“No one can help everyone, but everyone can help somebody!”
It can be incredibly hard to drive through the South African streets and look out at the glaring poverty that gazes back at us each mile we travel. From run-down shacks tumbling onto busy highways, the social decay within once-bustling city streets, or simply a dejected young woman clutching a small child on a street corner in the mist and rain – it’s impossible to ignore.
While we don’t purport to know or even understand the complex social and economic reasons that lead to these sad images, we do know that an unhealthy percentage of adults in South Africa carry with them a traumatic past. Physical and emotional abuse, neglect, illness, and promiscuity, alongside drug and alcohol addictions, laid the foundation for an entire generation of children who didn’t know better and continued the cycle of poor decisions. The sad fact is that it’s not getting any better, and today’s wave of children faces the same desperate situation.
There Is Hope
The charity team at Kaomi Marketing was enthralled by the fascinating and moving story of The New Jerusalem Children’s Home based in Midrand, Gauteng.
This extraordinary ray of hope was founded by Advocate Anna Mojapelo, a businesswoman and community developer, and her sister Phina Mojapelo, a social worker with vast experience in working with children, youth, and HIV/AIDS.
Their focus is on helping children of all ages who are living in homes where alcoholism, drug abuse, and other tragic behaviors are leading them directly into a life of delinquency. In some cases, the children have been left entirely by their parents, or they have been orphaned due to illness or accident. Whatever the situation, the children are at risk but have – quite literally – no way out.
Adv. Mojapelo knows the likely trajectory of these children’s lives. Her previous role entailed the prosecution of this exact demographic, sending them off to juvenile detention centres or jail once they started on their inevitable life of crime. However, there came a time when she realized that this was not her calling and Adv. Mojapelo turned her back on the legal profession to establish a safe space for these at-risk children. Her aim was to work with these children to offer them the help they desperately needed before they entered the underbelly of society.
The New Jerusalem Children’s Home
The New Jerusalem Children’s Home was set up in 2000 with a small yet dedicated team. It took another 7 years before they received aid from the Social Development Fund, which provided welcome financial assistance. During this time, Anna and her team relied heavily on the local community and various churches that graciously offered food, clothing, and other necessities to support the growing group of vulnerable children.
From a humble family home, the NJCH grew to include separate residences for the boys and girls, a preschool, and several classrooms. It is now a bustling home for 120 children, from babies to late teens. These children come from challenging backgrounds, and without the opportunity to learn and grow in such a wonderfully supportive environment, their lives would follow the same dark path as millions of their peers.
As we walked through The New Jerusalem Children’s Home, we were particularly impressed with the clean, well-maintained buildings and the incredible organization it takes to create and manage a home, a school, and a kitchen for 120 vulnerable children. Add to this the undeniable need for emotional and psychological support and the ongoing requirement for funds, food, and practical items – it’s an enormous undertaking!
Anna and Phina manage all of this with their 35-strong team of social workers, caregivers, administrative staff, cleaners, gardeners, and drivers. They genuinely have proved themselves a force for good!
How Can We Help?
Our charity team partnered with the Good Morning Angels team at Jacaranda FM to shine a spotlight on The NJCH with the goal of assisting financially. The Kaomi team raised R40,000 towards this worthy cause, which we were delighted to see matched (and exceeded) by Jacaranda FM, taking the overall contribution to R100,000! Anna was thrilled and so grateful for the assistance – but really – it’s we who should be thanking her and Phina for their unselfish care for some of South Africa’s forgotten children.
When pressed, Anna confirmed that they can always use a helping hand in the form of food and groceries, clothing, bedding, and other day-to-day necessities. They are working hard to furnish their classrooms, too, with desks, chairs, and other furniture to make them more comfortable for their young learners.
We appreciate that supporting 120 children is a drop in the ocean when we consider how many young lives are at risk in South Africa, but we are also acutely aware that while we can’t help everyone – we can help somebody!