St Therese Shelter
Life on the Street
The growing number of very young street kids in Makhado town has been a concern for many over the last two years or so. While many of the street kids can be entertaining, some very annoying, yet all live a life exposed to great danger.
For vulnerable children the lure of a care-free life on the streets is strong when compared to a painful family life or a life without a family. Immediate needs are met with food from bins, money from begging and a sense of belonging from the camaraderie of the pack. However for the very young and not so strong, the reality is very different.
It’s not too long before chronic illness sets in and the growing sense of rejection and alienation give way to resentment and bitterness. Very quickly petty offences become serious crimes and the path from substance abuse to alcohol to drug addiction is traveled like many others before.
A New Shelter is Born
Fr. Frank Gallagher msc, known to us from the MSC Drop-In Centre and Night Shelter in Makhado, approached the local authorities with the idea of opening a shelter for young street kids. The result was very positive and ‘St. Therese Shelter for Boys’ has grown from it.
A Place Called Home
The shelter was opened on 8 December 2008 (MSC Foundation Day) with two young boys as the first residents.
Both now attend the local primary school and are returning to normal life. The Shelter caters for boys from 10-15 years who are in need of care. Social services and the SA Police bring the boys to the Shelter. Social Services then try to locate their next of kin and if after a period of time they cannot locate family members they look for a foster home for the boys.
The local Women’s Sodality of St. Anne’s has taken to support the Boys Shelter by way of care and visitation.