Thursday, October 28, 2010

It never rains but ...

Firstly! Thank you! To all of you who have contributed to the survival of the scrapbooking!
We will now be able to continue to make the memories for the babies last :-) I appreciate the quick and generous response to this appeal!

So in keeping with the current "if it can go wrong it will" theme at TLC I have to share our latest "disaster" with you.

In the tremendous wind last night, our power was knocked out for 7 hours! And we woke up to a section of our wall flattened to the ground!
And of course not just any section! No, it is the section that provides a clear view from our chicken houses to the squatters camp and vice versa! (This is not refelcted well in this picture because I'm at an angle so the house you see is the neighbours at the bottom of the TLC property).

a perfect uninterrupted view of units constructed of sheet metal, brand new fencing and new gates! All of which are highly sought after items for those living in the settlement.
This is a classic case of having now to rejuggle priorities! Once again our security becomes the priority and the little bit of money we had managed to accumulate gets diverted into an emergency.

So for now the plan is ...

We will employ an extra security guard for this evening. Today we are going to purchase a couple of bags of cement on credit from our local hardware and tomorrow Rhys will arrange for his 5 local labourers to begin reconstructing the wall. Hopefully it will be completed by Saturday and we can all feel safe again :-)

Lastly, some exciting news :-)

Mom has left for her birthday adventure :-)
It starts as a 3 day break on the Vaal River with her longtime friends Sharon and Heinz. They have been friends for almost 40years!
When she gets back on Monday she packs up and jets off to the coast for 3 weeks!
Thank you all once again for your generosity and willingness to make this dream possible.

Lots of Love

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scrapbooking suffers!

Hello my friends!

I have just come from a meeting with our precious volunteer program managers. Tammy and Anne were very sad to tell me that the scrapbooking we do to provide our babies with a visual link to TLC has hit a big hiccup!

Normally there are weekly get togethers where the babies pictures and memories are collected into beautiful albums that they can take home with them when they get adopted. The making of these albums is a wonderful creative expression of the love the volunteers feel for the babies they have helped care for but it takes stocking a lot of papers, stickers, decals and designs as well as printing many photographs to make each page special.

It costs TLC about R200 per album from start to finish. If anyone is willing to sponsor or send us some scrapbooking bits and bobs we would be so grateful. We have a handful of babies who should be on their way soon and it is unthinkable to have to send them off without their album of treasured memories!

If you can please send some help :-)

We love you all

Here's a link to an SA based outfit Scrapbooking stuff on Bid or Buy

Monday, October 25, 2010

Poetry Practise.

As we near the end of the year, we are occassionally treated to some of the children's achievements!

I know how people often roll their eyes when proud parents want the world to be entertained by their little angels success :-)
For me there is a deeper success to getting these children to perform even slightly well, these children were born into a situation that could have made them believe that they were of no value and had nothing of value to contribute - the very fact that they are willing to try brings us a great deal of joy and satisfaction.

The children have recently had to practise items of poetry for assesment at school. Here is one of the practised items.

Theresa with "Our cultural day"

Theresa is in 2nd Grade, her teacher is Ms Pinto. She has done well this year at school and we are very proud of her.

I tried to load more videos but keep getting an error message so for now this one will have to do :-)

I have a little clip of Khensani playing her saxophone too :-) Khensani was selected to join her school's orchestra last Friday!

Thank you for supporting us so that we can truly take the discarded of our nation and turn them into the chosen ones.

We love you all

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What we've been up to

Hello Friends

It has been a busy and eventful week. We are working hard, as I know many of you are, to help lift TLC out of its current predicament. Thank you all so much for the feedback, the great suggestions and the energy you are putting into helping us out.

This week we have been in meetings mostly. We have been looking at our strategy, our plans for the future and mostly we have been investigating ways to generate a greater awareness of TLC.

These blogs have proved to be a super way of sharing information really quickly, we are looking into other social media too but are very conscious of the stringent privacy laws regarding children in care and so we are handling this very delicately.

