Mathabatha Bushbuckridge Qwaqwa
Mangweni Matatiele Mpumaze Ermelo Lenyenye
At present, Children of the Dawn cares for 852 children aged 5 to 22 in eight rural communities: Mathabatha and Lenyenye located in the Limpopo Province, Bushbuckridge, Mangweni and Ermelo situated in Mpumalanga, Qwaqwa in the Free State Province, Mpumaze in Kwazulu-Natal, and Matatiele in the Eastern Cape. The sponsorship programme is run on the ground by eight dedicated teams. 80% of the sponsored children are orphans or living with a HIV- positive parent.
Children of the Dawn strives to take a holistic approach in supporting orphans and vulnerable children within their own communities. In effect, Children of the Dawn looks at fulfilling the whole spectrum of children’s needs: education, nutrition, health, safety, moral and psychological issues, life skills, maintaining of family units, community integration, integration in the wider community… and having fun. Children of the Dawn encourages communities to take initiative and responsibility for answering children’s needs.
At the heart of Children of the Dawn’s model lie the aftercare centres or drop-in centres. Through its partners in the eight communities, Children of the Dawn presently operates twenty-five of these semi-formal day centres, which welcome the sponsored children several times a week. When at the centre, children are fed, helped with their homework, educated in life skills, hygiene and health issues, as well as given moral and emotional support.
Aside from the aftercare centres, network support teams have been created around each child. These informal support entities comprised of extended families, neighbours, teachers, social workers, and small businesses are meant to integrate and keep the orphans or vulnerable children within their community.
At Children of the Dawn, we believe in community responses to the challenge of orphaned and vulnerable children. We, South African rural communities, believe we have the will, the power and the love to raise a generation of saved children!