the village of hope seeks to help children infected or affected by hiv, aids and tb in two different ways: we have a 9 bed children's unit to support those infected by hiv and aids and we also run a community-based sports and lifeskills outreach in the informal settlements and squatter camps each afternoon.

this blog has been set up to allow the key members of the team at the village of hope to share their thoughts, photos and experiences as we work in the community of grabouw in south africa

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

See our latest updates on the new Thembalitsha Foundation blog!

Thank you for being a loyal supporter and friend of Village of Hope and Thembalitsha Foundation! We have recently streamlined all of our blogs into a single website for all of the projects so you can keep up with all things Thembalitsha in one place: If you are interested in following our new combined stream, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your up-to-date e-mail address in the "Follow By E-mail" field. And if you still want to view project-specific content, you can choose a project from the drop-down menu at the top! All of our old posts from this blog have also migrated there as well in a full archives.

We hope that this new platform will be incredibly easy for you to use and also show you the full scope of the exciting happenings here at Thembalitsha! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at any time - we love hearing from our supporters.

We look forward to sharing more of this journey with you!

Team Themba

Monday, February 16, 2015

Hellos and Goodbyes (February 2015)

Children’s Unit 
Back to school!
Over the Christmas period, the children went on bike rides, swimming, to the beach, played games, made crafts, and lots of exciting stuff. We enjoyed a big Christmas day altogether which the children loved! They where given some presents, and it was fun watching their excitement opening them and being so grateful for all the things they got. When school started back, two of our dear ones started big school – they looked so grown up in their uniforms!

Also during the holiday period, we discharged five of our children and had three new arrivals who came to stay with us for a short time. We said goodbye to three brothers who went back to their grandmother who was now in a place where they felt she could look after all three children. We also said goodbye to a baby boy who came to us at two months old after nearly dying in the hospital. His mother died shortly after giving birth, but his father remained very involved during the year he was with us. This tiny baby who came to us so small left fat and healthy to live with his grandmother in the Eastern Cape. The last discharge was a little girl who had been with us for 14 months. Her mother sadly died whilst the little girl was with us. Her grandmother came from the Eastern Cape to spend a week with us getting to know her grandchild and learning to administrate her medication. She has now taken the little girl to live with her in the Eastern Cape.

We were also able to provide care for a new arrival: a young boy who had become very ill due to not taking his meds. He had developed TB and needed somewhere to build his strength so he stayed with us for three weeks. His mother was also unwell and each time she was in hospital the people caring for him did not give him the meds. Due to this referral from the clinic, we were able to get social workers involved who are able to monitor the situation, and the mother knows now that if she has to go to hospital she can call the social workers who will help support her.

Rainbow Smiles
Farewell pool party for Tim and Maz
We kicked off the holiday period by having a great Christmas party with a braai and a water slide! The children particularly loved racing down the slippy slide. Following the party, we began a very long break and have only just started back at the tail end of January when we began the new year by having a pool party to say goodbye to Tim and Maz.

We have added two more children to the club, which brings the total to 17 children – an amazing number for us. Unfortunately, we have had to say goodbye to our trusted volunteer Johan, but we have gained Greg from France who is helping at the club. Starting this week, we look forward to two students from Holland joining our team! Due to the need for more helpers, we have moved the meeting time to Wednesdays, which we’re hoping works out with the earlier school time.

Lastly, one of our children who has become young leader has been able to re-start his schooling at community college after being out of school for over two years. This is a massive achievement for him, and we are incredibly proud of him. He is 17 years old and left school after only completing Grade 6 (primary school level). If he works hard and continues with his adult education, he will be able to matriculate by the time he is 20 years old.


A day at the beach with our sports kids
Village of Hope sports leaders Greg and Emma combined forces with our community sports mentors to take 80 kids to the beach at the end of December to celebrate the end of 2014 and the summer holiday. Two busloads of kids got a day of fun in the sun and swimming in before school started back! Then in January, Village of Hope collaborated with local Strand-based charity Solid Rock to do a full week of 9am-5pm athletic activities and biblical life coaching at Groenberg School in Grabouw. More than 175 kids attended per day - an amazing turn out, and a lot of fun for the kids and our staff alike. Now well into February, we are excited to return to our scheduled daily sports programme in different pockets of the Grabouw community. Word is spreading amongst the kids, and we expect to be operating with full volume by next week!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

a littl' bit a hope this christmastide....

maz and mel putting up decorations
in the unit
during the last week we have been preparing ourselves for the festive season with our annual sleigh rides into the community, christmas gifts to friends and families in the community (including live chickens to some of our mentors) as well as helping the children who live with us understand the 'real meaning' behind all the bright lights and carols.

it's also fantastic to be able to provide the children with some of the traditional pleasures that we have grown up with, its not all about looking forward to the presents but we have lit an advent candle every evening as we count the sleeps to the big day (thanks nana!) along with decorating the unit with some of the decorations we bought from england.

