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Exquisite hand-knitted jerseys and beanies presented to the Ethembeni Children’s Home, were so special one felt they could have been inspired by top fashion couturiers. They were lovingly made by the ‘knitting’ ladies at Riverside Manor Retirement Estate and the Bryanston Sports Club Bowls Section, says Major Bongi Zulu administrator at Ethembeni. This has been one of the coldest winters we’ve had for some time, and these lovely jerseys and beanies will keep our little ones warm and cosy and prettily fashionable. Major Bongi Zulu expressed her extreme gratitude and lavish praise to these kind-hearted ladies.
When you meet Major Bongi you immediately sense how much she loves children and clearly finds work at the home a delight. Ethembeni in Zulu means Place of Hope – and the place is full to the brim. Ethembeni, situated in a quiet corner of Doornfontein in Johannesburg, is home to 60 little ones from birth to three years old. “These little ones are my children and they come first,” says the Major. “It’s heart-breaking when they leave.”
Let me tell you about the ‘granny’ programme remarked Major Bongi. This programme was initiated through Child Welfare and is sponsored by an international donor. Elderly women from the local community spend quality time with children at the centre. These amazing ‘gogos’ provide much-needed nurturing and stimulation to the children. The programme commenced last year with 13 grannies and this year has increased to 28. These dedicated people work from 8-12, Monday to Friday and receive a stipend. This programme is working extremely well. We have seen a huge change in the children since it commenced.