On Mandela Day 2018, EE Publishers donated food and clothes to Footprints PLAY at Lammermoor, near Lanseria International Airport, Gauteng, and discovered a home where children of all ages grow up together in the “rainbow family” provided for them by Dr. Yolandi Zafi and her team of volunteers.
Just over a decade ago, Yolandi, a qualified master trainer for the Professional Parenting Programme and an expert in identity development and behavioral counseling, felt that disadvantaged children often find refuge at places of safety, only to be returned to their “original” lives a few months later. This moved her to found Footprints PLAY (Participating in the Lives of Africa’s Youth) with her daughters, Sylvia and Kerry-Lee, to create a permanent home environment emphasising healthy family life and childhood development.
Yolandi provides life coaching and counselling, workshops on conflict resolution, stress management, communication and inter-personal relationships to the surrounding communities to help generate funds to support the home.
Today, they are assisted by a dedicated team of volunteers who help to raise some 30 foster children of different ages and cultures in a home environment of love, care and the security of family life while being educated and equipped with essential life skills.
The children range in ages from one year to 21 and aren’t expected to leave home at 18 as is the case with many children’s homes (as opposed to Footprints PLAY, which is a “home full of children”).
At this home, the children are encouraged to pursue their passions to the point where they can use them not just to enter the employment market, but to become employers themselves.
Footprints is registered with the Department of Education and provides home schooling for most of the children in co-operation with a local school.
The family believes that, once the heart of a community can be changed, the heart of the city and, ultimately, the heart of the nation will follow suit. They are therefore closely involved with a total of eight communities, where they play a part in the lives of disadvantaged youth.
In terms of sponsorship, Zafi says it is difficult to find sponsorship due to the fact that corporates expect “mileage” in the form of public exposure of the children. This, of course, is not possible under child protection legislation. While South Africans are willing to sponsor endeavours such as Footprints PLAY, they are hesitant to become involved and to give of their time. Most volunteers at the home are from other countries and work as house parents.
Footprints does not only work with children, but also provides counseling for adults who have been victims of crime (at no charge) in collaboration with the South African Police Service.
Footprints PLAY aims to establish an on-base facility offering accredited training for prospective foster and adoptive parents, and to add a bedroom for the older girls. The home has many needs which can only be fulfilled with the help of donations and funding. These projects include a generator; building materials; floor tiles; school stationary; a printer; art supplies; furniture; toiletries; cleaning material; clothing and all food items.
Contact Yolanda Zafi, Footprints PLAY, Tel 082 829-1680, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: EE plublishers