 10 December 2013, United States President Barack Obama spoke about, saying, "There is a word in South Africa that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.”
As chairman of the Kids Haven Board, it concerns me that children in South Africa face stressful, traumatic and violent situations every day which are having a profound impact on their very capacity to think and behave in a way that threatens their own humanity. It concerns me that so many of South Africa’s children don’t know what kindness is, have not received it and therefore cannot show it to others. What are we doing to our children?
But I am pleased that here at Kids Haven, we witness children receiving tangible help through a place which visibly demonstrates LOVE, SUPPORT and HOPE. Initially, we see children demonstrating their anxiety through wild and chaotic behaviour, without forethought and conscious connection to the impact their actions have on others. They reflect the neglect and abuse that they have experienced in their young lives. But over time, through consistent and committed programme delivery, we see children beginning to feel secure in their environment and in themselves. We witness children beginning to throw off anti-social behaviour and begin to conform – taking on suitable behaviours that allow inclusion into school and community life again. Most importantly, we see children gaining a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose for their lives.
Kids Haven is only able to witness this change (sometimes slowly for some children) because of the interconnectedness of the broader community in the activities of Kids Haven. We receive incredible support from individuals, Companies and Trusts who value the significant input that Kids Haven is delivering to many of the most marginalized children in our society. It is this active citizenry that enables Kids Haven to close the gaps and fill in the missing pieces in each life to contribute to a whole and healthy child with a future.
Kids Haven appreciates the backing of our local Department of Social Development who provides funding but also moral support for this Organization. Thank you to every individual who drops off a bag of clothing or a hamper of tinned food. We realize that there is a part for everyone to play in supporting this Organization and that, like the body, we would not manage without the head, the hand or the foot, to meet all our needs.
On a very specific note, I would like to record the Board’s appreciation for the Management team at Kids Haven, led by Moira Simpson who continues to demonstrate the same care and commitment that she has continually delivered to children in need since 1992. I would like to commend Terri Heatlie for her unwavering dedication to the children living at Kids Haven and to Sam Mokgopha for his attention to the needs of the children in our community, ensuring that the values of Kids Haven extend beyond these doors. Kids Haven would be nothing without all of the Staff who work so hard to be the hands and feet and HEART of this Organization. I would like to thank everyone for making this world a better place for our children.
I would also like to thank Mrs. Neli Manzi for her years of dedicated leadership as Chairperson of the Board of Management, Mrs. Maya Keel as Treasurer, and the other Board members for their ongoing loyalty and commitment to the Organization. Your commitment and dedication are appreciated.
We look forward to sustaining our services to children in need and the community at large by remaining committed to the “oneness of our humanity” and using every moment, every Rand, and every donated resource to care for the children living at Kids Haven and contributing to life change.