Cape Town - Margaret’s House is a registered non-profit residential centre in Lansdowne.
Established in 1987 by five Anglican churches, the property was left by a church member called Margaret who stated in her last will and testament that her home was to be left for streetchildren from the area.
The home accommodates 17 boys between the ages of seven to 18, who are referred by the children’s court, and who are in need of care and protection outside the family environment.
Day six of the 16 Days for Youth campaign has once again demonstrated how many organisations are suffering financially and simply can’t rely on government grants alone.
Although Margaret’s House has a 99-year lease agreement, the maintenance and upkeep is the responsibility of the administrators.
The subsidy is nowhere near enough to cover all the monthly expenses, which are often carried by the staff and neighbours. The house is derelict. Seventeen boys share four rooms, and the interior leaves much to be desired.
But despite their living conditions, the house is a home. The boys are loved and cared for by the house parents, Frank and Melanie Harris.
The Harrises have been social workers for more than a decade and have been at Margaret’s House for about four years.
The couple were overwhelmed by the support from Heart FM and its listeners yesterday as donations flooded in.
Businesses and individuals streamed in with support. Groceries were dropped off and clothes were brought to the house. One listener dropped off a large bag of new shoes, and donated the shoes he was wearing, walking away barefoot.
An upholstery team came to the house and reupholstered the couches. Painters, tilers, builders and members of the public stopped at the house to offer to give it a mini-renovation.
A stunned Melanie shared her shock at the generosity of the listeners.
“We had no idea how much of a difference today was going to make. We are shocked by the massive support from listeners and local businesses that have given generously of their time, money and services. I can’t wait to see the faces of the boys when they come home to this,” said Melanie.
The programmes offered at the home focus on developmental and therapeutic life-skills at least five days a week, where volunteers spend time on, among others, homework, Bible studies and mentorship programmes. At the weekends, the boys play soccer and baseball for local clubs.
In partnership with 16 Days for Youth, Baron’s Cape Town and McDonald’s Western Cape are drop-off points for donations of non-perishable food items until June 16.