The Orphans

When we left for South Africa in 2003, we thought we would be doing the same work as in the Cleft. We traveled the first 3 months to different organizations and churches. This was organized by YWAM. We learned a lot and got a better idea of what really is needed in here. What stood out the most were the children. Especially the children that were infected and affected with AIDS, what means they either had the virus or lost parents to the virus, or both.

Arriving back in 2003, we helped setup the YWAM home base in Durban. Next to that we worked two years on many different projects. We discovered that there were enough orphanages en children's villages but that it was poorly organized. Because of the bureaucracy, it's a long process to get a child placed. We also wondered what will happen to the children when they turned 18. Did they go back to the township and to whom did they return to? They no longer belonged to the Zulu culture.

We've tried a few times to get a child placed in a Christian children's village. But the requests were always turned down even though the village or orphanage was half empty and the supervisors had given their approval. A child can only be placed if the social services allows it. If the child doesn't have any identification papers the child simply doesn't exist. That's why we need the identity documents.

We prefer to let the child stay with other relatives, if they are willing and able, instead of placing a child in a orphanage or village. This means though, that we must support the whole family. Many of the children have no birth certificates, and do not have the death certificates of their parents. Getting these documents sorted out is of utmost importance. Once these are taken care of, the child is allowed to go to school and receive welfare payments. This way they will not be endlessly dependant on us.

In the beginning we never asked for food and clothes donations. But now these things are being offered to us. We in turn give them to the families who have taken the child in. Most of the time it's the grandmother who cares for the child. We have grandma's in the church who are raising 14 grandchildren. There is a whole generation erased.