Place of Safety for Clarens Vulnerable Children
Words and pictures by Mathabo Matsatsa
Tshepong Center is a community Center in the small town of Clarens that was formed and built by a group of church leaders around the neighborhood and one church in Lesotho. Together they use the name CCIA (Combined Churches In Action). The main idea behind this Centre was to have a place of empowerment and strengthening of the community.
Currently operated daily by Thomas Thaele and his wife Sarah Thaele, the Centre has a number of activities and projects that they are involved in all in the name of helping and empowering the community. Amongst all of the projects they have, the one that stands out most will have to be the Bana ba Hlokang (children in need) Project.
Bana ba Hlokang started small, from feeding 7 orphans everyday to feeding about 205 children from the local schools. Every Monday- Friday the children go to the Center to receive a proper meal after school. After the meal they have an opportunity for structured play as well as other educational activities like computer training, extra classes, homework classes, choir class, art class etc.
These children are under the care of five trained workers who are each in charge of 41 children. The workers look after the children’s well-being and monitor their living conditions with their families. The relationship between the care workers and the children is a heart warming one and it is evident that the children are well taken care of, and the workers love the job that they do.
Spending the day at the Center with the children and the workers was one of the most amazing opportunities I have personally had. It felt like there is no other perfect place to be at other than the Center. It is a home away from home for the children and a safe place from the dangers of the world.
Although the Center is doing an amazing job with taking care of the children they also need help with donations of school uniforms and school shoes. Other children’s school uniforms and shoes are not in a good condition. If they can get jersey’s, jackets for the cold winter months and rainy days, grey trousers and skirts it would greatly improve their lives.
Above all, the workers and the management of Tshepong Centrer are offering outstanding assistance for the children and the community of Clarens, they deserve more recognition for all they have already done.
Click here for more information about Combined Churches in Action