We are preparing press releases and have met with a team of marketing, PR and advertisers at our long term corporate sponsor, RICOH. We have many ideas to raise our profile and to get individuals to feel closer to TLC. Ricoh have helped us a lot in the past and continue to purchase a weeks worth of groceries for us every month - their longstanding committed involvement gives us a lot of hope for the future and we are so grateful to them!

We also have friends in Australia now raising funds in two schools, they have managed to get the children excited about helping us out. They have given up time and energy to sell goodies for TLC's benefit and we are so grateful! And the particular family involved will be visiting TLC in the new year! Here is a pic of one Australian event :-)

 Thank you all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A New Week ... A New Hope

My dear friends

One week on and we are still here. Praise God! Thank you to all who have contributed to help us through this terrible time!

I wanted to take this opportunity to explain how we have ended up in this terrible pickle. Many people have asked how it is possible the TLC has come to this point and I feel it necessary to bring some clarity to the matter.

The problem is exactly the reason so many other charities and homes have had to close their doors in the last year.

Firstly donations have become far less since the recession. 66% of TLC's donated income was from foreign donors - this always worked in our favour as all the currencies were stronger than the Rand. Over the last year many of our international donors have either reduced their contributions or stopped them altogether leaving us scrambling to pay our bills. Added to this the strong Rand and we find that many of the donations we do recieve no longer translate into the kind of amounts we used to depend on.

The corporate sponsors in SA are eager to sponsor specific projects, like our lovely chicken houses however they never want to cover your expenses like petrol, medicines, food and salaries - without which the work cannot continue! It is as if the economics of the world have conspired to drown us! The chicken houses for example ... are fantastic but empty for the simple reason that the price of steel skyrocketed after we received the donation to put in the unit, the consequence then was that the cost of the structures ate in to the budget for purchasing the chickens!

The second reason is linked then. The prices of everything have just been going up and up. Our food budget, which has always been one of our biggest expenses, just simply doesn't reflect the actual costs anymore. We used to get by with food costing us about R10 000 a week (which works out to just under R5 per person per meal) but now it costs us at least double that - and it is not that we are eating extravagant food! We still keep to the basics, we are still frugal and are still good at stretching meals for the masses and yet somehow we can no longer afford it.

This is just one example but there are many, like the price of fuel going up when the very nature of TLC requires a lot of driving around, the price of milk going up when children need it. All in all these things have driven TLC to its knees.

We are scrambling to find new ways and open new avenues for funding so that we don't ever lose this place. We are accessing the social media through our blogs,
Mommy's blog

Rhys' blog about TLC farm

The twin's blog

We are working hard to publish online my mother's previous book and she is going away to start writing the second one. We are writing to papers to see if we can get our profile more public and we are praying praying praying that somewhere somehow things will turn around for us.

Again. I am so grateful for the support people have offered and I just know that God will see us through this storm.

We love you all

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Mom's birthday!

The 14th October 1950 was a very special day, I wonder how many people thought so?
How many people could have imagined that the tiny girl born to Dutch immigrants in the quiet mining town of Klerksdorp would one day grow up to save the lives of South Africa's children?

Mom, Joanna and I at my Ouma's house in Crown Gardens (1977)

It is a privilege and delight to be the daughter of such an amazing woman and all I would wish is for her legacy of love, sacrifice and loyalty be continued on through the generations.
It breaks my heart that we are in such dire straits at this time. Instead of a late morning with breakfast in bed, she is up at the crack of dawn looking for answers to our current predicament.

I am so grateful to those of you who were able to contribute towards her birthday. Through your help we have been able to arrange a trip for her to the sea for a while in November!

It is our hope that she will be in an inspiring enough environment to begin writing her 2nd book.
For those of you that would like to read the first book, WATCH THIS SPACE, we will be loading it on as an ebook as soon as we can!

We love you all and are so grateful for each contribution you are able to make.
Remember us in your prayers.
Lots of Love

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Hello Friends,

I am moved and honoured that you have found the time to come and read about what is important to me – it is my hope that what I share makes some contribution to the deeper meaning of your own lives too and that you take away a little something special each time.

