The Abraham Kriel Family Care Programme in Westbury is based in a community that has for years been the poster child for negative images such as poverty, drugs, crime and abuse. Over the years the programme has helped many children and families in Westbury and surrounding areas find a way to carve a better future for themselves. The Modise brothers, Donald and Abner, whose story you can see in the video here are a good example.

However, not every story has a happy ending.

Packson Mampuru, Social Auxilliary Worker at the Abraham Kriel Family Care programme, Westbury campus  relates with sadness the story of two more talented boys, who did very well while they were on the programme. They excelled in sports and academically and thrived on the after school activities offered by the programme.  After they exited the programme their home environment triumphed however. They dropped out of school and entered the family business of drug dealing. This emphasises our concern that our job isn’t done just because a child turns eighteen.

In 2015, two girls then aged 5 and 6 were placed on the programme. Their mother is unemployed and a drug addict and she often moves from one place to another. In August 2017 the family was dealt a severe blow when it lost two important women (great grandmother and grandmother) within a week of one another. The children’s grandfather is wheelchair bound and can’t do a lot of things by himself. His condition is critical and the family is looking to place him in an old age home. This would mean that the family will lose their only source of income as they are sustained by his disability grant. Due to the loss of the grandmother and the toxic environment the family is in, the girls and their two-year-old sibling were temporarily placed in a place of safety. Alicia, their grandmother, was their legal guardian at the time of her passing. The programme was able to donate R1500 towards the funeral and provide the family with much needed bereavement counseling. The children have now been permanently placed at the Nazareth House in Yeoville and are doing well. “We call and check up on the children and often visit the grandfather because they are still family to us”, adds Packson.

Drug abuse is the main cause of the instability and dysfunction in many of the households we deal with in the Westbury community. We hope and pray that these young girls can grow up to change this family’s narrative now that they’ve found a place to call home.