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Report on foster house Ekhaya Lihle dec 2014 - By Sue Davies

Introduction
The Chairperson, Management Board and CATCH Team join me in expressing our gratitude for the wonderful support over 2014 which has kept the foster house as a happy, fully functioning home where 6 orphaned girls live.  The foundation has also supported CATCH in the care of 4 boys who have lived in rooms on the property.  This report seeks to record the progress made as well as some of the challenges.  CATCH was most fortunate to be able to welcome Maria Van Reep and Magda Bijs earlier in the year.  Their visit to us was an immensely enjoyable one.  It was a hard working visit for these friends who joined us and encouraged us in every way.  Thank you both!

The House
Following the visit of our friends from KiCoBa the house was upgraded in many ways – fresh paint, new shelves, kitchen improvement etc.  Our housemother was delighted with the improvements and we are pleased to report that everything still looks good!  There is work which remains to be done such as the laying of concrete which has had to wait until early 2015 as our property manager has had too much work.  The insulation in the roof in the loft has improved the extreme winter and summer temperatures.

The Housemothers
Phumla has once again worked hard on behalf of the girl children providing love, care, counselling and seeing to all their physical needs.  While she was away on her annual break and her once a month weekend away, Lolo, a substitute housemother, has stepped in and carried on the good work.  Phumla has been assisted by Linda who has worked in the house as a cleaner and sometime cook in order to relieve Phumla who has been involved in several programmes at CATCH. 

The Cleaner/Cook
As mentioned above Linda has worked daily in the foster home with the cleaning, washing and ironing clothes and cooking.  KiCoBa supported Linda’s salary with R1000 per month.  The remaining portion of Linda’s salary was taken from funds from the National Lottery grant.  At the close of this year, the CATCH management team is unsure whether to continue Linda’s employment in the foster house.  This is for two reasons. The first reason is that Phumla may not be required to work in as many programmes as she has up until now.  She may only be required on Wednesdays for the Girls Club.  This means that she would be freer to undertake the cleaning herself.  A second reason is that CATCH will most likely not have funds to meet the cost of Linda’s salary as the National Lottery will only fund us again in 2016. CATCH may employ Linda in only a part time position. This matter is still under discussion and the Director will inform KiCoBa of our decision.

The Children
We have a good report for you about the girls.  All the girls have passed their end of year school exams. The 3 sisters Thami, Linamandla and Sinovuyo received especially excellent reports.  Sinovuyo graduated from preschool and will now attend ”big school” namely the Gonubie Primary School which is considered a good, well equipped, caring school.  The school fees have been provided by a donor in the UK.  Sinovuyo’s English is now better than anyone else’s in the home and we have every confidence that she can one day be a student in a university!  Lona and Nobili have appeared happy and settled.  Amanda still faces emotional challenges.  The health of the girls has been excellent throughout the year.

With regard to the boys, Sivenathi, being 18 years old now, at the time of this report is in Circumcision School.  His circumcision will be celebrated next week with a party at CATCH as he is now considered “a man”.  Sivenathi has been co-operative and well behaved.  There are times when his teenage challenges have presented challenges for us.  Sivenathi, although he speaks English well, has a poor school report.  He was in a class at school with children 4 or 5 years younger than himself.  We believe he is not capable of benefitting anymore from attending school and are faced with the question of how to help him in future.  At times he appears to have unrealistic expectations of what he can do and what others can do for him.  We are hoping to get a psychologist to administer some tests and give us a report which will guide us concerning his abilities and any cognitive (brain impairment) challenges.

Sadly we released Seikho from our care last year and you have received this information in our last report. We have come to believe that it is very difficult to help teenage boys who come to us with so many unresolved emotional issues.  They seem to want to co-operate and we want to help. But despite much help given by CATCH there is little if any success.

CATCH has also released Thando who has been in our care for the past 2 years.  Thando now 15 became uncontrollable, staying out at night and not conforming to any rules.  He started to miss school and we believe experimenting with drugs.  We are sad about this as earlier in the year his teachers had reported a marked improvement in his behaviour and work.  CATCH had been involved in trying to reunite Thando with his biological mother and his stepfather.  Thando visited his family in Craddock during school holidays.  His parents came to fetch him when school closed in November but he refused to accompany them home.  You will remember that Thando’s mother was a very young mother, not able to care for her baby.  Her family took care of the baby so Thando never knew his mother.  The family who looked after Thando badly abused him. Thando and his mother seem  not to be able to relate to one another although it is now his mother’s wish that she can make reparation for the past and care for him.  Together with the statutory social work agency, CATCH has now placed Thando with an aunt in the community who has taken on the responsibility of caring for the boy.  We are hoping that Thando will be able to settle and continue with school.  At my last meeting with him he was convinced he did not need to go to school and could find a job and look after himself on his own without any help.  Mzamomhle is a dangerous place and leaving Thando without care might end in the very real possibility of his being killed.

Bonga an 11 year old boy has been cared for by CATCH for the past 4 months.  He was abused and rejected by his mother.  He has now been placed in a Children’s Home in King Williams Town and he is happy and settled there.  CATCH has agreed that he spends school holidays at CATCH and at present he is with us.  Phumla is caring for him and because he is a compliant child, he has a bedroom in the loft upstairs in Ekhaya Lihle.  We want him to have the mothering and care which Phumla can give him.  Lisa who has very tender feelings for Bonga invites him now and then to her home where he enjoys his stay and all the exciting technology like Playstation there.

Conclusion
It is a great privilege for CATCH to be able to offer these precious children a safe and caring home. We are ever aware of the great responsibility we have to ensure their safety and happiness.  Because this “burden” of care has been placed on us, we are most grateful to enjoy the support of our partner and friends of KiCoBa.  As Director, I am unable to find the words to express the humility and gratitude I feel for the magnificent support which the KiCoBa team have given CATCH over many years.  This includes the sponsorship of all the costs in the Foster Home as well as the help to the boys and in many other ways too. The CATCH team once again pledge our very best efforts in caring for the children.  A general report on all the programs and activities of CATCH will come to you separately as will some pictures of the children.

Sue Davies,
Director Catch