It had always been my intention to keep this blog upbeat and positive. Not just another “whiney” website where people feel worse when they leave than when they arrived!

So please read to the end of today’s entry! I will try making it end more positively than it begins!

This has been another difficult week (on top of about 30 other difficult weeks) for us, we have been struggling to pay for all the things we need and it is making us rather unpopular. The costs of simple necessities like bread and milk have to be weighed up against the cost of our security. Having petrol has to be prioritised over dustbin bags and washing powder.

It is the first time for me that I really feel like we may lose this fight and in losing it we lose our babies and our life’s work.

Mom has always had more faith but I watch her frantically sending out emails and prayers hoping for what now needs to be a miracle. I hope that in some small way my prayers join hers and yours to make that happen.

During my sleepless night last night I was praying and all that kept coming to me was the phrase “Give us this day our daily bread” over and over again. It made me think that maybe I need to just focus on managing each day and not looking too far ahead. It’s hard – doing that.

It goes against TLC’s visionary nature to look only at the here and now. What about my children’s future! What happens when we have to say “That’s it. No More. It’s over”? I cannot bear the thought! I was plotting (in my humanity) yesterday of what we could do to pay the security company... sell all the TV’s, let staff go? In the end even selling everything would not be enough to keep our children fed and in school.

Please God, we need a miracle.

As things stand today, we have enough to barely survive 3 months.

We need our community; we need our friends to motivate everyone they know to do a little something.

SO here comes the positive part 

These blogs have reached over 6000 people! Imagine if each of those people could do something small, with family or friends or colleagues. 6000 small contributions would go a long way to saving TLC.

Have book sales, have bake sales, have dinner parties, and have fashion shows. Encourage people to read the websites, ask paediatricians to put leaflets in their offices. Ask schools to adopt a cot. Be creative, Be inspired and Be a Hero!

Please, please help TLC get through this.

We could not bear to lose our children!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Hello Friends,

One of my favourite stories or analogies that never ceases to motivate me when times are tough is the following one.

" The was once an old man out taking a walk on the beach at sunset after a terrible storm had passed. As he walked he noticed thousands upon thousands of tiny starfish that had been washed up onto the beach as a result of the violent weather. He walked further feeling a little overwhelmed and sad with all the loss around him when he looked up and spotted a young girl. She was standing as close to the waters edge as possible and she was picking up one tiny starfish at a time and flinging it as far out as possible into the welcoming water. Time and time again she lifted a starfish and flung it to safety. The old man approached her and watched a little longer, she was so intent on her purpose she paused only to give him a quick smile. Taking the opportunity the old man said 'Don't you think you should just give up? There is no way you could save all of them, there are too many!'
The young girl looked into the old mans weather beaten face and said, 'I know I cannot save them all but to the ones I do save I am making the world of difference!'
The old man wandered away, every now and then stooping old bones to pick up a tiny starfish and fling it into the ocean."

I love this story.
I know it is told in several variations but this one is my favourite. I love the hopeful realism of the girl but mostly I love the innocent lesson taught to an old man who realised he too can make 'a world of difference' .

It is so easy to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the worlds problems, making a difference becomes easier when you face the reality that even the smallest attempt will make a difference in the lives of those around you.

This story has been on my mind a lot this week. We have a lot on our collective plate at present and are facing some difficult choices. Choices that may mean scaling down and acknowledging that we can not save as many as we would like but we know that to date there are 760 children safer, healthier and more loved than they would have been had we not been standing on the waters edge.

We Love You All

Friday, October 1, 2010

THIS Blog IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Please be patient with me!

Hello Friends

I hope that very soon I can begin sharing some of my heart with you.
My life is like an intricate tapestry, each thread linked between, inside, on top of and through another.
It's complicated, and difficult to understand when you look at small pieces but when you can step back and look at the whole thing ... well I just think it's beautiful :-)

I hope these pages will start putting the big picture before you and that you will take what you think is valuable and leave behind the things that are not.

Be forgiving when you see weakness.
Be loving when you see love.
Think great thoughts.