Early last year, a group of friends from Brackenfell were challenged to look at an opportunity to serve in a neighbouring community as a way of being more outward orientated. They short-listed a few possibilities and chose to adopt the Masigcine Children’s Home in Mfuleni, which is a place of safety for about 28 abandoned and orphaned children.

They started doing volunteer work on Saturday mornings and soon Michael and Hilda de Beer became the co-ordinators of this community transformation project on behalf of the group. New life and purpose had been injected and excitement mounted as everyone looked forward to making a difference in the children’s home.

After an initial period of building relationship with the Board and Management of Masigcine as well as with the children and staff, they received such favour that they were given cart blanche to make changes to the home as they saw fit. They observed many areas of concern which included a lack of nutrition, home maintenance, hygiene, cleanliness, order, discipline, admin, staff morale, procedures, staff empowerment, training and fund raising. They suggested to the Board that 80% of the problems could be solved in one go by doing a home makeover.

After consultation and deliberation, the weekend of 21 – 23 September 2007 was earmarked. It was to be a weekend of total home makeover and transformation! The team accomplished in three days what would normally have taken weeks to complete. Hundreds of volunteers were recruited and showed up.

The total makeover included the following:

    • Repainting the entire interior of the Home
    • Extending the bathroom
    • Putting in new plumbing
    • Painting the perimeter fence with cartoon characters
    • New outdoor play structure
    • Creating a new dining room and play room
    • Making new beds with new duvet covers and pillow cases
    • Installing new cupboards throughout
    • Relaying play area for children to ride scooters
    • Providing educational toys and facilities for the children

    The highlight was when the children and staff were taken away for this weekend courtesy of the Three Cities Hotel Group – Lagoon Beach Hotel in Milnerton. They accommodated the 23 children and the 14 staff for the entire weekend, including accommodation, food and outings at no cost!

    Today, the Masigcine Children’s Home looks a lot more like heaven on earth than it did before this group had the courage to make a difference.