SOCIAL COMMITMENT AT BOHLE

All over the world, the SOS Children's Villages organisation gives disadvantaged children a loving home in which they experience security, individual support and school education. In this way, they regain their trust and grow into self-confident people. Bohle takes its corporate responsibility very seriously. Since 2019 we have been committed to the SOS Children's Village Project in Ennerdale (South Africa) in order to offer children and young people there a promising future.

SOS CHILDREN´S VILLAGE ENNERDALE

Johannesburg is South Africa´s largest city. Some of the country´s biggest Townships are located here where thousands of children grow up in poverty and suffer from social exclusion right from the cradle. These children are in need of support to grow into self-confident and successful adults.

The consequences of Apartheid are still visible today

Ennerdale is a suburb of Johannesburg, constructed in the 1970s by the local authorities with the intention of creating a new kind of Township for the local ethnic population. The aim was to achieve economic independence while at the same time maintaining racial segregation. Of course, the urban planning strategies of the Apartheid regime now belong to the past, however, most of Johannesburg´s poor Townships are still mainly inhabited by historically segregated communities. These areas are often culturally disadvantaged; there is a lack of parks or cultural centres and of fresh or frozen food (e.g. flour or bakery products). The supply shortages can be mainly attributed to bad access roads.

Many Townships lack sewage systems, running water and electricity. The infrastructure is badly in need of renovation. Many inhabitants do not own the land, have built their houses without authorisation, and are therefore not entitled to public services.

Many children disadvantaged from birth

The population of Johannesburg amounts to more than 3.7 million people. Johannesburg remains a deeply divided city. During the Apartheid regime, it was divided into eleven municipalities: seven of them inhabited by white people of whom 90% were self-sufficient, whereas four were inhabited by black people of whom only 10% were economically independent. In the past decades, the city´s population has increased sevenfold. Nowadays, two thirds of the inhabitants live in poverty, 72 percent of them are black. Ennerdale now belongs to the 11th administrative region, mainly inhabited by black Africans, has a very low income level, and 70 percent of its settlements are informal.

Many of the children born here are disadvantaged from the very beginning. They grow up in poverty under precarious conditions. The criminal and unemployment rates are high, and many do not have access to education. These children have a short life expectancy and are more likely to suffer from illnesses and dwarfism. Not only is their physical, but also their mental and cognitive development endangered, which again leads to violence, aggressions, crimes, drug abuse and family disruptions. Children growing up in poverty suffer from social marginalisation and discrimination and find it hard to develop self-confidence. If they do not receive any support, their problems grow worse once they become adolescents.

Our work in Johannesburg

SOS Children´s Village started its activities in Johannesburg in 1984 in the Ennerdale suburb. 

Family Strengthening: Our SOS Social Centre launches support measures for the distressed population. We especially focus on families suffering from HIV/AIDS, and conduct HIV/AIDS education and prevention campaigns. In addition, we help families in need, for example by paying their school fees or providing them with school uniforms. We offer psychological support and offer income promotion counselling for parents to become economically independent. We also try to prevent family disruption for children to grow up in a loving home.

Care within families: Children from the region who are not able to stay with their parents any longer will find a loving home with one of 11 SOS families in Ennerdale. Here, they and their siblings are looked after by SOS mothers in a caring environment. Some of the SOS families live in houses within the community. The children go to school or kindergarten together with the children from the community, they make friends and are therefore well integrated into their environment already at a young age.

Support for young adults: Young people who outgrow their SOS families and would like to do an apprenticeship, go to university or look for work can move into the SOS Youth Facilities where they are accompanied by qualified youth workers during their transition into adult life. Of course, they remain in close contact with their SOS mothers and their siblings.

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