There are currently about 3.7 million orphans in South Africa, about half of whom have lost one or both parents; and 150 000 are believed to be living in child-headed households. About half of this number is because of the AIDS pandemic. Noah was born in 2000 from a need to take responsibility for these children. Our mandate is to give them an opportunity to grow up into emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy adults.
Noah is a registered non-profit organisation (NPO), but operates according to a corporate structure. This ensures managerial soundness in financial and day-to-day operations. Our board of directors is made up of respected businesspeople, with years of experience in the corporate world. Noah's head offices have a number of permanent employees, each dedicated to a particular field of operation. An Ark Development Officer/ADO (from the Noah head office) supports each Ark. The ADOs, along with head office mentoring, provide Arks with support to develop sustainable practices and form networks within the broader community.
Arks do not have to be physical structures, but dedicated resource centres do exist. Many Arks also operate out of school classrooms and community facilities in order to have an identifiable base in the community.
In December 2010, big changes to the Phomelelo Ark Day Care Centre in Muldersdrift brought hope and comfort to the staff and orphans they look after. Skin & Body Renewal 'adopted' the Ark and made some significant structural advancements bringing the nursery school one step closer to registration legibility with the Department of Social Development for extra funding.
Ark manager Esther Lebogang Marobe started Phomelelo in 2000. With only basic shipping containers to house the 78 pre-school children during the day, the roofs now have ceilings to prevent the harsh heat from the corrugated iron. Extra windows were built for through ventilation and a sick bay has been kitted out. The kitchen was renovated and the installation of fixed toilets replaced portable ones.
Over and above the structural improvements, the Gauteng staff of Skin Renewal descended on the crèche recently to clean the entire school, host a Christmas party and hand out gifts to each child. The Phomelelo Ark is located at Lesego Primary School in Muldersdrift, and falls under the Mogale City region of Gauteng. It is mainly farm area, and close to Maropeng, the Cradle of Humankind.
A big portion of the community is made up of farm workers who have lost their jobs because of farms being sold or turned into guest lodges. Lack of housing, unemployment and poverty are the main problems in the area. Because of the high rate of HIV infection and tuberculosis are a huge problem.
A lack of proper public transport means that our staff and children often have to walk long distances to get to the Ark. Funded transport will help get the children to the Ark where they receive a nutritious meal five days a week. Momentum has provided volunteers with bicycles for home visits.
Phomelelo was previously a daycare centre where local women looked after children in exchange for a small fee or donation. Noah partnered with Phomelelo in 2003. The Ark has successfully managed to forge a good relationship with other NGO's (Non-Governmental organisations) in the area, the department of Home Affairs and South African Police Services.