A Table View woman has built a refuge for children given a rough start in life.
Originally from the Eastern Cape, Victoria Corsa moved to Cape Town in 1997. She got involved in church outreach programmes in Dunoon and after working with children there realised she needed to do more to help them.
“What I noticed was that there is a lot of poverty there, children are not being looked after, and, in a lot of cases, children are getting raped at the tender age of 5.”
Two years ago, Victoria helped found the Siyazakha Educare and Aftercare in Dunoon’s Site 5. Those who can afford to pay creche fees do but those who can’t aren’t turned away, so it’s become a safe haven for children whose parents need somewhere safe to leave them while they look for work.
Victoria explains that, in some cases, unemployed parents leave their children alone on the streets, with disasterous consequences.
“There are lots of cases of rape of children in the community. This happens because the children are left with no one to take care of them and the parents lock the kids outside the house while they go out looking for a job.”
It’s not as if it’s an easy decision for the parents, says Victoria: the parents realise the streets aren’t safe, but they see them as safer than a shack that can fast become a death trap if it catches fire.
Last year, Victoria took five children into her care who have no siblings or parents. She also bought a house in Flamingo Vlei, calling it Luthando Orphans and Child Care, where she plans to give the five – who are all under 5 – a home, along with another one who will be joining them.
Victoria is now appealing for public donations to help run the orphanage.
“I have to feed them, clothe them, take them to school and some don’t even have birth certificates. That is where the support of the general public comes in.
“I would like people to help with whatever they can so that we can all give these children’s lives meaning. We need food, clothing, beds and bedding for the children.” The children who will stay with her in Flamingo Vlei are living in an Nyanga orphanage until a social worker has inspected her facilities. Victoria expects that to happen in early April. In the meantime she has registered her organisation as a non-profit and been issued a fund-raising number.
Victoria says children don’t choose the circumstances they are born into, and it’s up to society to make sure those circumstances don’t dictate their destinies.
Interested donors can contact her at 079 351 4669 or firstname.lastname@example.org