Why do we have them?
Traditionally, children are expected to perform household chores such as care for siblings, collect water, gather firewood, wash clothes etc.
The HIV / AIDS pandemic has meant that many children are being cared for by one parent, and ageing grandparent, a relative, neighbour or friend in an environment where the main caregiver is stretched and less able to provide care.
Often, but not always, children are left to fend for themselves, especially at times such as weekends, holidays and after school. We offer a safe place for them to play and simply be children.
We made the conscious decision to employ carers from the local community. Our carers know the children and are part of the community structure. They are mostly parents themselves and know the children personally. Moreover, they know if the children are missing and potentially up to mischief. They are then able to speak with caregivers, guardians or other key relatives to ensure the well-being of the child.
We are not trying to replace anything that the community does for itself. In fact we actively encourage the community to implement its own activities to ensure the well being of children. All we are doing is offering an alternative that can be used by the community and its children as they see fit.
What are they?
We have trained a group of the community as Sports leaders and/or HIV / AIDS Educators and Counsellors. They organise various activities for children after school each day and on Saturdays.
The children are free to use these facilities as they choose although there is a structured schedule in place that we have developed by working with the children.
The activities include some of the following, with some activities being more popular than others depending on the current interests of the children and the trends that they create and follow.
The carers work closely with the local school to complement their efforts. On some days, we get 10 kids coming, on others, it can be as many as 250. Equipment for the following activities has been donated from the UK and sent over in a shipping container. It has also been purchased from local contributions. We have tried to use examples of recycled materials wherever possible and have also tried to incorporate traditional activities, games and songs.
Activities include Pool; table tennis; films; music; table soccer, library, toys and games, trampoline, gym, assault course, drama, choir, netball, volleyball, arts & crafts and chess.