Making a Difference (Our 2020/2021 Beneficiaries)
Sylvia’s House has been a safe haven to a multitude of children over the past twenty-one years. D4D is thankful to have been part of their story for the last twelve years. Sylvia Frank provides a family orientated home of healing for either abandoned or abused children of all ages. Her main goal will always remain a loving environment, a shelter where there is hope for a better future, provision and education for children in need.
Over eighty children have walked through the door of Sylvia’s House. Some remained for longer periods of time than others, waiting till their parents are rehabilitated or adoptive parents were found. It is wonderful to be able to report that most have moved on to new, loving families or restored homes once they have healed. While Sylvia is a safety parent, she is first and foremost a mom to the children who are permanently in her care. As is the heartbreaking reality for far too many of today’s youth, four of the children were abandoned at birth and three removed from abusive circumstances.
She has adopted two of the children and the other seven are in her legal foster care. Three of the children have recently moved out to live on their own. Currently, Sylvia has 6 children in her care.
Sylvia is passionate about uplifting the children in her care to fulfill their potential, whilst providing a place to call home, therapy and support in whichever way the child may require. Her main aim remains to provide a family environment with the same morals, emotional and physical stability,educational prospects and opportunities with which most other children are blessed. Her mission aligns with that of D4D, in that we hope that these children will grow into adults and members of society who can positively contribute and in return better the lives of others. Sylvia’s dream is not to only clothe and feed the children placed in her care, but to love them and encourage every chance of growth, just as she would for her own children.
D4D presently supports Sylvia’s House with a monthly donation of R4,500.These funds are specifically allocated towards educational purposes and operational costs. In addition to the monthly donation, D4D also made a contribution of R5,000 in December 2021 for extra necessities over the holiday season.
Sylvia’s House was identified as one of THE500’s beneficiaries. A donation of R45,000 was allocated to them in February 2022. This donation was not paid out as a once-off donation, but will be used to fulfill D4D’s monthly donation to Sylvia’s House for an extended period.
Tzadokah Foster Home
D4D has had the privilege of being involved with Tzadokah Foster Home since 2005. They were the very first foster home that D4D supported and to this day, still supports. When we reflect on the last seventeen years that D4D has been involved with Tzadokah Home, we are extremely grateful for heaps of blessings! We were able to have witnessed the growth of the children and the many challenges that they have had to overcome, including the incredible progress the children have made throughout their school careers. Tina Burger has been Tzadokah’s foster mom since 2009. It is with a deep gratitude that we acknowledge the unconditional love Tina and her husband, Schalk Burger, have for the children. Selflessly devoting all their energy, time and more to those in their care, who ranges in ages of eight to twenty. Despite the age difference between the children, they all get along well. They have the utmost respect for Tina and Schalk and they honor the way in which they are raising them. There is no doubt that the children love and adore their “parents”.
Tzadokah was recently contacted by social workers to find a place of safety for three girls aged respectively 17, 9 and 7. Tina agreed to take them in for an indefinite period until their court cases are settled.
D4D’s continued monthly donation of R4,500 mainly contributes towards educational expenses, a cause that will always remain a central part of D4D’s mission. D4D will commit to a further R4,500 per month for the period over which the new children will stay at Tzadokah. In addition to these monthly donations, D4D also made an additional contribution of R3,000 in December 2021 for extra necessities over the holiday season.
Tzadokah was also chosen as one of THE500’s beneficiaries. A donation of R50,000 was allocated to them in February 2022. This donation was not paid out as a once-off donation, but will be used to fulfill D4D’s monthly commitment to Tzadokah, for an extended period.
Esther van Zyl
Another foster mom, whom D4D has been supporting since 2017 and who is exceptionally close to our hearts, is Esther van Zyl. Her home is a registered place of safety. At the time of writing this report, she has two children under her care. The eldest, a boy aged 11, was found in an informal settlement in Langa, at the fragile age of 1. He was diagnosed as being HIV positive, while also suffering from separation anxiety, which is a direct result of his early childhood trauma. The youngest of the house, a pure bundle of joy, is aged 6. She was a mere 24 hours old when Esther was contacted by the police, looking for a place of safety for the new-born baby they found in a park close to Esther’s house. Four days later she was home, safe and sound, with her new mom and brother. This little girl is thriving from the attention she is receiving from her mom and her big brother. These two little ones have found the only mom they have ever known in Esther, and she has given them a home filled with love and devotion.
