Margaret’s House is a registered non-profit residential centre based in Lansdowne, Cape Town. Established in 1987 by the initiative of five Anglican churches, the property was left by a church member called Margaret who stated in her last will and testament that her home was to be left for street children from the area. The home currently accommodates 17 boys ranging between the ages of 7 and 18 who are referred by children’s court, who are in need of care and protection outside of the family environment.
This, day 6 of the 16 Days for Youthcampaign, has once again demonstrated how many organisations are suffering under financial constraints and simply cannot rely on the government grants alone. Although Margaret’s House has a 99-year lease agreement, the maintenance and upkeep is the responsibility of the administrators. The subsidy is nowhere near enough to cover all the monthly expenses, which are often carried by the staff and neighbours themselves. The house is derelict. 17 Boys share four rooms and the interior leaves much to be desired.
But despite their living conditions, the house is more than that, it’s a home. They are so loved and cared for by a wonderful couple, house parents, Frank and Melanie Harris. The Harris’ have been social workers for over a decade and have been at Margaret’s House for just over four years. The pair and are incredibly involved in the lives of these young boys, including transporting the boys to school and sports activities 7 days a week.
The pair were overwhelmed by the support of the station and its listeners yesterday as donations flooded in. Businesses and individuals streamed in with support. Groceries were dropped off; clothes were brought to the house. One listener dropped off a large bag of new shoes, and literally gave the shoes he was wearing when he left; walking off barefoot. An upholstery team came to the house and reupholstered the couches, on site. Painters, tilers, builders and members of the public stopped at the house to offer their services to give the house a much needed mini-renovation.
A stunned Melanie shared with us her shock at the generosity of the listeners in the community, “We had no idea just how much of a difference today was going to make. We are shocked at the massive support from listeners and local businesses that have given generously of their time, money and services. I can’t wait to see the faces of the boys when they come home to this.”
The various programmes offered at the home focus on providing developmental and therapeutic life-skills at least five days a week, where volunteers spend time on homework, bible studies, mentorship programs and much more. Weekends the boys are active, playing soccer and baseball for their local clubs.
In partnership with 16 Days for Youth, Baron’s Cape Town and McDonald’s Western Cape have become drop off points for donations of non-perishable food items, until Sunday the 16thof June.
For more information about the initiative, go to http://16daysforyouth.com/
Follow the journey on social media @heart104.9fm or @16DaysForYouth