In reviewing the past two years in my role as Chairman of this Centre, it is both amazing and baffling, at how we keep pace daily with the ever growing demands at all levels –statutory, government, community, district, schools and I have not as yet ventured to mention (off course) our primary aim for existence at ST.MONICAS i.e: to provide residential care to those vulnerable children of our country and render reunification services in the hope of reconciling them with their families.
The past year has undoubtedly been an intensive one at all levels. From an administrative standpoint, re-registration as a facility with the Department of Social Development after 5 years as promulgated by the Childrens’ Act was a lengthy and a very laborious task involving the completion of important documentation to ensure compliance with legislation. Simultaneously, we were tasked with ensuring the registration of all our Child and Youth Care workers with the South African Council for Social Service Professions as Child Care was awarded the recognition of being a profession. Our website was also re-vamped to include relevant and updated information which yielded positive outcomes for us. I invite you to go on if you have not yet perused this site: www.stmonicas.org
The Constitution was also deliberated upon at length and the services of an attorney engaged to lend his expertise on the amendments that were proposed. We are still in the process of finalizing this aspect.
A range of activities that included karate classes, netball sessions group work and crafts were undertaken by all children and youth at the Centre. Coping with the challenges and demands of the childrens care is something that was inevitable and could not be avoided. Some of the issues included abscondment by older girls, struggles with academic issues, children’s personal trauma and pain that they experienced in their own lives.
The staff must be commended on their efforts and excellent intervention methods in dealing with such situations and averting crises where possible. In every sector –from the laundry to the administrative sector to Child care---the skill levels and dedication of all staff can be admired. The social work sector comprises of a social work manager and the social auxillary worker who have a file on every child and ensured that the court orders were renewed, rendered counselling, liaised with the schools, all institutions, etc. and lent an ear to a child who just needed to vent their feelings. The child care team under the immediate leadership of Doris Mkhize provided effective care to the children.
Senior staff were offered de-briefing sessions by an external organization to enable them to cope more effectively in the workplace and work through any obstacles experienced. This proved an effective tool in ensuring employee wellness.
In addition to the hive of activity at the Home, the Director was also selected by Duke University to attend a conference in North Carolina in the United States. This proved to be a milestone and a networking opportunity for the Home as she proceeded to network with several Anglican churches in the state of North Carolina and Washington DC.
We are very thankful however that we have been blessed by donations and our children were very spoilt. It ranged from outings to gifts to the community engaging with them at the centre.
Donors and Funders---we cannot have continued to accomplish what we have without you. THANK YOU for your contribution in cash and kind, for making a positive difference amidst very tough economic times. We place on record our thanks to the Department of Social Development our gratitude for the subsidy awarded to our children every month and the recent decision to award the subsidy of a social work post . This marks a turning point for us in the field of Child Care and has ensured we are in line with the national and social sector priorities of the Government.
We are also appreciative to Afrisun KZN Trust for the awarding of a grant for the purchase of industrial washing machines, tumble dryers, irons and operational expenses. Group 5 – a huge thank you to you as well for the funding awarded to us.
To all the Volunteers, I express our immense gratitude to you for your contribution in cash and kind. You have certainly made a remarkable difference to our childrens lives. To the local churches, the anglican parishes and other churches, I express my gratitude to you for bringing the gospel message to our children and instilling in them a love for our Lord and Saviour Jesus.
The Duke student Lindsey Huth, stationed here for 2 months in 2014 developed a handbook for the children from age range 3 years to 12 years which spelt out rules for children whilst residing here. She also developed close bonds with the children and engaged them in play.
I express my sincere appreciation to the Board of Management for your contribution to ST Monica’s children’s Home. Fr Barnabas Nqindi was appointed chaplain by Bishop Rubin Phillip last year. Fr Barnabas has been attending Chapel services here at the home, encouraging the children in worship to God and has ministered to the children.
I once again thank the middle management for their dedicated service to the Home. I place on record especially my gratitude to our Director Ms Althea Govender for her leadership and guidance to the staff and children of the Home.
Bishop Rubin who is a visitor to the Home, is retiring soon and has a very special place for St. Monicas in his heart. My sincerest thanks to Bishop Rubin on behalf of the Board and the staff and children of the Home for your unending support, prayers and guidance to us all over the years. We wish Bishop and Rose well in their retirement. We will miss you dearly.
Rev Alvin Sigamoney