Both Sanele and Zoey have adapted very well to their school and are excelling in their schoolwork. Esther has more than enough reason to be incredibly proud of them. They are a close-knit family who love and adore one another.
Esther has been running a catering business from her home for some time,to support them financially. The name of her business is Pretty Tasty, and she can be contacted at 072-216-3111 for orders (from cupcakes to cakes for special occasions, platters for functions, etc.). Her treats will most definitely tickle your tastebuds.
D4D continues to support Esther van Zyl with a monthly donation of R3,000. This money goes a long way in ensuring that she can provide the children with a healthy diet, meet their school supply needs and cover their medical expenses. It is an honor to serve the Lord alongside such an inspiring family. In addition to the monthly donation, D4D also made an additional contribution of R10,000 in December 2021 for stationary, school clothes and extra necessities.
Esther van Zyl was also identified as one of THE500’s beneficiaries. A donation of R50,000 was allocated to them in February 2022. This donation was not paid out as a once-off donation, but will be used to fulfill D4D’s monthly donation to Esther van Zyl, for an extended period.
To all at Distance for Difference
Good evening to all the marvellous folks at D4D.
I just want to start by saying a heartfelt thank you for all you do for us. Thank you are two such small words for the enormous difference you make in our lives. I feel so embarrassed to ask for more, because you have blessed us with so much over the last couple of months already.
As mentioned before, I am somewhat concerned about Sanele’s emotional and mental well-being. He is turning 11 this year and I don’t see an improvement in his insecurities. I am concerned that he will have an even harder time as the doctors prepare for full disclosure of his HIV status this year. I have been reading up a lot on his behaviour or why he reacts the way he does in threatening situations. I have been trying to help him, but I’m still concerned that this is not enough. On the one hand I worry that if I pick the wrong counsellor, he will end up going through life using his circumstances as an excuse not to reach his full potential. I have seen that so many times. My prayer is that I can help him learn from it and let it go, to bean inspiration to others.
I have often wondered what the difference is between the ones who rise up and those who get stuck in the pain. My only conclusion is God. Jesus is the only One that can fill that void, show them that they matter, no matter where they come from or who rejected them and show them that they are loved. For this reason, my request for him in this instance is not financial, but spiritual. Please earnestly remember him in your prayers and make a request to our Lord to fill his little heart and soul with the love of a true Father.
This year I also have a desire to buy beds for them and Sanele would like to move to his own room. We live in a three-bedroom home, but we all sleep in the same room by choice. I have never decorated a room for them or bought bedding which was something that they specifically liked or chose, and it is a desire of my heart to be able to do that for them this year. Because of your generous donations during December and January I have bought everything they needed for school and even have some money spare, should anything else come up.
On a lighter note, I’d just like to paint a little picture of who they are as humans. Sanele is always very concerned for my welfare and Zoey’s (when no one is looking). He always makes sure that she behaves herself and that she does not get herself into trouble.
He is still adamant about becoming the president (or a you-tuber). He hates going to school and does not like homework, but does it diligently, because he has an incredible sense of duty and believes that everyone must always do the right thing. He hates injustice and his biggest complaint is the children who do not listen in class and disrupt the proceedings. He is very good at public speaking and loves cracking jokes. He will however choose with whom to engage and will easily remove himself from the situation if he feels uncomfortable. He will rather be on his own than face situations that make him feel uneasy. He sings beautifully and has an incredible love for music.
