Exactly one year ago, I posted a story about Khulani, an orphanage in South Africa supported in part by sales of Soul of Africa fair trade shoes. The post continues to draw steady interest. Here are extracts from an encouraging update on the project, a recent report by Lance Clark from the JA Clark Trust :
Firstly, we have restored the original orphanage, Khulani 1, rebuilding and painting the exterior walls, stripping out the worn carpets, varnishing the floor, replacing outworn furniture etc. The garden, previously a muddy littered eyesore, has been tidied: there is a flower garden and two vegetable patches where the kids are growing fresh vegetables. Helped by the now respectable environment, the kids are keeping it clean and tidy. The little school in the grounds is still operating.
I met the manager from Project Build, who will be building the new orphanage. Project Build . . . specialise in building high quality schools and orphanages to help disadvantaged kids, and to provide local employment. Because their overheads are lower and they can obtain the materials at a lower price, their quote is much lower than the previous quotes. We have asked them to give us drawings of very attractive buildings. There will be six children with a foster mother in each separate house so that they can feel part of a family rather than being in an institution. In the playground is a large jacaranda tree and I have asked Project Build for a tree house plan. Anyone interested to sponsor?
Because the quote has come in lower, and because the sales of the Khulani shoes are climbing faster than ever (it accounts for 12% of the total sales in one South African footwear chain; Larks are contributing £10 a pair) the income more than covers the cost of building and running the orphanages. So we are now paying for a number of beds in a babies hospital called Shepherd's Keep. I visited this immaculate and friendly hospital providing a home for abandoned orphans set up and run by an inspirational Durban couple. I saw two twins found in a bag in a local park and another baby found left in a toilet. The babies are nourished, properly clothed and then all found foster parents who adopt them and give them a decent life.
Currently though there are many abandoned babies. Through shortage of funds, not all the beds are being used. So we are sponsoring more babies to have this special opportunity.
. . . . .
Thank you so much for your help. If you have time to visit Durban, they would love to show you how you have helped.