KwaZulu-Natal has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS resulting in large numbers of orphans left in the care of grandparents or fending for themselves in child-headed households.
Focus on iThemba was founded in 2003 by Danie van den Heever, who recognised the devastating effects that millions of orphans would have on their local communities. He established iThemba cluster foster care model, targeting KwaZulu-Natal, earning the attention of UNICEF and recognition from the South African government as a ‘Best Practice Model’.
IThemba is a place of HOPE, where vulnerable children are loved and nurtured in foster homes, each headed by a committed married couple. In addition an independent school, the iThemba Academy, has been established on the campus. Here children enjoy an individualized educational programme in an environment in which they are encouraged to achieve.
In January Bronwyn Peacock, Sika’s Marketing manager visited iThemba’s premises which house their foster homes, offices and school. She offered Sika’s support by potential sponsoring of improvements to their building environments through product donation. “iThemba needed flooring, waterproofing and basic maintenance of the building. They have made the children so comfortable in their beautiful classrooms but a renovation to the floors would just finish it off. On my site visit, Mike Loubser, who takes care of the maintenance of the premises, showed me the new classrooms that needed some serious attention to the floor.” Said Bronwyn. Sika, as part of their social responsibility programme, and in conjunction with CLF (Concrete Laser Flooring) has now taken on the project, which will comprise the construction/renovation of some 300m² of floors. The work began with tackling the two new classrooms, ensuring they will be ready for the new term starting on 11 April.
On 14 April, Sika staff officially ‘handed’ over the new floors at Focus on iThemba. The children made beautiful ‘Thank you’ pictures to decorate the walls, showing their appreciation for the new floors. More projects are sure to follow in the coming months. A big thank you goes to Nadine Wright, Manager of Donar Relations, for ensuring that the project ran smoothly, and to Lance Howarth from CLF for ensuring that the floors were professionally applied. We anticipate a mutually rewarding, ongoing relationship with the staff and school children at Focus on iThemba.