Joyful celebrations took place at Just Care Aftercare in Mount Pleasant on Friday to mark their fourth birthday. Several benefactors and volunteer supporters and staff members attended the event at Just Care’s premises in Malva Street and were treated to a concert and refreshments, including a magnificent cake baked by the Rondavel Cake Café.
It is heart-warming to see how the approximately 130 primary school children who find a refuge at Just Care are flourishing under the watchful eye of founder and trustee Jacquie Rathfelder, with the support of her staff and several volunteers. The children are fetched from their schools and brought to the double-storey Just Care building after school, where they receive a nutritious lunch and take part in structured activities during the afternoon. These include doing their homework under supervision, taking part in sports with volunteer coach Thomas Lebitsa from Abagold, and reading, art and knitting classes offered by volunteers.
Before construction of the centre was completed at the end of 2017, Just Care Aftercare, founded in May 2015, had been operating from Mount Pleasant Primary School. They were in dire need of their own premises and were overjoyed to receive a generous donation of just under R500 000 from Lighthouse 2 Lighthouse as the 2017 Ladies Walk’s charity of choice. The new centre has a reception area, canteen, kitchen, bathrooms, library, classrooms and a small garden where the children can play.
The need is so great, however, that the premises are already inadequate in accommodating all the children requiring care. Jacquie says it pains her to turn parents away, but the centre is already stretched to the limit and the waiting list grows ever longer.
Just Care Aftercare was founded by Jacquie and her mom, Claudine Rathfelder, in memory of her father, John, who had been a teacher for 25 years, and provides a safe haven for the many children whose parents work full time and who were previously left to their own devices after school hours, without proper care, structured activities, guidance or supervision. “Children require a nurturing touch in order to grow and prosper. Our team of staff and volunteers provide this care on a daily basis,” says Jacquie. “It is a huge undertaking and we often feel overwhelmed, but to see these children bloom makes it all worthwhile.”
To find out how you can assist this project by making a donation or by sponsoring an underprivileged child, visit www.justcare.co.za/donations. They are also in dire need of clothes, especially shoes and socks, toys, books, sports equipment, and chairs for the dining room and classrooms.