This article first appeared in the 27 June 2022 edition of the Cape Argus newspaper.
Cape Town - Over 40 children, with the majority finding refuge at a safe home, were gifted the opportunity of flight.
The Plane Project,with Morningstar Flying Club and Gift of the Givers (GOTG) facilitated the individual flights of 45 children at Morningstar Airfield, on Sunday.
The Plane Project’s founding pilot, Kelly Slingers, said the initiative started last year when it flew 20 kids from the SOS Children’s Villages in Pretoria for the first time.
“We’ve got kids from Mitchells Plain, Kraaifontein and Manenberg, just to give them a different perspective, open up their world, how it was done for me. I met a pilot and went on a flight and it changed my life,” Slingers said.
Eleven pilots with 11 aircraft volunteered for the discovery flight for the children aged 12-18 years old, of which 80% were orphaned.
Little eyes widened as every aircraft took off, with occasional leaps while still on the ground. Afterwards, lunch was served by GOTG.
Vision Child and Youth Care administrator Ismail Hoosain said: “They are over the moon and above the clouds. You could see the smiles on their faces, in their eyes. It’s something that Vision needs in our community.
“This is exactly what we’re talking about when we say community support. May this be a new chapter in their lives. It gives them real insight and a view of reality itself.”
Vision is home for abused, abandoned, neglected and orphaned children, with 25 children in residence. The centre, soon to commemorate its 31 anniversary, also supports ex-residents.
Former Vision resident and Mountview resident Mishka Galiem, 18, said: “I feel happy, I’m excited. I’ve never been on a plane before.”
GOTG community liaison officer Emily Thomas Paulse said: “We as GOTG wanted to be part of not sending them home with a parcel or anything but sending them home with a lifetime memory.”
Cassidy Phillips, 17, said she did not think she would ever experience something like this.
“The view was incredible, it was something different. I felt free, it was just wonderful. I’ve got a different perspective of the occupation as well so that has changed my viewpoint on this,” said Phillips.