With over 20 years of experience in working with street-living children, Kidz Care Trust is at wit’s end to find suitable premises in the city for their drop-in centre.
Despite having approached the Mangaung Metro Municipality, the premier’s office, the Department of Public Works, SAPS and the Department of Social Development, they are no closer to a solution.
Kidz Care Trust’s Marita van Kraayenburg says they had a drop-in centre at Park Road Police Station some 10 years – until the renovations began. “We unfortunately could not use the venue any longer and the organisation struggled to find a suitable venue to be used as a drop-in centre.”
Responding to an article published by Bloemfontein Courant on 10 March 2022, Kraayenburg said that they have been trying to occupy abandoned buildings in the city legally to use as a safe haven for the homeless. “Kidz Care Trust was told that there are no facilities available to be used for such activities. It might be because the organisation cannot afford to pay rent or buy a facility at this stage. We are also aware that some sectors of the public might view the ‘street children’ phenomenon as a nuisance. They view the children as criminals and drug addicts and would thus not be prepared to share their space with them,” said Van Kraayenburg.
A drop-in centre is a facility utilized to provide a range of services to street-living children and youth. According to her, such a centre plays a vital role, as it is essential for the preparation of alternative care for streetliving children. “The centre provides in the basic needs of the children, such as ablution and food. Moreover, it provides a safe place to commence with programmes such as sport and recreation, basic education and assessment of the children. It is important to note that a drop-in centre does not provide accommodation. The centre also needs to be in the proximity of where the children stay/ sleep to ensure easy access daily,” explained Van Kraayenburg.
Bloemfontein Courant is aware of various abandoned buildings that have been occupied by the homeless. If you can assist Kidz Care Trust in acquiring a suitable shelter, contact Van Kraayenburg on 082 775 2770.
Pierce van Heerden & Sazly Hartzenberg