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Maranatha Children's Home
Swimming lessons are giving a much needed boost of self-esteem and life skills to a group of former street children in Port Elizabeth.
Aquarius Swim School owner, Cathy Normann has taken 22 children from Siyakhatala Centre for street children, which forms part of Maranatha Street Workers Trust, under her water wing by giving them swimming lessons free of charge.
According to Maranatha director, Trudi Basson the lessons, which started in February 2010, have meant the world to the children. “Swimming is just one of the many things the children have not been exposed to and the joy on their faces from learning something new has been amazing,” said Trudi.
She said swimming formed part of a list of basic life skills children should have the chance to learn. “Some of the children have never done anything as basic as bake, wash a car or even take a shower and it is empowering them to learn to do something most people take for granted, “ she said.
Cathy has been looking for a way to give back to the community when she was contacted by Maranatha. She immediately agreed to teach the children, aged seven to 17, and refused to accept her usual payment. Now she teaches the children every Sunday afternoon with the help of Lorrain Methodist Church youth club. “it has been an amazing opportunity for everyone involved. The volunteers for the youth club and I get the chance to share something we love and the children from Maranatha have the chance to succeed in something they really enjoy,” said Cathy.
“We are not subsidised by the government so finding people to sponsor the children’s transport costs and school fees is very important, “said Trudi.
The Southdene organisation has three different wings- the Siyakhatala centre for street children, Maranatha for adults and mothers with children, and Youth Space for children who are referred by courts. “