18 Dec 2018
September was a busy month for Home of Hope. In 2015 Home of Hope purchased an old property called Mimosa House. It had been acknowledged by the Board of Home of Hope that as the children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) grew older they began to exhibit more serious behavioural problems particularly physical aggression towards their caregivers. A decision was therefore made to put the children who were in the long term care of Home of Hope into one central home. The home was to continue to have a family type atmosphere (the maximum number of children is 25) but with more support for the caregivers and more centralised services to be provided by the Home of Hope social worker. The renovations took a long time to carry out as they were quite extensive. The property had previously been an old age home for the last 30 years and so was in quite a bad state of repair. Many local and international individuals and organisations generously helped us to undertake the renovations both through donations of time, materials and money.
Finally in Sept 2018 the Dept. of Social Development came to visit Mimosa House for the final time and awarded the home registration as a Child & Youth Care Home. It took a long time and lots of blood, sweat and tears to finalise the registration and so much credit is due to our hard working staff.
To celebrate this registration we had an Open Day at Mimosa House in October. The children were hugely involved by baking cupcakes and serving juice to our funders and also proudly giving them tours of their new home.
Mimosa House has been a long journey and it will continue to be a road with bumps along the way but for now we are blessed to have all the children living in a wonderful new home where they are safe and loved.
4 Mar 2015
Aisling Foley – Project Manager – Special Needs
I am a Cork native and a qualified solicitor. I moved to South Africa to work with Home of Hope in 2009 and I remain here now.
I am the project manager of one of the Home of Hope projects, Amathemba. Amathemba is a special needs school for children suffering from Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD is permanent brain damage caused by pre-natal exposure to alcohol. I also head up a program training professionals like nurses, doctors, lawyers, social workers, etc., about FASD.
In July 2010 we opened our Amathemba School after recognising that many of the Home of Hope supported children suffer from FASD and were not coping in conventional school environment. We also began our own research. In partnership with West Coast Christian School we have developed and are now piloting a schooling model which caters specifically for the special needs of children who suffer from FASD.
These children are neurologically challenged and as such struggle with behavioural, emotional and learning difficulties in varying degrees. Amathemba is the first school in South Africa catering for the specific needs of FASD and neurologically challenged children. The progress that the children attending Amathemba School are making is truly remarkable.
January was a busy month for Amathemba school. After 4 years under the guidance and wing of our partner school West Coast Christian School, we felt confident enough to strike out on our own. The main reason was that we needed more classrooms in order to take in more students. We haven’t moved too far just to the upper floor of a local church. Our staff were amazing to help us make this move in a short period of time. Everyone rowed in helping to move desks, books, equipment etc. We managed to get it over the line and welcome our old students and some new students back to Amathemba on January 21st. We were so proud of our children. Because they are brain damaged, change and transition is s big thing for them. We were expecting lots of meltdowns but low and behold they never came! Instead the children have really excelled in having their own school. They even take turns to hold assembly and prayer on Friday mornings. We hope to have many happy years ahead in our new home!
Amathemba website: http://www.homeofhope.co.za/