The concept of Ubuntu dictates that umuntu ngumutu ngabantu. Motho ke motho ka batho. This concept subscribes to the processualism of ubuntu. In the African…
The Home for Mother and Child based at Samuel Road in Ennerdale is a warm household for children from challenged and unfortunate backgrounds. Mama Coreen Kirkman says they established the home back in 2005. She shows me the two young men in the garden whom she says had arrived eight months old abandoned babies and now they are each aged 24.
Passionate, a devout Christian, she loves working with kids, which she mentions normally come from harsh circumstances, experiencing social ills like parents taking substances, etc. Therefore each child’s character is acknowledged as a way to channel them effectively. Some became homeless and left destitute through harrowing shack fires. When I started,” I struggled to speak African languages. You know the Spirit of God can teach you things,” she remarked. When it was time to attend Social Department courses, I got myself talking different languages.” Having unfortunately lost her own son in a car accident, she mentions that although she doesn’t take sides, the boy children remain precious to her.
Her deep experience with abused and forsaken children reflect on her face as she gets emotional whilst talking. Some of the stories include a child burnt with acid, and another molested by her own dad from an early age. Witnessing a brutally raped child, she mentions that one nursing sister built her strength tremendously whilst handling such distressing cases. Some have since healed and grew up leaving the home to become successful and responsible adults in society
They house 33 kids of all ages and work with SAPS and the children’s court. She mentions that she worked hard to develop the house to be as child friendly, and acknowledges the aid from the Social Services. Having worked with a large number of social workers from the Social Development department, she commends them by their massive help in registering abandoned babies, especially at the Bara Hospital so that they are able to comply to attending the clinic check-ups. “We queue like everyone else all day, but lately it is better because the registration for birth certificates is processed online. ”She relates.
A disciplinarian, she mentions that she puts her foot down and that children should have respect for elders and that with her there is no favoritism. They act as parents with her husband of 40 years Benny Kirkman a fatherly figure who graces the kids who in turn easily open up to him. “Teens have various challenges which include depression and stigma issues. Prayer is key.” Reiterated Coreen. They carry out normal chores at home and spending is limited as she emphasizes that even some of her kids in matric still carry a lunch box. “Some of the boys in the neighborhood come in and voluntarily help out at the home. Which is a plus.” She mentions.
For all her children, she mentions that she is aware of the happenings at both primary and high school because “I have eyes there!” As she relates that she has a sound relationship with the local school Principals and Educators. She’s also aware of their progress at school as she attends all parent’s meetings in-spite of ailments. Like any normal youth, the youngsters have aspirations, desire clothes and accessories to build confidence. But mostly the home runs out of school clothes and shoes amongst other challenges. There are currently four care-givers and one dedicated teacher, who all need a sponsor for their services. But her main wish is to acquire a mini-bus for the home for easy transporting of her huge family.
Jerry Sokhupe Soweto Sunrise News