Happy place… the place where one feels a sense of belonging and joy. It is a place that makes you come alive and where love is in abundance. That place for 17 year old Simiso Mbelu (pseudonym) is the Drop-in Centre in Zola, Soweto.
Simiso is always willing to participate in the programme. He influences good behaviour amongst his peers, participates in activities, is part of the Soweto Beneficiaries Forum and attends his therapy sessions that involve music, dancing and kickboxing. Simiso’s face lights up as soon as he hears a beat. Nicknamed Majaivana (great dancer) by his peers and childcare workers, Simiso has used dance as a coping mechanism and as a distraction from the strained relationship with his mother.
Simiso lives with his aunt (legal guardian) and the rest of his maternal family. His mother lived with her boyfriend and Simiso’s younger sibling for years and only came back home recently. Simiso is not doing well academically – he is currently repeating Grade 10 and received a less than 50% average in the first school term. Simiso is a happy young man and believes his dreams are valid and that they will come true. He dreams of attending a dance school and becoming a professional dancer. “I started dancing at the age of 5 at a local club and am still dancing today. Dancing is my passion and I truly love it. It means a lot to me. I don’t think I would be able to cope if I had to stop dancing”, says Simiso.
At the programme, Simiso receives assistance with his school work and gets to dance his heart away. Simiso has a place that he can be himself and be at peace, even if it is only for a few hours. The drop-in centre is a happy place for many of our beneficiaries and we are grateful to partners and donors that have helped create this kind of space for children like Simiso. Your involvement in such programmes makes a huge difference in the lives of our children, their families and the community at large.
With a monthly contribution of anything from R85 up, YOU can ensure that children like Simiso will have a happy place where they can have some peace and develop their talents.