On Saturday 21 May 2016, students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) brought toys, meals and groceries to approximately 80 children at an orphanage in the inner city. The UJ Constitutional Students Care Committee (CSC Committee 2016) visited the Malaika Orphanage in Hillbrow as part of their community engagement initiative.
Malaika Orphanage Center (MOC) was established as a community-based initiative to support children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, abandoned and neglected children in the South Africa.
“The situation at the orphanage is very sad. Firstly, it is not in a safe environment. The orphanage is situated in the middle of dilapidated flats and the flooring is torn up. Some of the stairs are not safe for the children to climb and most of the windows are completely broken. This frequently brings in the rain, flooding the passages of the flat, as well as the freezing cold winter air,” says Mr Azhar Sakoor, a member of the CSC Committee, and a third-year LLB student at UJ.
“Another issue is that the flat in which the orphanage is based, has no space to accommodate approximately 80 children to sleep in,” he said.
“The number of children at Malaika is never a set number. The caregiver at the orphanage has been taking children off the street in the area whose working parents had nowhere else to leave them. As a result some of these parents never returned for their children. These children are placed in other family homes every night. This increases the instability that these children face on a daily basis,” says Sakoor.
“The Malaika Orphanage was carefully selected by the CSC Committee as one of its projects, after we discovered that this orphanage home is in urgent need of assistance.”
Sakoor went on to say, “Malaika is not an organization that many individuals have heard of, but they are in dire need of any help, especially with food. Some nights the children go to bed without a meal and sleep hungry. For a long time they did not even have running water – a right that we all take for granted.”
“As the CSC Committee members, we needed to do our part in helping to change the lives of these children with as much as we can possibly accomplish within our resources.”
“In doing so, we have raised funds to buy groceries that the orphanage is in need of, by having mini breakfast sales (selling baked goods and hot beverages) in class and around the faculties of the University. In addition to this, the Durban branch of Hirt & Carter donated grocery items towards the Malaika Orphanage.
The CSC Committee also secured a donation from McDonald’s, which donated burgers, juice and a toy for each child at the orphanage.
“The CSC Committee raises funds and organises outreach days to various charitable organisations in the surrounding areas of the University. The selection of these organisations are based on whom we feel requires more attention in comparison to other well-established organisations,” says Sakoor.
Sakoor concluded saying: “Being able to do something good, and to see their gratitude, was truly heart-warming. We are very appreciative of all the help we have received. I am willing to give my time again and again. I hope what we do inspires other students and South Africans, and even more so the ones we helped.”