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Five years ago we brought you the inspiring story about a girl called Nancy who came to our Joseph Baynes Home for Children in Pietermaritzburg when she was just six years old. Her mother had been killed in northern KZN political violence. The Salvation Army is still Nancy’s life. She is now Captain Nancy Ndlovu, married to a Salvation Army Officer, Captain Sanele Ndlovu, and together they are the officers for the Bonteheuwel Corps (church) and Administrators for the Bonteheuwel Nursery School. Capt. Nancy is also responsible for Women’s Ministries!

The caring Captains with the happy kids in their crèche

“The school has five classes attended by 120 kids living in the area. We take children from 18 months up to Grade R (six years old). Our daily programme starts with prayer, followed by breakfast, then education, play time and stories, interspersed with tea and snacks. And each child also receives a cooked lunch,” Capt. Sanele explained.

There are many challenges to face in this troubled Cape Town suburb. “A lot of kids have learning disabilities due to pregnant mothers’ drug use, some are violent and angry – because of home experience.” Capt. Sanele continued. The children wear identifying nursery school shirts, so lost kids are quickly found.

There’s a monthly charge of R550 but if parents fall on hard times, they’re given the opportunity to volunteer for garden work or to help with cleaning or kitchen duty.

“During August we arranged a fashion show, which really helped boost the kids’ confidence − and was a lot of fun! We want to build up this nursery school to be a foundation of hope – a place where the kids feel loved, cared for and protected. A place where they find peace and is very different from home. We see kids who are beaten – and parents in denial, claiming the child fell.” reported Capt. Nancy, sadly.

Bonteheuwel Nursery School is known in the community as a ‘safe haven’, a place of love and care and it is heartbreaking to turn people away when full. The need is so great out there.

“We also invite single moms to breakfast once a month when we pray for them and encourage them to come to church. ‘Sharing is Caring’,” says Capt. Nancy. “The area is impoverished and the community is prone to awful problems like child abuse as well as drug and alcohol abuse. Teenage pregnancy is rife: many girls of 13 and 14 are already having babies. Domestic violence is ‘normal’ too. We see women broken, abused, raped. We journey with them.” exclaims Capt. Nancy.

The Captains willingly serve the community. Their outreach programme includes a thrice-weekly feeding scheme. Fortunately the gangster community respects The Salvation Army and allows our workers to go into the back streets where they feed about 100 people. They will continue to bring hope and show the love of Jesus to those in need.

The Bonteheuwel church community is very caring – congregations bring no longer- needed clothing to the church, which is given to the needy on the feeding route. Since we are dedicated to ministering where the people are, prayers are said on the streets.