start the sleigh!
however our biggest news this week is that one of our little ones received his Christmas present early as he was reunited with his family in the eastern cape. this little one came to us only a few days old and already with a very sad story. his mother passed away soon after he was born, she was HIV+ but he was blessed not to have caught this devastating disease from her but he did arrive needing some complex medical care which often ended up with us taking him to our nearest hospital (about 25 minutes down the mountain) for days on end. you won't believe it from the photo but he joined us as a really poorly scrap but with the support of his father and the wonderful work of our house moms he has really grown into a delightful little boy.

father Christmas over worked in watereworks!
his father was very proactive and has visited as often as he could, he works on a farm about two hours drive from grabouw but with public transport being such a challenge it often took him half a day to get to us which meant he only had a few minutes to spend with his child before having to walk back to the local taxi (minibus) pick up for a lift to the train station and the long journey home.

boy going home
emma has put in some amazing work to ensure that his family were kept in touch with all that was going on and earlier this week we were able to take him to his father for him to continue on the traditional christmas journey to visit relatives in the eastern cape, where the child will live with his grandmother and continue to receive the care he needs as he grows.

we really do rejoice over this news and as hard as it is to say goodbye we do it with the knowledge that we have been able to provide that medical care when he really needed it, to be a part of this little ones story is a true blessing and we thank God for calling us all here to enable this to happen!

once again thanks for the photos lisa baldry!

Friday, December 19, 2014

summer time fun...

katie and her babies
last week the local schools closed for summer so we have had a bit more time to spend with the children in the unit who are already crawling off the walls and proving to be a bit of a handful to our dedicated house moms, who are also nearing the end of the year and having to plan and prepare for their own family Christmas.

katie has been preparing some morning time activities for the older children but as we celebrated another public holiday on tuesday we decided to take all the children, house moms and volunteers to the local beach for an afternoon of fun. looking back it seems that we have done this each and every 'heritage day' and it's amazing to see the children's reactions as they get time to play in the sand and swim in the sea.

greg's castle
they are such a pleasure to be with and i think every child dipped their toes in the sea with some taking it a little bit further by actually trying to body board!.....greg made a huge and complex sand castle trying to replicate the french island setting of mont saint-michel but one of our more challenging (in a very sweet way) boys had other plans and duly knocked it down before greg managed to finish the moat.

moms it the beach!
beach soccer
on wednesday morning it was the turn of the sports outreach children to have some time at the beach, we work with over 450 children each week so it was a bit of a mission trying to plan for all of them to attend the day that they look forward to all year, however as around 250 of the children are under the age of nine there was no way that we were going to put ourselves under pressure to take them (there will be a 'next time' for those children as they grow up into our senior clubs), so that left around 200 who would have loved to have come.

happy kids
in the end we booked two 60 seater buses and with the help of our sports mentors, volunteers and willing others we end up taking over 75 children from four of our daily clubs, it's always hard to chose how to run these things but as many of our children return to the eastern cape for Christmas we are confident that most of the children who remained in grabouw were able to join us.

fun times for the girls
as you can imagine looking after 75 children on a wide open beach with an inviting sea to entice them is no mean feat but we are thankful to say that none of the children ended up as shark bait and apart from a badly cut foot (which occurred as one boy stepped on a piece of discarded glass whilst playing football) everyone returned to their homes in grabouw in one piece!

greg came up with a novel idea to split the children into ten separate groups with two leaders responsible for that team, we then placed netball bibs on the children, all an array of colours so our team leaders could keep a check on the children in their group. this worked so well and i'm sure it provided the beach with a riot of colour as the children ran in and out of the sea, having the time of their lives.

a riot of colour in gordon's bay
it's always great to see the children playing and being truly free for a few hours, leaving the cares of their complex lives behind and having fun together. this is one of the day we will miss when we leave the project in february but trust that our team will continue to offer both these wonderful opportunities to both the sports outreach children and those that we care for in our 24/7 unit.

special thanks to lisa baldry for the wonderful photos!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

three siblings are reunited

yesterday we said our sad goodbyes to three of our wonderful boys, sibling brothers, who arrived with us in early september. since they arrived the youngest started walking and the older two were able to restart their morning placements at a local creche where they have really thrived.

as with many of our children these boys come from a complex family situation however it's great to see them reunited with their grandmother who is now able to provide a secure and loving home for these three boys.

we will obviously keep close ties with the family, providing help and support where required as they settle into their new surroundings, we will miss these little guys who have kept us entertained and who have really captured our hearts, however a home placement is our best out come for any child so we wish them well and a happy christmas with their family!

Monday, December 8, 2014

December News

Children’s Unit
The end of the calendar year also sees the end of the school year here in South Africa so we’ve been busy with various end of year events for the kids. Some of our children are finishing pre-primary and moving into primary school which is a real landmark.

