In the direction of hope | Homestead
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Helping get vulnerable children off the streets and into care, The Homestead is reuniting families and supporting returns to school.
Since 1982, The Homestead has been instrumental in reducing the number of children living and begging on the streets. Due to extreme family environments, these children either live in adverse and extreme realities — or end up living, begging, or working on the streets.
At its core is the belief that every child has a right to family and parental care. For those who don’t, The Homestead provides alternative care through two Child and Youth Care Centres — housing 65 young boys between 7 and 17 years.
In 2021, its shelter home had 24 children who were not enrolled in school; some had learning barriers and some faced education system delays. To help children catch up with schoolwork in preparation for 2022 (and teach those who had never been at school), The Homestead hired a retired teacher. And the results were amazing! Some children who could not recognise alphabets can now write their names for the first time, and over 50% of these homeschooled children are now enrolled in school.
And many parents who previously neglected their children are now willing to participate in training opportunities to engage constructively in the care of their children. Through its Drop-in Centre Prevention and Early Intervention programme, the local community and schools are now able to refer children in need of care and protection to The Homestead instead. Rather than falling out of school and moving into the street, these children are placed in alternative care — and often able to return home to their families with support.
Since opening its Launch Pad CYCC residential care centre in 2016, The Homestead has seen similar successes. By establishing youth out of care into independent living and employment, it has seen a drastic increase in the number of Khayelitsha shelter children motivated to stabilise and enter this project.
It’s also seen a sharp spike in the number of volunteer and community groups wanting to work in this programme, driving a stable development environment. At LaunchPad CYCC, young people take part in a variety of community work and social commitments, helping change their perspectives from passive recipients to active citizens who help give back to their community.