Through the adoption of her own children affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and having grown up in a children’s home herself, Eleanor Brook (53) was moved by faith to start the organisation in 2005.
“Most of our children have been with us since they were babies. Each child has their own story and their own obstacles, mental or physical, to overcome. Some of the children in our care who were abandoned in dustbins to die, violently abused, raped, hungry and neglected due to poverty, infected with HIV and AIDS and those who were born bearing the effects of excessive drug and alcohol abuse by their mothers during pregnancy. With limited resources, we do our best to give them the love and care they deserve. We are the only family they know, and our sanctuary is what they call ‘home’ “ – says Eleanor
In 2011, Home of Hope, started a special needs school, Amathemba, a name which means ‘our hope’ in Xhosa. The school which is one of the few of its kind in South Africa, caters specifically to children born with learning disabilities as a result of FASD.
“We provide holistic care for every individual. Each child receives individual care in our children’s home, where the right therapy and interventions are given to assist with their disabilities, as far as possible. Our program also caters to 14 other individuals from impoverished communities who would not otherwise have access to education” says Eleanor
*Talib has been in Home of Hope’s care since he was eight months old. His mother lived on the streets and couldn’t look after him; she would often fall asleep on the side of the road, leaving him vulnerable to traffic and strangers.
Born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Talib deals with many behavioral and emotional problems and in the beginning would get into fits of rage, struggling to process his emotions.
However, since starting at Amathemba school, he has learned through targeted therapy how to better manage his emotions and has made tremendous strides in reading and writing and is also becoming a great cricket player.
“The progress that the children attending Amathema School are making is truly remarkable. We are immensely proud of our students, some of whom were deemed to be uneducable by mainstream schools, but have shown steady improvement and, against all odds, are now reading and writing. Every child with special needs should have the right to access education.” – says Eleanor
Keeping Home of Hope open
At the end of September, due to unforeseen circumstances, Home of Hope was left without financial aid, leaving the organisation with no option but to make use of their reserve funds, which have now been depleted.
For the first time in 14 years the organisation faces the harsh reality of having to close their doors, without the funds to cover salaries of their 32 loyal employees that work in the children’s home, special needs school, working care farm, charity shop and office administration, as well as their water and electricity bills for the next 3 months.
“The children, staff and volunteers of Home of Hope are my life, they are my family. Each child and person of Home of Hope holds a very special place in my heart. Being part of a team of people who can love so unreservedly, seeing the impact of that love, passion and sacrifice for our awesome children is inspiring” – says Eleanor.
Crowdfunding on Backabuddy
To appeal to the public for support, Home of Hope has created a crowdfunding campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, Backabuddy, to raise funds to get them through the next 3 months while awaiting the outstanding funding they have been promised.
The crowdfunding campaign went live on the 22 October 2019 and has already raised R83 943.15 towards the fundraising target of R400 000 with contributions from 35 donors.
Eleanor hopes the public will continue to show their support
“Our children know what it feels like to be abandoned, not feeling like they belong or having a place to call their own. We have promised to protect them from harm and give them a loving home and the brightest possible future. We hope the public will support our BackaBuddy campaign so we can continue caring for these beautiful children. Closing our doors would mean that our children will be separated and placed into overcrowded children’s homes across the Western Cape that don’t have the infrastructure to accommodate their needs or the training to understand their daily struggles.” – says Eleanor.
Donations to save Home of Home can be made on BackaBuddy here:
Home of Hope video:
Pictured above: Bianca Wichtman, Home of Hope Social Worker, and *Joy