iKhaya le themba has been intentionally working with community members and other local organisations since the organisations inception. Through dialogue with community members and leaders, we realised that the form of support for orphans in the community was not to be an orphanage, but rather an organisation that enabled the families (led by single parents, guardians, even older siblings) to care for these children within the community. Thus the After-School Care program was started with a strong focus on the support of community work. It is because of these relationships that we are able to do the work we do and keep communication open so we can ensure that we meet expressed needs rather than perceived ones.
iKhaya employs a community worker who visits the homes of all of our families and organises support groups, parenting classes and life skills training. In addition the organisation advocates and acts as a referral system for the parents. Our community worker has created vital links between iKhaya le themba and local schools by assisting teachers in the classroom, offering training workshops and helping coordinate volunteers.
Together with the Children’s Pastor and Program Manager, our community worker links our children and their families with schools, local organisations, and professionals to ensure that each family’s needs are being met in the most comprehensive way. We hope to equip parents and guardians to be able to support their children so that they remain in their care even whilst the family faces the extraordinary stress of poverty and illness.
Our Community Development Program is a vital part of the work we do in Imizamo Yethu. It “connects the dots” of the After-School Program and Parent Centre Program to complete the model of care to orphaned and vulnerable children and their families.