Small NGO with a big vision: New Jerusalem Children's Home takes shape in Midrand
One of the benefits of being an international news company is the opportunity to spread the word about any truly inspirational, life-changing projects. An example of this arrived on the WAN newsdesk yesterday from Sean Wall, an architect at 4D and A Architects in South Africa who have been involved in an uplifting in Midrand.
New Jerusalem is a NGO set up by two sisters in 2000 to care for the scores of orphaned, abandoned, vulnerable and HIV positive children in the Midrand area of South Africa, and currently has around eighty kids from babies to sixteen year olds in its care. The organisation is primarily an orphanage but also runs an onsite education programme with a crèche, pre-school and aftercare service to provide these vulnerable children with the skills they will need to face the adult world.
Support for the programme has been found in the Department of Social Development and the generous donations of other NGOs, churches and businesses however a large proportion of infrastructure and daily running costs are dependent on individual donations. There has been a steady incline in the number of children needing aid from New Jerusalem and as such, the organisation is under pressure to expand its current facilities.
4D and A Architects have been working with New Jerusalem to initiate a range of new housing volumes with accommodation for twelve children and one housemother per abode, and two houses sharing communal kitchen, dining, lounge and laundry facilities. After considering various alternatives, it was decided that the most lucrative approach was to utilise recycled shipping containers to construct these residential dwellings as the cost was estimated at R1.5million (€145,000) - 25% of the traditional brick and mortar home.
As the images here show, the first of the four planned double-houses is now complete and has been given the personal touch these children need with rustic mosaic patterns which welcome them home. New Jerusalem explains: “We firmly believe that our orphaned and vulnerable children deserve an aesthetically exciting environment that will both stimulate their development and make them feel valuable.” Part of this stimulation will come from South African landscape architect Patrick Watson who is working for the organisation on a pro bono basis and has already donated and planted 200 indigenous trees around the perimeter of the complex.
Work will continue on the construction of additional housing units - funds willing - however New Jerusalem is also in dire need of enhancing its education facilities. Many of the children in its care experience developmental delays and need an enhanced learning environment to attend to their special needs.
New Jerusalem would like to cater to these demands with a Learner Support and Enrichment Unit, incorporating additional classrooms and potentially a computer room and library. Plans are to open these amenities up to the local community outside of school hours to encourage further learning past school age. There is also a desire to construct a series of modest admin and storage units for the day-to-day running of the organisation and the storage of charitable donations.
New Jerusalem explains: “We are seeking financial support as well as the time and skills of interested individuals to assist in the realisation of our long-term goals. While our priority is to resolve the children’s need for accommodation and a sense of family, the Home’s modular plan is such that donors can contribute to whichever component suits their goals.”
If you wish to donate your time, skills or a financial contribution to this worthy cause, please visit the New Jerusalem website or contact Dr. Adrienne Feldner-Busztin