Impact is the result of a series of successful steps……..
My name is Marilyn. My mother left when I was very young and I spent many years being passed from pillar to post with no stable place to call home or family. I eventually ended up at Kids Haven when I turned 16. When I came to Kids Haven, I just felt love from the first time I walked in. I had a chance to speak my story and nobody criticised or judged me, rather instead they listened and gave me a chance to be Marilyn and show who I am. It made me realise that there is a meaning to life. I got counselling and I was pushed to eventually see the reason of life and that made me strong, positive, emotionally stable and loved. I found belonging, where to this day I know Kids Haven is still my home. I stayed at Kids Haven for four years.
Following that I worked at Kids Haven as an admin assistant. I am now married and run my own bakery with my husband in Daveyton, called Avalanche Bakery. We bake fresh bread and confectionary products every morning. We have also trained two after-care children from Kids Haven that are ready to start their own businesses. The children were taught bread baking and confectionary and how to run a small business. My advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs: “Don’t let your past distract your present, work towards your future. It doesn’t happen overnight. You need to work hard to achieve success.”
My name is Michelle. Shortly after I was born I was left at Kids Haven. I met my new mom and was adopted after I turned one years old. My mom very sadly passed away when I was 13. As I had no one to care for me I had to return to Kids Haven.
I am very grateful to Kids haven for taking me in, as I had no future as a child on my own. Kids Haven provided me with a safe and loving home, a family to call my own, physical shelter, and an education. I was allowed to recover and encouraged to grow again knowing my basic needs of food, clothing and medical care were being met. No one else would have done this for me. I am so thankful for all the effort they went to, to meet my every need growing up. I am now living independently and work as a promoter and a bar tender.
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My name is Joseph. My mom left when I was very young and I was sent to stay with my father’s relatives. There was no routine or discipline in my life or anyone in control to raise me. As a result I became very naughty and started getting into a lot of trouble. At one stage I was being transferred from one shelter to another and on a fast path to going nowhere.
Luckily I ended up at Kids Haven. For the first time in my life I experienced what it was like to be loved and cared for. All of a sudden there was discipline and routine in my life, and all because everyone cared about me and wanted to see me succeed versus falling through the cracks. The team at Kids Haven took the time to get to know me, and helped me to get to know myself. I learned new skills and through that found out what I was good at. By supporting my dreams, Kids Haven helped me to find my purpose.
I’m not the only one to do this, but I admit I begged Aunty Moira to let me stay at Kids Haven. I had seen and experienced how hard life was for a child, and knew I needed the structure and help that Kids Haven could give me. Thankfully I was placed at the shelter permanently.
Life is very hard for an unwanted child, and problems are much bigger than anyone could imagine. But my experience at Kids Haven helped me to put things into perspective and become a productive person again.
I went on to pass my matric with two distinctions, and am now employed full time in residential property sales. I am also a guest house manager, and run an events management company of my own.
My name is Cosmo. I am originally from the Congo but was moved to South Africa at a young age. I was not equipped for the life and challenges I was about to face, and the future was looking very bleak. I am very grateful that the team at Kids Haven were able to step in and rescue me.
I spent five years at Kids Haven and honestly call the place home. Now that I am grown up and living independently, I see how loved and cared for we were, and how protected we were from a bad life.
This is the advice I would give to any young person at Kids Haven. Life is tough out there. Listen properly to the staff as they care about you the most, and more than anyone else in the world they want to see you do well and succeed. They will help you to become motivated and find what you are good at, whatever you want to be you can start today. And if you focus on what you want, Kids Haven will help you to get there.
I am very grateful to Kids Haven for the five years they gave me a loving home. I am who I am today because of the effort they made with me.
My name is Confidence. My father was absent and unsupportive of my mother and me. Our lives were very hard and I ended up becoming a troubled child with no family direction or guidance.
But I knew I had more to do in life than become a problem child, and thankfully Kids Haven stepped in to help me. I initially stayed for a short period and then returned to my community, but things became worse than ever for me. I wanted to be a better person and thankfully Kids Haven stepped in again. I went from living a tough and lonely life with no guidance or future, to being surrounded by people who cared about me and would become my family forever. To say the opportunity Kids Haven gave me was life changing would be an understatement. I owe them everything and wish I could give back as much as I got from everyone. To this day Uncle Sam is always available as a sounding board and mentor.
Kids Haven helped me to embrace an education and appreciate normal structure and routine. No matter who you were or where you came from you were accepted and given guidance – there was no discrimination, and we learned to unite and love one another.
I am now a mom myself, and continuing with my studies to become a mechanical engineer.
Home is where the heart is and my heart will always be with Kids Haven.
My name is Tsietsi and I am very proud to call myself a graduate of Kids Haven. Due to a lack of family support I was sent to stay at a shelter at a young age. When that shelter was closed down I moved to Kids Haven, which became for me the beginning of the rest of my life.
I was afforded the opportunity to have an education, therapy, a family, a home, friends – and lots of other things that were previously denied to me. The team at Kids Haven encouraged me to have a dream, and then helped me to persevere to make that dream a reality.
I ended up graduating with a BA Honours in Dramatic Arts at WITS, travelled to the USA to perform, and have even coached cricket in Chilli.
I have been where our children are and want to give them hope for a better future, and so now I run a drama program at Kids Haven. I work with previously disadvantage children, teaching them the basic elements and techniques of performance, as well as using drama as a catalyst for healing and social change.
*In 2019 Tsietsi was awarded the Young Nelson Mandela Award for his achievements and contribution to society. Tsietsi is an actor, teacher, model, director and writer, as well as a motivational speaker.
My name is Aaron. I originally fled to South Africa from Zimbabwe and was staying at a local Johannesburg Methodist Church when I heard of Kids Haven. As I had no family and no one to protect me I asked Kids Haven for help so I could lead a better life.
Kids Haven gave me everything. I was an illegal child immigrant with no ID, no passport, no education, and no family. Kids Haven got me back into school until I finished my matric, and helped me to get a study permit as well as my passport and ID.
I now work as a rental coordinator renting private properties across Johannesburg. I am also studying for my Diploma in Paralegal Studies at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
I don’t know how to thank Kids Haven enough. If I hadn’t ended up here I have no idea where I would be today. Probably on the streets, without a home, job or education – I would be nothing.
What Kids Haven gave me is priceless, there is no way to ever repay them.
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