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Youth matters: Gauteng helps child-headed households

When her mother passed away in 2008, Nthabiseng became one of many young people in Gauteng who are forced to look after their siblings at a tender age while struggling to make ends meet. Through the help of the GautengDepartment of Local Government and Housing and the private sector, living conditions for Nthabiseng and her family have improved considerably.

As part of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign last November, the Gauteng government joined hands with the private sector to change the lives of 16 child-headed families in the province. Some received new houses, while existing houses including Nthabiseng's house, received major renovations or were extended.

A better future

MEC Humphrey Mmemezi visited three of the 16 families who benefited from the project. He said he was pleased that government departments had joined hands with the private sector to assist these families. 

Urging the young orphans to look after each other and take their schoolwork seriously, Mmemezi said the new houses should be a start for them to prepare for a better future. "I hope the new homes will be used by all of you to break the shackles of poverty and become something good in life. 

"We all need assistance to stand up, but there is a time in life when you will have to stand on your own. This can only be achieved through determination and dedication to your school work."

Donation of furniture

Mmemezi also visited the child-headed family of 18-year-old Olinda Mentor in Kagiso. Olinda, who is in Grade 12, looks after her nine-year-old younger sister who is in Grade 4. Their house was renovated, and they received a donation of much-needed furniture. Olinda thanked the MEC saying that this would make life much easier for them.

Another beneficiary, Phuthi Morena (21) of Diepsloot in Johannesburg, was also forced to leave school to take care of her siblings. After their father was killed in 2007 and their mother died in 2008, she had to take over the household. When their house was extensively improved and enlarged to provide the family with much better living conditions, Phuthi was overjoyed, saying it was like a dream come true.