Limpopo drop-in centre faces bleak Christmas

Limpopo drop-in centre faces bleak ChristmasChildren play at a creche in Springs outside Johannesburg. File Photo.

A drop-in centre in Ha-Mashau, Limpopo provides daily meals to 150 orphaned or vulnerable children. Now, the centre may close almost a decade after it first opened its doors.

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For many children, the meal they receive at the after school drop-in centre is the only one they get, according to centre manager Rose M
For many children, the meal they receive at the after school drop-in centre is the only one they get outside of school, according to centre manager Rose Maumela (File photo)

Located about 40 km east of Louis Trichardt, the centre provides meals and tutoring after school to children and teenagers from a rented building. With previous donations and government funding drying up, the centre could close after eight years of operation, according to founder and manager Rose Maumela.

“We have got different age groups of children whom we cater for from primary school to tertiary level,” she told OurHealth. “We do not offer them food only, but we also give them educational classes where we teach them about healthy lifestyles, and the dangers of teenage pregnancy and HIV.”

“For some of the kids, the centre is like their home because it is the only place where they get a guaranteed decent meal every day after school,” said Maumela, who added that the centre is struggling to pay rent. “We are afraid of what will happen to all these children if the centre is closed due to lack of funding.”

Every year during this time, the centre prepares to host an annual Christmas party for the children. Kids like 12-year-old Takalani* usually spend this time looking forward to the new clothes they usually receive during the party. This year, he says he is angry that the centre may close.

“I live with my granny and other siblings and her grant money is not enough to support us all,” he said. “If the centre is closed, we will suffer more as we rely on it for our afternoon meal.”

Local Democratic Alliance representative Jonas Mugovhani said he has already donated food parcels to the centre and is trying to rally the local buisness community to support the cause. Those wishing to help can contact Maumela on 082 721 4653.

*Name changed to protect the identity of the child