We have also been able to discharge one little boy back to his parents and our little girl with cerebral palsy is doing fantastically – she can now walk with just one stick and her balance is improving every day.

Our relationships with the social workers are continuing to strengthen and Emma now has weekly touch points with them to keep abreast of all the situations.

We’ve been working hard at doing lots of paperwork and getting more policies and procedures in place as well as sorting budgets for next year. Although this is sometimes monotonous and mind-boggling, it is very worthwhile and necessary!

Last week we took the staff to the Caledon Spa for their end of year treat. The destination was a surprise but they all loved it and it was a really fun day. We were thankful to have competent volunteers who could take charge of the children’s unit for a few hours so that all the staff could join in.

We’re very happy to welcome Greg who has arrived from France to assist with the sports outreach for six months. He’s dived straight in and is a real hit with the mentors. We’ve been partnering with the local day clinic and have been using the sessions over the past few weeks to educate the children on the need for immunisations as well as making them aware of the dangers of diarrhoea - which can fast become a killer in the challenging environments where many of them reside.

Rainbow Smiles –HIV support group for adolescents
Rainbow Smiles is coming on leaps and bounds:

We have developed a relationship with the Grabouw day clinic, they will be sending a Councillor to the club once a week and will hopefully be involved in planning and moving the club forward.

We have managed to find some adult education for our 17 year old young leader and are hoping he can start this in January.

One of our club members wanted to go to a school prom and could not afford to go, so she asked if we could help her in making things so that she can sell them to raise the money. This is really positive that our young people are not just asking for hand-outs but are looking at ways they can try and solve problems.

The young people also wanted to give back to the community by singing at an old age home. We did this on Friday and we were extremely proud of all the children who sang, danced, played the drums and wrote and read poems out loud. They all did very well particularly as the audience was not very responsive.

Other News:
As well as Greg we’ve been able to welcome Katie from the UK. She is a youth pastor so has a wonderful knack with the kids!

Last month also saw a visit from our extended family from InFocus Church in Augusta. We love hosting these guys and each time they come the do wonders for us both practically and emotionally. And Helen from the USA board popped over to visit too which is always lovely!

Emerging Leaders:
The Leadership for Hope course that took place in October seems to have had a really positive impact on the community. Those who were on the course were asked to share what they had learned and they are all very passionate about it. One of our House Moms attended and shared it with her brother which inspired him to decide to complete his education and Tim has been approached to see whether it can be rolled out to all the employees in the local municipality. It looks like the community have finally been given some training which they can apply to their lives which is very exciting so watch this space!

Skydive for Thembalitsha:
If you are slightly crazy and live in the UK, Ii is now possible to take part in a skydive to raise funds for Thembalitsha.
This is the chance of a lifetime – the only way to experience a skydive without spending thousands of pounds becoming a free-fall parachutist.

• Jump and training completed in one day

• Harnessed to an experienced parachute instructor at all times

• Jump from at least 10,000 feet

• Free fall 5,000 feet, falling at 120 mph

• Landing controlled by instructor

• Choose from 1 of 25 British Parachute Association approved centres across the UK.

Cost of challenge:
You don't pay anything; but you will need to fundraise a minimum of £395 in sponsorship money. We can provide you with lots of fundraising support. A minimum of £115 will go directly to Thembalitsha and the rest covers the cost of your jump. Anything raised over the minimum target will also go to Thembalitsha, providing healthcare, education and training to South Africa's poor.

To book your jump, click here:

For more information contact Carol at

How You Can Help
We are never short of ideas on how you can help us out!!!!
• Become a regular monthly giver - Regular givers are like gold dust to us!!!
• Fundraise – Commit to shave your head, host a quiz night, do a sporting event!!!!! – The possibilities are endless and can raise R10000s with enough enthusiasm!
Pray – need we say more?!

For more information contact us

We rely heavily on committed volunteers to do the stuff here in South Africa. It can be a fantastic way to give (and receive!) However, we do have some criteria you have to meet in order to apply. For more information on volunteering for Thembalitsha please check out our website or email us at

Also, please do NOT book ANY flights before your application form has been accepted. Thank you!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

mission team brings us back infocus

don and his bathroom painting team!
over the last week the village of hope team have welcomed some very familiar faces back onto the project, it is so good to see friends from infocus church in augusta returning year after year to come spend time with us.

six of the team (of ten) have been part of previous mission teams and their willingness to get stuck right in has impressed us once again. it's hard for us to put into words the value that they add during their visit but they have not only been involved in some of the more physical aspects of the daily chores that a six hectare property needs to ensure that things don't get out of hand, such as weedeating and tree felling, but they have added  much value to our spiritual well-being too.

the list of jobs they have undertaken is quite substantial so if you would like to find out more about those and their other experiences during their trip then it's probably best to visit their blog via this link to get their prospective on their time spent with us.