Friday, January 22, 2016

The Leamongetswe Orphanage Needs Your Help!

At the end of last year my neighbor, Elaine, asked if I would go with her to an orphanage in the Atridgeville township to take photos to help her raise funds towards building new dormitories. Of course my answer was YES! Being able to put my photography skills towards helping some very needy kids (versus just sharing the wonderful adventures of Piper with the world) is something I was thrilled to do.

The orphanage was opened in 1994 by Ms. Matlakala Makhubela who was concerned about the numbers of orphans and vulnerable children in her neighborhood. She took the kids in and started providing them food and shelter without any outside financial assistance. In 2002 she registered the organization officially and has been trying to support it with small sponsorships and donations. 

There are currently almost 90 children at the orphanage, ranging in age from a few months old to a few that are over 18 (some of the young adults who have been at the orphanage all of their lives have opted to stay on and help be caretakers for the younger kids). There is a lack of space at the orphanage to provide beds for all 90 children. The orphanage is currently in the process of building a new dormitory room, which will to sleep 6-8 kids, but the progress is slow due to lack of funds.

This is a room that was recently built, it houses 8 boys. It is piped for a bathroom and shower facility but they have not received the funds to install those yet.

In many of the rooms there are not enough beds, so each morning the children remove their bedding and push the mattresses up off of the floor against the wall so that there is space to move around. In the evening they pull the mattresses back down to the floor. This room sleeps 14 girls (6 on beds, 8 on the ground).

The orphanage is lucky to have a lot of land, of which part is used to grow a garden to help provide food to feed the children. In the future the orphanage hopes to be able to build more dormitories so the children can all have rooms and beds to sleep in.

During meal times the children gather in a large open room and sit on the ground and wait for a bowl of porridge. The older children help feed the young ones.

There is a very decrepit playground on the property. It needs a lot of TLC.

Elaine (pictured below getting her hair all prettied up by the kids) has been visiting this orphanage and providing time and supplies for over a year. I would love to help her bring some necessary and needed funds and donations to help the orphanage finish building the dormitory rooms and spruce up the playground area.

If you would like to be a part of making this happen Elaine has set up a YouCaring crowdfunding page, with a $5000 target.

She chose YouCaring because it does not take a fee out of the funds donated, as other crowdfunding sites do (i.e. Kickstarter and Indigogo take 5%, etc.). The donation processor, however, does take 2.9% plus $0.30 to process the donation, just so you are aware.

Every little bit counts! As progress continues at the orphanage I will return to photograph and document the changes so you'll be able to see where your funds are going and how they are helping these amazing kids! Thanks for reading!

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