Cape Town - The South African Children's Home (SACH) is celebrating its 214th birthday on Thursday, with a range of activities planned over three days.
Located in Gardens, Cape Town, the SACH was founded in 1808 and is considered the first welfare institution established in South Africa.
Originally known as the “Orphan House”, the home was situated in Long Street before relocating to Gardens in 1923.
Birthday celebrations will take place over three days (September 1, 2 and 4) starting with a Dress Up Day with prizes for the children, celebrations with donors and board members, and will finish off with the children preparing soup for 1 000 people, after having used some of their own pocket money for the ingredients.
SACH chairperson of the board Jalize Uys said SACH was a long-term place of safe care, as opposed to a temporary care facility, with a minimum stay of two years.
“All the children who are in the care of SACH have been found in need of care by the Children’s Court, as a result of neglect, abuse, or in rare cases, a child being orphaned. Children are not placed with the SACH due to deviant behaviour. They can all function independently – and attend (mainly) mainstream schools,” Uys said.
“Some children have family members or host parents that they can visit over weekends and holidays. However,
there are children who have no one to visit, and a handful who are not allowed to have parental/family contact,” Uys said.
The home has capacity for 44 children and is currently full. SACH also provides transitional support for those who are old enough to leave.
“There’s huge excitement anticipating this birthday and saving up some of their pocket money every two weeks has been a countdown of sorts for the children. Getting involved in a soup drive like this shows them that not only are there are other people in need, but also that they have the power to help out others. This helps them to de-stigmatise their experiences, roll up their sleeves and cheerfully give back,” Uys said.
Non-governmental organisation Beyond Feeding will assist in distributing the soup in 18 informal settlements in Philippi.
Beyond Feeding representative, Raeez Webber, said: “It is a privilege to have this opportunity to be in partnership with a like-minded organisation that has a deep caring for our youth and our future leaders.”
SACH operates on a budget of more than R6 million a year, and only 35% of this is government-funded. The home has therefore appealed to the public to make donations.
To donate, visit the SACH website or contact [email protected] for more details.