Habitat for Humanity SA and People’s Environmental Planning (PEP) have joined forces to provide Mama Rosie of Baphumelele with upgraded shacks to house the orphans she takes care of.
Approximately 13.1% of households live in informal settlements in South Africa. Khayelitsha, an informal settlement outside Cape Town, has a population of 400 000 residents. A predicted 14 000 of these residents are orphans tasked with the responsibility of heading up their homes. These children are subject to the daily challenges of overcrowding and a lack of privacy. They have no electricity or running water. They fear for their safety and they don’t have a decent place to do their homework or to play.
The biggest shelter issues that Khayelitsha’s orphans face is dealing with Cape Town’s wind and rain. The water table in Khayelitsha is very high, and many houses have been built in and around retention ponds. Without proper foundations or waterproofing, many of the households find themselves battling with water ingress from various sources.
Fundiswa’s mother and Matsepo’s only daughter (Dikeledi) died after a short illness; they do not know what the cause of her death was. Dikeledi left behind two children, Fundiswa and Shamane who is 7 years old. The death of Fundiswa’s biological mother affected her academically and emotionally and she is now unable to cope in a mainstream school. Fundiswa is now attending the School of Skills in Elsies Rivier to continue her education.
Matsepo, Fundiswa’s grandmother, is in her early 60’s and originally comes from a rural area in Matatiel. She was born with sight, but in her 30’s her eyesight started to give her serious problems. Matsepo was advised to come to Cape Town to see an eye specialist but all her efforts were in vain. Matsepo’s eye operation was unsuccessful and today, she is blind. The freedom that she used to have of being able to do things by herself is no longer possible. Matsepo now depends solely on her granddaughter, Fundiswa, who is 21 years old. She is the one who is doing everything in the house and due to these overwhelming responsibilities she was not able to enjoy a care-free childhood.
Intervention by Baphumelele
In April 2015, the Maphela family was referred to the staff at Baphumelele, an orphanage in Khayelitsha. Bhaphumelele’s vision is to provide a temporary shelter for vulnerable/orphaned children and young adults with chronic diseases and HIV/Aids, and to provide skills development for the unemployed, early childhood care, alleviation of poverty, and healthcare information to the community in Khayelitsha and its surrounds, with the hope that the lives of everyone that they touch can make a difference within society. Family Interviews, home assessments, and needs assessment were conducted by Baphumelele’s outreach worker. You can read more about founder, Mama Rosie and Baphumelele’s incredible work: http://baphumelele.org.za/about-us/
The Maphela family don’t have proper shelter – they live in an informal structure (shack), with no electricity and very old broken pieces of furniture. They draw water for washing and cooking a few meters away from their shack. Their house condition is putting their lives at risk, especially in winter as they become sick due to the cold and the damp that creeps in through gaps in the walls and roof-sheeting.
Through scoping exercises and mapping workshops, together with Baphumelele and the community, (PEP) have documented that the biggest issues that Khayelitsha’s residents face is dealing with Cape Town’s wind and rain. The water table in Khayelitsha is very high and many houses have been built in and around retention ponds. Without proper foundations of waterproofing, many of the households find themselves battling with water ingress from various sources.
Intervention by PEP and Habitat SA
Baphumelele approached PEP with a list of 27 critical shelter-need orphan-headed households and requested that they assist with the upgrades that the orphanage had already been facilitating. PEP conducted workshops with the young adults and children and following discussions, are joining forces with Habitat for Humanity SA – bringing the strengths of three organisations to the needs of these families.
World Habitat Day 2017, served as an entry into this partnership as Habitat SA joined its heart, hands and voice together with PEP and Baphumelele to address the identified causes of housing inadequacy. Habitat SA’s staff volunteered on the upgrade of three other shacks, as well as Fundiswa’s: laying cement slabs and insulating the houses through repairs, replacement of wall sheeting and waterproof paint.
What can you do?
Please assist in any way you can to make the living conditions of vulnerable children like Fundiswa and her siblings more bearable. We would be deeply grateful for the donation of funds or materials toward the Orphan-headed Household Project so that we can extend our impact far beyond these two homes.