Talhado Children's Haven

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Talhado Children’s Haven pre-primary school and after care facility in Sea Vista is looking to establish youth development programmes as well as drug and alcohol abuse counselling. To this end they are appealing for help with funding to establish suitable and sustainable programmes. 

Haven administrators have long been aware that there is a need for youth development programmes focussing on the school leavers and drop-outs - a largely neglected sector of the Sea Vista community. It is well understood that these youths are the future parents, employees and leaders of South Africa – those who will shape the society for the future.  The Haven believes that investing time and effort to bring guidance and security to this neglected group of society is pivotal for the positive development of families and future generations. 

While there are many healthy young people in Sea Vista who live positive lives there is also a group which has fallen by the wayside.  Often, for a variety of reasons, these youngsters have dropped out of school by the age of 15 which is when they are legally permitted to do so. Many come from homes where either one or both parents have died. A lot of them are using drugs regularly which in  many cases has resulted in their being thrown out of their homes and therefore  living unsupervised in the shack area with friends and in some cases alone.  These broken lives produce broken individuals who are unproductive and unstable.  Their days are spent begging for food and, in too many instances, resorting to crime to meet their needs.

With a view to addressing some of the needs of these youths, social worker Jenny Suter, has been engaging with this group of youngsters over the past few months - building relationships in order to understand the issues and dynamics this group is grappling with.  Slowly they have begun to trust and confide in her.  After a lot of thought and discussion with the youth, a programme of intervention has been initiated. The goal is to change the patterns of behaviour through a Life Skills Programme, the basic premis being to reward positive behaviour with food. Each week a participant has to complete various activities; the more of the prescribed activities completed the more food is earned.  Assessment takes place on a weekly basis and the next week’s tasks are discussed and allocated.  These tasks always include attending Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings which take place twice weekly at The Haven, some form of community work and attendance at any Youth Development events.  Community work tasks include assisting with the Rotary Recycle Swap Shop project, cleaning tasks at the St Francis Community clinic, planting of fruit trees for the Milkwood Speaks project, helping at the different Soup Kitchens as well as assisting at the community elders group run each Wednesday.  Participants have to sign an attendance register for each of these commitments which in turn is signed and verified by the supervisor of the project.

Funding for the foods supplied will need to be sourced to ensure sustainability.

It is through this process that individual goals are established and worked towards.  A first milestone has already been achieved in that the social workers have just applied for their first participant to attend drug rehabilitation in Grahamstown at the government hospital of Fort England at no cost.

It is gratifying to see lives changing as indeed, they do.  However, it is a sobering fact that only 1 in 20 people who attempt drug or alcohol rehabilitation will be successful.  But the low success rates in no way make the effort any less worthwhile.

The Haven is now appealing for funding to help establish sustainable programmes to aid in the development of our youth. It goes without saying that the need is large and the means are small. But the relevance of this project cannot be ignored.

Anyone who is keen to assist with funding should please contact Jenny Suter at suterjenny@yahoo.com.Watch this space for news on the Youth Development Programme – an enrichment programme for the community – also taking place at the Haven.


Talhado Children's Haven