The children we support are orphaned or have no adults to support them. They live alone or in family groups and have no income. In South Africa there is no welfare state to support the children apart from grants. Accessing them often involves complex red tape. There is a child benefit grant and a foster care grant for children under 18.
Both grants require documentation which must be presented to a magistrate for approval. This whole system is daunting to a child and Social Welfare workers are overwhelmed with the magnitude of the problem. Education is not free.
Although the government has said that vulnerable children should get free education, the reality in the townships is that government money tends not to reach the schools. For all these reasons the project supports children, referred to us, to complete their education.
Food Vouchers are a very important part of the support that we give to these vulnerable children. There is very little social welfare support and many of the orphans do not qualify for grants or find the process of getting them overbearing.
As one child quoted “it’s very difficult to learn when your tummy is empty”. In collaboration with the Spar supermarket, we have a voucher system whereby each sibling group on our list gets a food voucher every 2 weeks to spend on basic necessities. The management at Spar have been incredibly supportive over the 10 years we have worked with them. They notify us if children don’t turn up, have given them Christmas jobs and generally help to keep an eye on things.
They now employ a number of our youngsters who didn’t wish to go onto higher education.
We now have Vine supporters who sponsor individual children in the project. One person is sponsoring uniform for a particular child, one travelling costs to save the 2 mile walk to and from school, one person is sponsoring the travel cost of our university student and another pays for the food vouchers that feed one of our families.
Vine has helped 100s of children over the years
Here are just a few of them: