Birthdays and growing up go hand in hand. Like birthday cake and candles. For so many of us, a 'normal' birthday means a happy day when your parents help you celebrate another year: they organise a cake, candles, a visit from friends, singing, and a few presents. Of course, not all children are luck enough to grow up with their parents so their parties are not quite the same. When Jordan Thompson was planning her 10th birthday party she remembered that not all children can enjoy a normal party with their family. Jordan, in her generosity, had realised what so many of us forget: orphans often celebrate their birthdays in very tough circumstances. For them, the birthday parties we think of as just normal are a real treat and probably a pleasure they might enjoy just once or twice while growing up. Jordan had her own party coming up so she decided to share her 'normal' birthday party with other children, in this case, the children at Kids Haven.
On Sunday 29 September, Jordan held her party at a new venue: Cranbourne Avenue in Benoni. She ended up making a whole lot of new friends and inspiring others by her good example. The Thompson family arrived on Sunday morning to help set up the party. It was held in the large canteen/dining area so there would be plenty of space for everyone. To start the celebration, there were snacks and sweets, drinks and toys, and of course cupcakes and candles. Mr Thompson entertained a few of the children with some magic card tricks, while the rest of the crowd enjoyed face painting, playing and singing. At first, Jordan and her younger sister, Keira started the party with some of the younger children staying at Kids Haven -- mostly about the same age as Jordan. Later on, everyone joined in the fun and the place was filled with the normal happy sounds of a noisy kids party. By arranging her party at Kids Haven, Jordan and her family learned a whole lot about other kids normal lives, and they had the opportunity to share the happiness of her birthday celebration. By sharing, we learn more about how other children live and celebrate, and by doing that we learn to cherish our own families even more than we did before. September is the time when winter is past and the new growth of Spring is budding, but if you look at the photos of Jordan's party, you'll see the warmth and joy of summer can come in any season.
Kids Haven was founded in 1992 by Moira Simpson as a response to increasing numbers of children on the streets of Benoni in Ekurhuleni and the violent deaths of 2 street children.