Placing orphaned and vulnerable children into a family environment with a trained foster mother to ensure all the children’s needs are met.
According to UNICEF, in 2012 there were approximately 3.7 million orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa and almost half of these children lost their parents to AIDS-related diseases. In addition, it was estimated that 150 000 children were living in child-headed households. KwaZulu Natal has the highest number of orphans, particularly ones who have lost both parents. With the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, experts predict that the number of orphans in the country will continue to grow.
Without a good primary caregiver or quality foster care these children are vulnerable to neglect, abuse, malnutrition and many other adversities.
Lungisisa Indlela Village (LIV) NPC was officially established in 2010 with a focus on providing residential foster cluster care to vulnerable and orphaned children in the Durban area. The Village is built on an 83 acre farm next to the community of Cottonlands. There are 96 homes which can house up to 750 children, however there are currently 140 children living at LIV. A number of the LIV staff, as well as the founders, also live at the village.
LIV has a team of social workers who work closely with the Department of Social Development. The Department identifies children in need of foster care; LIV social workers assess the case and send the child to the Village. The Village only has one selection criteria: a child has to be 12 years old or younger to be accepted. The LIV social workers keep a file on each child and monitor the case. This includes conducting visits to the child’s home of origin while they reside at LIV and determining whether the home environment is suitable for the child to return to.
On its grounds the Village has a school with 22 classrooms, a library, computer room, art room and music room. Other facilities include a church, an early childhood development (ECD) centre, a tennis court, a sports field and a clinic with a dentist room and play therapy area. The staff complement includes a dedicated occupational therapist and trained psychologist who see the children as often as necessary on an individual case basis.
All the children at LIV attend the school, and the infants and toddlers attend the ECD centre. The LIV school is a remedial school and their curriculum is government approved. After school, learners do extra- mural activities and return to their foster home. Each home is run by a foster mother who is responsible for seven or eight children. Prior to having children under their supervision, each foster mother receives six weeks of training followed by two to three months continued training once they are living in the Village. The foster mothers are trained on how to raise children and how to engage with abused/neglected children. In addition the foster mothers receive psychological support to work through any issues they may have.
Apart from providing foster care to children in need, LIV also works with the surrounding community. The organisation has employed people from the Cottonlands community, and members recently purchased land to build a factory that will initially employ 50 people from the community. Eventually the factory should be able to provide jobs for 150 people from the Cottonlands community. LIV secured R8 million for the construction of the factory which will commence later this year. LIV Business is a (Pty) Ltd company which is 100% owned by LIV NPC and was established to address the ongoing sustainability challenge of LIV as well as to provide jobs for community members. All the profits generated by the business go towards the Village.
LIV Business is made up of the following subsidiaries:
- LIV Flowers where 3ha of land are used to grow flowers which are sold to local markets in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng
- LIV Clean which offers various cleaning and gardening services including specialised cleaning, hygiene solutions, carpet maintenance and pest control to individuals and companies
- LIV Eggs, a partnership with egg cooperatives in the Highveld to produce eggs which LIV distributes to various stores. LIV Eggs are now available in SPAR and Food Lovers stores in Durban
- LIV Business also has a partnership with Wonderbag to manufacture their cooking bags.
What we like about this organisation
- LIV children live in a house with a foster mother and their ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’. LIV not only provides urgently needed holistic residential care but also creates an environment where children feel like they are part of a family in order for the orphanage to feel less like an institution and more like a home.
- Family members are allowed to visit the children. Depending on the child’s circumstances, these visits are supervised and where permitted by the Department of Social Services, children are allowed to visit their extended family. This allows children to maintain healthy relationships with their family.
- A serious issue for orphans at children’s homes is that when they turn 18 they can no longer receive support from the home or government, regardless of the need for continued support. However at LIV no young person is asked to leave when they turn 18. The organisation will continue to support and empower the young person to decide what career path to choose, whether to study or find a job.
What difference can your money make?
- R10 000 will support 10 children for a month
- R250 000 will support five LIV families for five months
- R750 000 will support a cluster (eight houses) for seven months
- Sports coaching (rugby, cricket, swimming, hockey, soccer, volleyball, netball)
- Medical professionals and practitioners (speech therapist, paediatrics, women’s health, nurses, physiotherapists, optometrists, pharmacists)