As the name suggests, everything is about the kids; they are everywhere you look, you can hear their laughter and shouts, and you can feel the love for them when you walk into the building.
But Kids Haven would not be the haven that it is without the staff.
It can’t always be easy to work at Kids Haven. Goodness knows, it isn’t always easy to work anywhere, but the staff at Kids Haven face a very particular set of challenges with the work that they do. It is emotionally important, rewarding and challenging all at once. It is vital for the future of the children and the country. And it can be downright exhausting.
I am lucky enough to spend a day a month coaching staff members at KH.
What an honour it is to spend time with some of the staff, the people who make Kids Haven all about the children and never about themselves. No matter how hard a time they are having, personally or professionally, the staff members maintain a level of professionalism and presence at work which is truly inspiring. That level of dedication and commitment is hard to come by anywhere in the world, let alone in a large NGO that relies so heavily on donations and the goodwill of the public and the staff to survive.
The coaching isn’t compulsory but it is open to anyone and everyone who feels that they need a bit of space and support to reflect on their own challenges, struggles and triumphs. Whether they come for one session, or every month, it is remarkable to see how the coaching space helps my clients at Kids Haven to reconnect with themselves, to stand up straighter, and to feel more hopeful and productive.
It isn’t always easy or comfortable to find and spend a day at Kids Haven. I have a somewhat unpredictable diary, which makes finding a day a little tricky sometimes. I live in Johannesburg and it is a bit of a drive to get to Benoni. The room I work in is freezing – I arrive armed with a heavy coat and a portable heater in the winter months.
To be honest, there are times when, the night before a Kids Haven day, I think I must be a little crazy.
But no matter how bad the traffic has been, how tired and stressed I am when I arrive, or how cold it has been in the building, I always leave with a warm heart and a happy soul. Because that’s the kind of place that Kids Haven is – a place of warmth and love, of hope and ambition, of commitment and enthusiasm.
The Kids Haven staff do everything they can to make the place a haven for kids. And I am so happy that I can provide a haven for them – even just for a short while every now and then.