About us

South Africa is living in a situation without precedent. Never before in history have so many children been without parental supervision. On the one hand, the country has inherited a legacy of violence, extreme inequality and social dislocation from the former apartheid regime. Translating into high levels of domestic violence, substance and sexual abuse and neglect. In addition there are an estimated 3.7 million orphans, about half of whom have lost one or both parents to AIDS; and 150,000 children are believed to be living in child-headed households.

The South African reality is that millions of children are in need of support and care. One of the most pressing questions our country faces is how to provide a response that can be both loving and sufficiently large in scale.

The Durbanville Children’s Home fills the gap in service-provision for vulnerable children by using dedicated, professional services to support children in need of care and their families, with the ultimate aim of restoring them to a healthy family relationship.

The Home is situated in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. The intake of children falls within a 100 km radius of Durbanville, which includes farms, informal settlements, squatter camps and towns. The Durbanville Children’s Home is presently caring for 144 children between the ages of 2 -18 years.

Of the 144 children, 130 are cared for in 12 house units at the Durbanville Children’s Home, 1 Church Street,  Durbanville. The Home also operates a satellite house in 14 Joubert street, Kraaifontein, which cares for an additional 14 children.

The Home is one of the oldest children’s homes in South Africa. Its proud history spanning 134 years attests to its successful track record in caring for vulnerable children.

If children are not placed in institutions such as the Children’s Home, the probability of them ending up on the streets where they are exposed to drug abuse, gang violence, poverty, crime, etc would be increased. These negative influences also increase the risk of potential criminal behaviour and continuing the cycle of learned behaviours in their adult lives, such as abuse and neglect, towards their own children. This is likely to have an impact on the social economic growth of our country.

Durbanville Children’s Home is a programme of BADISA, a church-based non-governmental welfare organisation. BADISA provides professional assistance as well as a policy and guidelines for the Home, ensuring that the Home meets the ever-changing needs of children in need of care and safety. Durbanville Children’s Home is also registered with the Department of Social Development and is therefore subject to governmental policies and principles.

Beneficiaries

The criteria for children to be included in the Programme at the Durbanville Children’s Home are:

  • Vulnerable children removed from their homes by court order issued in accordance with the Children’s Act.
  • Children below the age of 18 or still at school (this means that if children are older than 18, but still at school, they also qualify to be included in the Programme until they complete Grade 12).

The children in our Home come from environments that are not conducive to nurturing and growing well-grounded, well-adjusted and spirited young people. Instead, their primary caregivers are often absent; leaving the children exposed to a number of abuses, inlcuding emotional, psychological and physical abuse.

  Total 0-5 years 6-10 years 11-15 years 16 and older
Boys 74 4 16 33 21
Girls 70 0 11 30 29

By exposing these 144 children to healthier environments, we estimate the indirect beneficiary group to number in the region of 288 individuals (i.e. parents, family or significant others).

Where it all began

In 1883, during the small pox and flu epidemic, two Sunday school teachers, Elizabeth de Wet and Lizzie With (later van Bosch) became involved with children that were neglected. Starting a home for vulnerable children.

Six children were housed in a building at the corner of Keerom and Long Streets in Cape Town. This establishment was formally inaugurated on 30 October 1883 but, because of the limited space, could never accommodate more than 30 children. Due to the smallpox epidemic in the Cape and the need to house orphans, as well as the negative effects of the bustling suburbs, a larger venue had to be found. In 1887, it was decided to buy a plot in Breda Street, Cape Town.

In September 1918, management was again challenged to expand, especially the boys’ section, and a commission was appointed to investigate the viability of a plot of land in Durbanville – near the town – for this purpose. In December, “Sweet Home” plus two adjacent, smaller plots (the current site of the Children’s Home) were purchased for £4 100. The official opening took place on 2 July 1919.

The road ahead

Today, after 133 years, it is with great pride and gratitude that we look back at the work started by so many dedicated staff and council members years ago -  work that has continued to this day. We will continue building on this legacy in the interest of children in need.

Future plans include:

  • The care and growth of our children are the most important aspect for us, and therefore we plan to enhance all our programmes by adding a therapeutic component to each one.
  • More staff must be afforded the opportunity to attend training courses, empowering them to better cope with our children’s challenging behaviour.
  • Our programmes must be evaluated more regularly to ensure that quality care is rendered.
  • Our care programme must be extended by opening more satellite houses, where children can be housed in their area of origin, closer to families, schools and friends.
  • We want to increase the number of donors that give on a monthly basis via a debit order. This will create a steady stream of income enabling us to better plan and execute the Home’s activities.