Children of the Heidedal Aftercare Centre were in for a treat when the Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, visited their vegetable garden today. The centre, run by Child Welfare, has started a garden with the assistance of the department in order to enrich the lives of local youngsters.
According to the Deputy Minister, the centre helps the most vulnerable in society by occupying their time with constructive activities. “Centres such as these are good because they promote the fact that children are the future and therefore they need to be cared for.
If this fails to be done they will be at risk of falling into social ills. The only example that they see are parents and relatives who abuse other people, especially the weak and vulnerable,” explained Holomisa.
The visit to the centre that takes in children who come from dysfunctional families after school for homework and activities; is a part of celebrations in Mandela month.
Holomisa, along with Regional Commissioner of Correctional Services, Subashini Moodley, got their hands dirty with soil and paint in a garden to help the children plant onions, spinach and cabbage for their feeding scheme.
“We have brought soil from Grootvlei for the children to grow their plants and we use tyres as containers to better save water. The initiative is about the children taking a barren environment and giving them hope by creating food out of it. This instils in their minds that they can turn something negative into something positive,” said Moodley.
Jabulani Tshabalala, Public Sector Business Manager of Free State Nedbank, handed the centre a cheque of R20 000 to further their project.