If things weren’t bad enough already, South Africa is suffering from the effects of El Niño. This weather phenomenon occurs every ve to seven years. The drought relentlessly torments animals and people – at least those who do not have air conditioning, which includes all those living in Orange Farm. Orange Farm is not a thriving garden as the name would suggest. It is the fourth largest township in Johannesburg. People call it a slum, a favela, and other things as well. Around 80,000 people live in huts in a densely packed area. They have little work and few chances of escaping this dreary life. And then there is the heat.
We arrive at project RiseUp just as dark clouds are churning and thunder is rolling in the distance. We are accompanied by Adélle Nel and Christo Saaymon from Sixt South Africa. In their spare time, they take care of projects in the townships and make sure that the resources of the Regine Sixt Children’s Aid Foundation are used properly. In front of us is an SUV from JAM, our South African partner organization that makes sure that the projects are successfully implemented.
In the past, there were only makeshift containers and shacks for the children. Today, there is a colorful building. It has been painted by JAM volunteers, including Letizia Garappa from Sixt Switzerland, who has been working locally as a volunteer. The kitchen and bathrooms are in good shape. There is a playground and vegetable garden next to the house. JAM also trains the teachers who work here. The name RiseUp is therefore highly tting for the project. The young children are optimally prepared to take their lifes in their own hands and to no longer be victims of circumstance.
Mahou is the name of the second day care center in Orange Farm that is supported by the Children’s Aid Foundation. Through the support of Drying Little Tears and JAM, the day care center received a new, insulated, prefabricated building with a concrete foundation, four rooms, a kitchen, and toilets. The site was also equipped with a stable new fence. After a local construction company erected the building and fence, the building was painted in bright colors, a jungle gym was set up in the playground, and a vegetable garden and trees were planted. The rooms were furnished with mattresses, blankets, tables, and chairs as well as educational games and learning materials.