FOSTER MUM: Child Welfare senior social worker Susan Harty (left) brought presents for the children who are under the care of foster mother Dengiswe “Hilda” Mbolekwa at the Port Alfred Child Welfare foster home last Thursday Picture: ROB KNOWLES
FOSTER mother Dengiswe “Hilda” Mbolekwa is looking forward to the upcoming holiday season and seeing the faces of her three charges as they celebrate Christmas together.
The Port Alfred Child Welfare foster home was opened in February last year, and Mbolekwa was appointed as foster mother to the children in May this year. Currently there are three children in her care – two boys aged eight and nine and a girl aged 10.
Mbolekwa, a qualified pre-school teacher, lives in Bathurst and will be taking the children home with her to celebrate Christmas together with the rest of her family. She is the sister of Ndlambe municipality’s communications officer, Cecil Mbolekwa.
“At this point we have three children at the home, but it can accommodate six in its current configuration,” said Port Alfred Child Welfare senior social worker Susan Harty.
“The home is not a safe house or a halfway house. It is a foster home,” explained Mbolekwa. “The children here are not temporary but will remain here until they are 18 years old. They simply have no other place to go.”
The home is fully furnished, but there are a number of items that are still required such as a chest freezer, a DVD player for the children and single bed duvets. Also the home would be grateful for any donations of food and clothing for the children.
“Any school clothes no longer being used would help us greatly, along with stationery, lunch boxes and other things the children might need,” said Mbolekwa.
Child Welfare receives regular donations from various businesses in the area, and Harty said she would like to thank sponsors such as Feathers Farm, the Soup Kitchen, Sunshine Juice, Kekkel en Kraai and Crazy Cupcakes for supporting them on a regular basis.
“We must also thank the generosity of the people of Port Alfred, without whose help this project would never have even got off the ground,” said Harty.