Nthando Home of Safety

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Nthando Home of Safety
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Nthando Home of Safety began as a vision of founding director, Caraleigh Otto. As an occupational therapist working at Victoria Hospital in Cape Town, Otto often came into contact with vulnerable children. “Sometimes parents would bring their children to the hospital and just leave them there because they did not have the means to care for them once they were better,” says Otto. This made her realise the dire need for more homes of safety for abused, abandoned and neglected children in the Western Cape.
 
Otto was particularly inspired by one of the little HIV patients in her ward. “No matter how sick he was, he was always making the other children laugh and feel better.”
 
“I thought to myself, if this is the need in Cape Town, the need in my own area must be just as great,” says Otto. Therefore she was moved to start Boland-based Nthando Home of Safety. Nthando means ‘love’ and this has been incorporated into the philosophy of the home, ‘what love can do’
 
It took two years to fully prepare the home, which opened its doors for the first time on the 4th of March 2012. In the last year and a bit, Nthando has seen what love can do in the lives of eight vulnerable children. The mission of Nthando Home of Safety is not to be an orphanage, but a safe-haven where abused and abandoned children can be protected and loved before moving back into adoptive or rehabilitated homes.
 
This is because part of the Nthando philosophy is the belief in the family unit. Children should be raised within a family and not an institution, this is why Nthando takes in a maximum of six kids at any given time, and aims to get them placed back into a family within six months. The home works closely with welfare organisations and churches in the area to provide the best service possible to these children, who often come not just from the Boland area, but a range of regions across the Western Cape.
 
At the home, children are given all the basic necessities they require to develop and thrive. These include counselling and developmental assessments, preschool and primary healthcare needs. “Our very first baby was Caroll December, because she was found abandoned in a trollies outside a supermarket at Christmas time,” says Otto. “She has since been adopted by a loving family.”
 
“We have learned a lot, and we have grown a lot over the past year,” says Otto. One of the main challenges faced by the home is generating income to make it self-sustaining. “We started with a good some of money saved up, but that is slowly been used up.” In order for the home to continue its good work, community members and government need to get on board with the project and the difference it has made in children’s lives so far.
 
To view Nthando Home of Safety in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.

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