Zoey will try anything once (at least, depending on the outcome). She is very outspoken, and I often have to hold my breath or make my eyes very large in order to stop her from saying something incredibly embarrassing. We spotted a lady at the pharmacy the other day who was covered in dark freckles. When Zoey looked at the lady and started off with “Mamma?” I already felt my stomach turning. I bent down and whispered that she should rather ask me in my ear. She proceeded to say that she thinks that lady likes to jump in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig.
I know the bedding and such, that I would like for them, is not a real need, more of a desire and I know there are most probably other families with more pressing matters, but I just figured I’d mention it.
I pray that God will bless your organisation and not just D4D, but your families and households and keep you safe, healthy and loved in the palm of His hand.
May all His dreams for our lives come true.
Much love and blessings
Esther, Sanele and Zoey
Kingdom Kids Crèche
The Kingdom Kids Crèche, situated in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, has been one of D4D’s beneficiaries since 2016. Kingdom Kids opened its doors in 2009 with only two children; currently the school is bursting at its seams with over 60 children attending daily. They cater for a variety of ages, ranging from babies to the young kids, aged 5, in Grade RR.
There are six volunteer teachers, giving their time, dedication and affection,which stems from a deep passion for the children, their well-being and their futures. This group of women makes a tangible difference in their community. The school can not rely on school fees, since numerous parents fail to fulfill this obligation. Therefore, they have several fundraisers throughout the year to generate extra income and keep the doors of Kingdom Kids open.
Kingdom Kids is one of the organizations receiving waste food from a local grocery store. D4D supports this project by donating R1,000 monthly, which covers the transporting cost of collecting the food from the store. They collect waste/ “expired” food four times a week, thereafter, recycling that which is still usable. With the assistance of this food, they are able to cook healthy meals for the kids of Kingdom Kids and the community. Much too often this is the only meal a child would receive for the entire day. Subsequently this project has been a major blessing to Kingdom Kids.
During Covid, Zelna and her daughters (the founders of Kingdom Kids), started a soup kitchen for the less fortunate in their community. They mostly rely on donations to buy ingredients for the soup, and they make use of some of the vegetables they receive from the “waste program”. Many days there is not even food on their own table, yet they open their hearts to the rest of the community.
They remain an inspiration to D4D and remind us regularly to be grateful for what we have.
The school needed a microwave oven to heat the children’s food and bottles. In October 2020, D4D handed them a brand-new microwave oven. They were overwhelmed with joy and deeply grateful.
In December of 2021, D4D surprised the little ones with cake, sweets and cooldrink for their end of year party.The joy and excitement on their beaming, smiling faces was unequivocally priceless. With healthy,nutritious meals being a scarcity outside the school, these treats are all the more so. We are so thankful to share in their delight and have thesekids remind us to find joy in the smallest, simplest things.
Kingdom Kids was chosen as one of THE500’s beneficiaries. A donation of R45,000 was allocated to them in February 2022. This donation was not paid out as a once-off donation, but will be used to fulfill D4D’s monthly donation to Kingdom Kids, for an extended period.
Gabriella Centre is a residential and day care facility for children and young adults with profound physical and intellectual disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy. They provide 24-hour care in a home from home environment, along with unlimited patience and unconditional love.
The Day Care Centre remains open over school holidays, closing for only three weeks over the Christmas season and on public holidays. The Residential section remains open throughout the year.
To maintain a comfortable environment, a maximum of 24 children/young adults are enrolled in Day Care, of which 12 are also in Residential Care. To ensure they receive all the care and love they deserve, a maximum child/caregiver ratio of 4/1 is provided. Individual programmes are designed by their in-house Physiotherapist and Program Implementer, to ensure that each child/young adult receives the correct physiotherapy & intellectual stimulation they require. Their staff have been trained to follow these individual programmes and understand the importance of correct positioning, exercise and educational stimulation. The weekly programme includes physiotherapy,occupational therapy, music & movement, creative activities, outdoor play,horse riding and outings. They provide a place to learn and grow, to feel safe and accepted and to be loved unconditionally.
