In 2007, a small group of friends began spending time at the Masigcine Children’s Home in Mfuleni as part of their community outreach. They soon realised three things: that there are many more homes and orphans in South Africa that need love, care and attention; that there is a real need for sustainable maintenance and support for these vulnerable homes and greater awareness of their existence and plight; and lastly, that there are many more people across society willing and able to get involved in the upliftment of children and communities.
Driven by the desire to bring together society’s willing contributors and communities in need with the goal of making a real and tangible impact on the lives of South Africa’s most vulnerable children, Newkidz on the Block (Newkidz) was born. The organisation has grown from its humble beginnings and became a successful vehicle to contribute to society through the renovation and maintenance of children’s homes, foster family accommodation, shelters for abused women and children, and Early Childhood Development Centres.
Vision and Objectives
Newkidz’ vision is to create awareness and support for orphans as well as vulnerable and destitute children in South Africa (Western Cape), in the hope that many of them will be integrated into loving family homes.
The organisation was established with the primary objective to renovate and maintain children’s homes, foster family accommodation, shelters for abused women and children, and Early Childhood Development Centres.
Through the awareness raised by its renovation projects and ongoing engagement with the volunteers who support it, the organisation also aims to achieve the following secondary objectives:
- Network with child-support facilities in the communities, identify potential foster and adoptive parents at Newkidz’ various projects, and then link them together;
- Promote foster care to the general public and offer guidance to foster families.
The foundation of this organisation’s efforts to uplift orphans and vulnerable children lies in its extreme renovation and maintenance projects. Newkidz’ projects dramatically transform the structure, facilities, and aesthetics of care centres, shelters and educares in need. The organisation does this by partnering with corporate sponsors, as well as utilising volunteers from the community and broader public to execute the physical labour required for each renovation project, completing approximately three to six weeks’ worth of work in just one to three days.
During the execution of a makeover, Newkidz constantly highlights the needs of that centre and the children in its care. Volunteers are actively encouraged to commit to involvement beyond the project, as well as to become host parents (and potentially foster parents), through targeted communications and media campaigns on site.
Newkidz prides itself in its long-term relationships and continuous involvement with the beneficiaries of the organisation’s makeover projects, revisiting each within six months, and regularly after that, in order to identify new issues that have arisen as well as to address possible maintenance needs, so as to ensure the environment and the care given serve and uplift the children as intended.
Challenges and Opportunities
There are a great number of shelters, care centres and educares in need of the physical support and upliftment that Newkidz provides, and this number is constantly growing. There are over three million orphans in South Africa, and that number, too, is growing at a rapid rate. This organisation’s challenge is to reach more and more care and education centres in order to make a real difference in the lives of many more orphans and vulnerable children, but within the constraints of limited funding and resources.
Newkidz identifies many truly worthy potential project beneficiaries, but it is sadly limited in the number of projects that it can actually undertake, as they are currently dependent on direct, project-specific sponsorship, rather than a regular or substantial source of ongoing funding. The organisation’s greatest challenge after five years of contribution and growth is to source sufficient funding to increase the number of projects it can undertake annually, as well as to sustain the ongoing operations of the organisation. Newkidz currently directly channels over 90 percent of all funds received, and all payments in kind, to projects and beneficiaries, with extremely limited funding available to ensure the organisation is able to fulfil its objectives.
With constant and growing need, there are always opportunities for Newkidz to make a real difference in communities and the lives of children. Through its organisation and project model, Newkidz offers its volunteers the opportunity to share in the experience of making that difference. Newkidz has roles for everyone, from professionally skilled volunteers in the management structure of the organisation, to project and team leaders, to first-time painters, sanders and gardeners, to parking coordinators and refreshment managers. There are no small roles, only a big impact.
Impact / Contribution to Society
Newkidz’ renovation and maintenance projects provide revitalised, functional, structurally safe, and aesthetically appealing healthy environments for orphans and vulnerable children in disadvantaged communities. Its care centre focus provides family-and-home-like environments for children living in orphanages and care centres. Similarly, Newkidz’ focus on educares – creating a more enabling environment for effective care-giving and education – contributes to the improved early education and healthier childhood development of an increased number of vulnerable children.
The organisation's volunteer-based model provides people from all walks of life and all parts of society with a positive and uplifting experience, helping those less fortunate in a very practical and tangible way. Involving others in its projects and in the Newkidz organisation also ensures greater awareness of the various child facilities in the Western Cape, their needs, and especially the children and their plight.
To date, Newkidz has completed 35 makeover projects, which, along with other child-focused initiatives, have directly impacted over 4 900 children.
All of Newkidz’ projects and awareness initiatives, as well as the hosting of orphans by volunteers, focus on providing love, care, and attention to the most vulnerable; and the interest taken and effort contributed creates a sense of worth and value for the children – perhaps the greatest gift of all.
To view Newkidz on the Block in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.