The Story of OSHOEK Community
In 2009, Hands at Work founder George Snyman stood overlooking Oshoek with a friend, a pastor, who said, “It’s the worst community I’ve ever seen”. Then he met a local principal who said, “So many of the orphans are disorientated. They don’t even know what day it is”. Since that day, Hands at Work has been building a relationship with Bambanani Community Based Organisation (CBO). The greatest challenge faced by the community is their location. Oshoek is on the border crossing between South Africa and Swaziland. As a major trucking route, this area is notorious for prostitution, making the women extremely vulnerable. Food in this isolated location is very expensive and there are little opportunities for employment. Other challenges in Oshoek include the great population of citizens from Swaziland, the cold weather, and the very spread out and isolated homes.
Children currently supported: 50
Number of Care Workers: 5
Coordinator Name: VICTORIA
Distance from OSHOEK Local Office: 1 km
Basic Services Started: 2008
The Care Workers of Bambanani CBO walk huge distances to visit 50 of the most vulnerable children. Visiting orphaned and vulnerable children in their homes is the foundation of everything Hands at Work does. Community volunteers, who regularly visit the children, build up strong relationships enabling them to support each child physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This also helps them to accurately assess each child’s needs and make a plan for how to best intervene and provide sustainable care for them.
Recognising that on weekends the children are more vulnerable, Bambanani CBO made the selfless decision to cook and provide care to children seven days every week. With the help of Hands at Work there has been much progress on the Care Point where Care Workers provide children with essential services such as food security, basic health and basic education. In the beginning of 2016 at the Care Point, benches were built inside the shelter for children to sit on, toilets were constructed and a fence was put up. These projects have really helped to bring Bambanani CBO closer to becoming a Life Centre.
In 2019, due to a change in Government policy, children who do not have proper legal documentation to attend school will no longer be permitted. The Hands at Work local office teams in Hazyview and Oshoek are working hard to make plans for the children and families this will directly affect. Hands at Work is seeking to understand the increased vulnerability our children face, not only due to the lack of education and regular routine, but in their day-to-day living. Hands at Work sees the Life Centre in each community as an opportunity to facilitate the growth and development for each child affected. Programs to facilitate learning, skills and development will be introduced at our Life Centres over the course of the first few months of 2019, allowing each child to have a place where they feel loved and a sense of belonging.
Nonyameko* lives with three other siblings and her single mother who is also caring for a mentally ill uncle. Family life has been very tough for eight-year-old Nonyameko, and her brother and sisters. The Care Workers care deeply about Nonyameko and her family and have intervened by showing them God’s love and grace on a daily basis, supporting them through difficult challenges.
The Hands at Work office in Oshoek currently supports six Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Bambanani. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.