Protection and a roof over their heads
All the accommodation blocks are stable, dry and fitted with adequate sanitary facilities. The children sleep four to a room, and there is a simple kitchen with a dining table and a covered veranda. We play inside the village and out, and there are places where the kids can go to do their school work in peace and quiet. There are no material luxuries, but at the same time, everyday life in the children’s village is a wonderful thing.
Take the example of Joy, who is now 12. She came to Kids of Africa when she was two years old, traumatised and undernourished. Together with her older siblings, she is now an important pillar of the family. Like all children, Joy takes on certain tasks, including looking after the younger children, housework and gardening.
The mother usually has her own bedroom, but this is often shared with babies or sick children, so that they do not disturb the other kids. And in any case, the mothers are on duty round the clock, when the little ones need comforting in the night, or making a little breakfast for all the children before they go to school. The mothers are up and working before five o’clock, since that is the time when the children start brushing their teeth, getting dressed and having breakfast, while at 6 am, most of them have to be on their way to school already.
Children need routine
Food is always prepared and eaten together. Our mothers have a fixed budget to buy food either from our own Kids of Africa farm or also at the market.
Hygiene is very important in a large family. Bed linen has to be washed regularly, mosquito nets checked, toothbrushes clearly marked and so forth – though these are a matter of course.
Children’s birthdays are very special days. On the day that they arrive at Kids of Africa, each child is also allocated a particular celebration day. We celebrate these days both in the family and out in the village. At least once a month, all ten families share an evening meal, when cakes are also baked and the children can each have a soft drink. There is music, dancing and gifts, and these days often create some magic memories.