Their vision has always been “To Inspire Respect and Accomplish Equality for Persons with Special Needs”. The goal at Gabriella Centre remains unchanged; they strive to do everything they possibly can to assist these courageous individuals in their challenging climb in life. They want able bodied people to know that not one day in their life should be taken for granted, that in a second your life could change, and you could find yourself or a family member in the exact position as those with special needs.
When D4D started back in 2005, Gabriella Centre, was one of our first beneficiaries. At the end of 2005, D4D hosted a Christmas party for the centre. Seventeen years later, they were once again identified as one of D4D’s beneficiaries, this time around for THE500 event. In February 2022, a donation of R30,000 was allocated to them.
Our recent visit to them reminded us to take the time to get to know someone who is physically and/or intellectually challenged and give them the respect and kindness they deserve.
Heaven’s Gate was founded in 2010 by Warren and Lehanie Elliott. They have since provided a loving and safe environment for nearly 30 abandoned, neglected and abused children. Ages have varied from newborn to 18 years old and include all ethnic groups. Their ultimate goal is to provide a home where children can enjoy life as a child should -but also, more importantly, to learn the role of both a father and a mother. It started as a Safe House where children stayed for a period of 3 months, but some ended up staying much longer before they were returned to their homes. Sadly, some had nowhere to return to.
Heaven’s Gate became their home and a part of their story.
Even though Heaven’s Gate has faced many financial challenges since the beginning, Warren and Lehanie remained committed to their ministry and by faith and sacrifice have crossed the mountains they encountered along this very difficult road. Six of the children are now in school.
Heaven’s Gate was identified as one of THE500’s beneficiaries. A once-off donation of R20,000 was awarded to them in February 2022.
Hagar means: “Stranger”.
Hagar’s story consists of repeated rejection by her own people in addition to the ones who took her in. Every time she faced certain death; God sent his angels to assist her.
Every baby who gets rejected experiences similar feelings and emotions as Hagar. She didn’t feel that she belonged anywhere.
God is always in control and sent an angel to help Hagar, and she chose to be obedient to God and to listen. She decided, even with her “pregnant body”, to return and face Sarah, even though Sarah didn’t appreciate her presence. Just for a moment, consider the emotions she must have experienced and had to deal with.
A woman in those times was seen as the property of the owner. Hagar in a sense had no “rights” and no owner/husband to fend for her. But God fended for her.
Babies cannot fend for themselves, they don’t have “a voice”, and they are dependent on others for help. God sends angels and people on their path to help them.
Similarly, to Hagar, Hagar’s Choice chooses to take the difficult path, the pathless traveled, because helping premature and rejected babies is no easy task.
The Campher-family knows what it feels like to have nothing, nowhere to call home (they have lost all – house, accommodation, car, furniture, etc., but God took care of them). They are thus equipped to help children who have no refuge and provide a temporary place of security and provision, until they get adopted by their forever parents.
D4D first donation towards Hagar’s Choice was made in 2017. Ever since, they have inspired us by their selflessness and unconditional love for abandoned babies and children in need.
Hagar’s Choice was identified as one of THE500’s beneficiaries. A once-off donation of R35,000 was awarded to them in February 2022.
PATCH provides a holistic set of services to the survivors of child sexual abuse.Their response includes an initial assessment, therapeutic interventions, court preparation, and a 24-hour crisis line. All services are provided by a skilled team of registered Social Workers and Social Auxiliary workers.
The first step for all children referred to PATCH, on account of suspected child sexual abuse, is a socio-emotional assessment. If the referral is within 72-hours of an incident, a medico-legal assessment is carried out.
The PATCH crisis worker accompanies the child to the hospital and tenderly offers emotional support during the medico-legal examination, while the doctor collects forensic evidence that may be used in the court case. Crisis workers provide the child with a comfort toy (teddy bear) to help put them a tease and following the examination, the child may take a bath and get a clean set of clothes, underwear and toiletries, all included in the provided comfort pack. A range of professional and therapeutic services for child survivors are offered by qualified social workers and psychological counsellors, based at their centres throughout the Helderberg basin.
