Thirty years ago, the Vision Child and Youth Care Centre opened in Mountview as a refuge for Muslim children who had been orphaned, abused or abandoned.
It was started by a group of concerned people who found that Muslim children in care homes did not get halaal food or an Islamic upbringing, according to the home’s general manager, Sadique Jacobs.
“One of the group members delivered a package to a children’s home and discovered this. Thereafter, research was done, and we found that 65 children were in the care of non-Muslim homes. At the time, there were 53 children’s homes in the Western Cape, but only one which operated for Muslim girls only. We take our hats off to all children’s homes, but the group felt there was a need for Muslim children who found themselves in children’s homes,” Mr Jacobs said.
The centre, which is now open to all children no matter their religion, started with one child in 1991. Less than two years ago, the home had 63 children, but that number has dropped to 25 because of Covid regulations. The children are aged from 1 to 19.
“The children not only receive food, clothes, and a roof over their heads – there are therapeutic processes also,” said Naeema Meyer, the centre’s managing director. “We have a residential social worker and childcare workers because some of the children experienced trauma or have been sexually abused. We are fortunate that we can offer the children holistic care.”
According to the centre manager, Casiem Mosime, it is funded by three charity shops in Belgravia, Wynberg and Parow as well as its printing of pamphlets and letterheads, among other activities.
Mr Jacobs said the charity shops had actually done well despite the impact of Covid-19.
“People can’t afford new things,” he said. “We also publish a magazine, but that is more to create awareness of our work, and to give exposure to our charity shops.”
Six of the 13 staff are former residents of the home, including its first resident, who is now 35.
The centre has a medical suite, which serves more than 3 000 patients from children’s homes, old-age homes and homes for the disabled. The service is offered for free, but the medication is paid for by the respective homes.
“It is run by 16 medical staff who operate on a roster system,” said Mr Jacobs. “They are all doctors with their own practices, and they volunteer a certain number of hours to give quality health care to the most vulnerable. We also have a madressa, and a thikr group.”
The centre is raising funds to expand and improve the limited parking.
“It is because of the community that we can do our work – all the small donations add up. We also appreciate the community around us. We try to keep everybody happy,” Mr Jacobs said.
Call 021 692 1129 or visit visionchild.org.za for more information.