Khulani Aids Orphanage
Khulani children's home is an aids orphanage that currently houses 20 children ranging from the ages of 9 to 17 years old. Many of these children were neglected, abused or raped before they came to live in the Khulani home.
Shoes South Africa Charitable Trust became involved back in 2002 when they met Ms Prudence Mwandla who had opened up a daycare center for children only to find that desperate relatives were being forced to leave children orphaned by Aids in her care.
"You cannot judge people when they feel overwhelmed. It is better for them to bring the children to our home than to abandon them on the streets," said Ms Mwandla.
The home is totally dependant on donations form the public and businesses. The Trust began taking prospective customers from the United Kingdom footwear industry to visit the home.
"Instead of taking these customers to the game reserve we took them to Khulani to try and encourage them to give donations to the orphanage," said Sarah Gedye.
"We did something different we showed them a project we were involved in and they were all humanely affected by it," said director of Michelle Footwear Mike Gedye.
Through the charitable trusts involvement in Khulani, Graham Jenkins a Scottish businessman who does a lot of business in South Africa became involved.
He began to use his contacts in the United Kingdom to bring customers out to see the home. An old friend of his Lance Clark from Clark's Footwear who came out to South Africa on a fact-finding mission about local shoe factories was taken to Khulani and he was generous enough to donate money for school fees and uniforms for all the children at Khulani.
"Our customers realised coming to Africa, that where they come from Aids is just a word and here it is a reality. There they just know how to spell it. Everybody we brought to Khulani was emotionally affected," said Mike Gedye.
The Khulani home was eventually moved to new premises in Redhill, which was purchased using donations from the local community, Michelle footwear and Graham Williamson U.K. The new home was in a derelict state. Through donations from Shoes South Africa charitable trust and Lance Clark U.K. the house now has electricity and plumbing, and has been made assessable through the construction of a driveway. Bunk beds have been purchased the home is a lot more comfortable for the children.
"It is our aim to provide these children not only with the basics like shelter, food and education; but also to give them hope that life is worth smiling about," said Sarah Gedye.
The home has received many donations of clothing linen and toys through their appeals to the public.
"We had nothing when we arrived at this shelter. Today we have most things in Abundance. I wish the public could do the same for other shelters that also need help," said Ms. Mwandla.
The department of Works in Kwazulu-Natal has recently donated a site worth R200 000 which will be used to set up another home.
This site will be developed into a cluster house complex comprising of individual 3 bedroom houses; each dwelling will accommodate 6 children and a housemother.
"I am truly overwhelmed by the generosity of people, especially the department of works, as we could not afford the site on our own. If I could, I would take in many more children, but you can only do so much at a time," said Ms. Mwandla.