Therapy is provided on either an individual or group basis, that is tailored to the specific needs of the child survivor. The experienced, expert staff at PATCH make use of a wide range of therapies, including narrative therapy, play therapy, and cognitive-behavioural therapy. They work according to the individual child’s needs, be it working on feelings of guilt and shame and/or court preparation should the child’s case be taken to court.
PATCH was the co-host and main beneficiary of THE500 event at its inception in 2013, till the 4th installment in 2019. Due to the negative effects that Covid-19 had on D4D’s fundraising efforts and the subsequent financial position of several other charities, we decided that more children’s charities should benefit from the 5th installment of THE500. After this decision in the beginning of 2021, we identified ten children’s charities along with D4D, to benefit from the funds raised through THE500. Patch was amongst these ten children’s charities and a donation of R55,000 was granted to them in February 2022.
The statistics of child sexual abuse are rising daily -it’s both a tragic and disturbing fact. D4D will continuously support the work of Patch and has great appreciation for the enormous difference they make in the community. We thank them for everything they do and the incredibly important role they play in the lives of the children.
Little Angels Home
Little Angels Home, situated in Somerset West, is a full-time, community-based care facility for children with special needs. Little Angels is a non-profit organisation that provides a home for children that require special care and nurturing, as a result of their mental and/or physical disabilities. Little Angels aims to provide a safe haven for these children and ensure that they receive the correct and proper medication, treatment, and special care that their parents can seldom afford to provide. They are currently the permanent home of 14 children who are extremely special and dear to the people who devote their time, and often their lives, to care for them.
All the children at Little Angels require 24-hour, highly specialized care and support as a result of their severe disabilities. Most of the children suffer from multiple medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Microcephaly, Hydrocephaly and thus require assistive devices namely wheelchairs, buggies, ventriculoperitoneal shunts to relieve brain pressure, and/or feeding pegs.
They run daily educational programs that provide intellectual stimulation for the children, as well as physical therapy programs to ensure maximum mobility and flexibility. They also do daily fun activities that include music, art and storytelling. These programmes are endorsed by CSPID (Children with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disability), a governing body managed by the Department of Basic Education.
The children’s immunity is more vulnerable due to their medical conditions,and this is also the reason why every child has a specific nutritional & medicinal plan (formulated by the Department of Health), to ensure each child maintains his/her optimal health level. All the children go for bi-annual hospital visits, ensuring that their assistive devices, i.e., wheelchairs or buggies still meet their growing needs.
They are driven by the overwhelming need for similar residential care facilities in their community, breaking down stigmas and stereotypes regarding disabilities, and increasing awareness for those living with disabilities. Little Angels would like to continue thriving, by sticking to their core values; compassion, dignity, competence and dedication and so being an example for their fellow NPO’s.
The first donation from D4D to Little Angels was made in March 2016. Shortly thereafter, D4D and Little Angels decided to collaborate and host D4D’s first running event and from there the Gratitude Run originated. In October 2016,the first Gratitude Run was hosted in tandem with Little Angels. Since this collaboration, more donations to Little Angels followed.
The staff and residents at Little Angels are all angels with big hearts. To this day, they continue to inspire us with their positive attitude and their joy and zeal for life. “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)
A donation of R35,000 was awarded to Little Angels in February 2022, as they were also one of THE500’s beneficiaries.
Heartlands Baby Sanctuary
Heartlands Baby Sanctuary was established on the 4th of May 2015 in response to the request of the Western Cape Department of Social Development to offer temporary residential safe care and support for children in need of urgent care and protection. Heartlands is located in Somerset West in the Western Cape and is a registered Child and Youth Care Centre as well as a Community Mental Health Facility, caring for 25 children at any given time. The centre provides holistic care for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) from birth to six years of age.
Following a court order, children are ‘temporarily’ placed at Heartlands. After the finalization of Children’s Court proceedings, they are either reunited with their parents/family members, placed in foster care, transferred to other long term facilities or adopted. Heartlands Baby Sanctuary strives to develop the family bond by either the parents visiting their children or being accommodated in the mother’s room. Parents are also educated to be better equipped in caring for their children, once the child is reunited and back at home.
Their objective is to create a secure, caring environment in which the children learn to trust, bond and maintain relationships. Their aim is to return clinically healthy children back to the community, through reunification, an alternative community, long-term institutional placements or adoption.
D4D and Heartlands’ objectives, values and vision align which made our decision to nominate them as one of THE500’s beneficiaries, incontestable. A donation of R35,000 was given to them in February 2022.
Gino and Jodas, Class of 2023
D4D is proud to share the heart-warming story of Gino Cupido (16) and Jodeci Davids (16). These two young men received a wonderful opportunity to further their High School Career at Strand High, since the beginning of 2021. Friends from the age of 6, Gino and Jodeci, better known as Jodas, started their Grade 10 year at their new school on 15 February 2021. As the popular saying goes… “the rest is history”!
We would like to extend a massive thank you to Mr. Danie Malan, Principal of Strand High, who played a critical role in making their dreams become a reality.
Since its establishment, several individuals, families, D4D and anonymous sponsors have contributed to the Class of 2023 Fund. The fund was launched to assist these two young men in successfully finishing their education, graduating at the end of 2023, and to ensure that they make a success of their academic and sports careers at Strand High.
They are avid rugby players and at 1.90 meters, it did not take long for the coaches and selectors to notice Gino’s talent. He quickly proved that he was a pillar of strength to be reckoned with at outside centre (13). Meanwhile, Jodas’ fast legs would leave many in his dust at right wing (14). Thus, it came as no surprise when they were both selected for their school’s 0/16A rugby team in 2021. Unfortunately, due to Covid, they did not get a fair chance to participate in rugby matches, as they hoped for. However, not deterred by this interruption, they continued to practice every single day.
Another highlight was Gino being selected as Captain for his school’s interhouse athletics event in February 2022. Both Gino and Jodas participated and came first and second, respectively, in various items. Gino even broke a few records!
More often than not, we take the basic things our children require to learn and study for granted… for example having a proper table, good lighting, a computer, data access and even a power plug point in the room. Upon a visit to Gino’s house, it was noticed that he did not have access to any of the above. We reached out to our supporters on Facebook, asking for assistance. Soon thereafter, we were able to bless him with a study desk, a bedside lamp and a laptop. The laptop was sponsored by Pragma, an asset management engineering company.
Gino was selected for his school o/19A rugby team recently and went on his first ever rugby tour in March 2022, scoring 5 tries for his school during the tournament. Jodas was selected for the 0/19B team this year. We encourage you to watch this space …
If you would like to be part of these two young men’s journey and help themto finish their school career on a high, please click on the following link to donate to the Class of 2023 fund.
Rudi Keyser is a 13-year-old boy, from Kuils River (Cape Town – South Africa), who was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) in 2021.
Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) is a rare cancer that begins in LCH cells. LCH cells are a type of dendritic cell which fights infection. Sometimes there are mutations (changes) in LCH cells as they form. These include mutations of the BRAF, MAP2K1, RAS and ARAF genes. These changes may make the LCH cells grow and multiply quickly. Subsequently, LCH cells start to build up in certain parts of the body, potentially damaging tissue or forming lesions.
Friends of the Keyser family approached Distance For Difference for a donation towards a fund that was set up for Rudi. The purpose of the fund was to provide some peace of mind to the family and friends, with regards to the very costly treatment and to ensure that Rudi can have quality of life -same as every other healthy 13-year-old.
D4D’s board of directors agreed to a once-off donation of R5,000 towards the fund.
We recently received feedback from Rudi’s mom, and we are thankful to hear that he is doing well under the circumstances. He’s still receiving blood tests, at Tygerberg Hospital, every 3 months. Currently, he is not receiving chemotherapy, but has scans, x-rays and many blood tests scheduled for April 2022, which will give them a good and clear indication of the way forward.
Our prayer for Rudi is that he will be courageous and strong. May God guide the Keyser family and strengthen them. May His healing hand protect Rudi and His peace overwhelm him on this road forward.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God,which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)