The Story of “Father’s House”
My Father’s House is a community development project managed by Jan Buchanan from Queensland. Worcester is surrounded by high mountains, snow clad in winter and fruit growing is the main industry. With large numbers of wineries there is a high incidence of alcoholism and foetal alcohol syndrome, as well as a high rate of drug addiction, particularly methamphetamine.
No Walk in the Park!
Avian Park is a disadvantaged suburb created under the apartheid system for the “coloured,” mixed-race community of over 8000 people. The standard of education is low and unemployment is at 60% – or more in winter. There is a high rate of teenage pregnancy, and most families are single parent. Child abuse, gangsterism, rape and molestation are prevalent. HIV/AIDS, TB and malnutrition are also problems.
More than 2000 people still live in squatter shacks without running water or electricity. About 2000 have been rehoused within the past 5 years, but many lack understanding of work ethics, hygiene, nutrition or budgeting.
Problems Waiting for Solutions
My Father’s House is in the middle of these situations, seeking to create a safe, secure environment for vulnerable teenagers. They need good, nutritious food and good teaching on how to keep healthy by avoiding HIV/AIDS, TB and teenage pregnancy. Some need mentoring and help with homework to achieve better educational outcomes while new and capable leaders need to be trained.
Much has been achieved:
- Soup kitchens are providing nutritious lunches and fruit (sinceJanuary 2011);
- Parenting classes run by FAMSA (local Non Profit Org) that have been making a difference in families (since September 2012);
- Local youth have been trained through YWAM University of the Nations – 6 were trained from 2010 to 2014 and two have completed half of a degree.
And much is still happening:
- Three counsellors have received counselling skills since October 2014, and they have been placed in local primary and high schools;
- The placement of 2 trainee associate social workers as youth leaders;
- Soccer and life-skills training for the youth group began in January 2015;
- Since February 2015 a number are learning jewelry-making, and there is tuition in musical instruments.
A house has been rented for a full-time staff member, a 3×9 metre shed erected in the back yard and a youth meeting room is to be constructed and a fence around the property. All this is to train teenagers to plan, organize and lead activities in the centre and to provide space for homework classes.
One urgent need is the construction of a residential home for staff and teenagers, which is projected for June 2016.
Our initial goal is to help 100 teenagers, but this number will increase to over 300 as time goes by. Please partner with us in rescuing these teenagers.
Meet The Manager
Jan Buchanan, from Gympie (Queensland), lost her husband while holidaying in Thailand when the tsunami hit Phuket in 2004. She was saved and subsequently wanted to make a difference in the lives of others by word and deed. After teaching for 35 years and being university trained in Community Developement and Counselling she was well fitted to launch the project in Avian Park, Worcester, South Africa to rescue young people.
Our community development project works in the formerly disadvantaged suburb of Avian Park, situated 5 km outside Worcester and focuses on children aged 10 and above, as well as organizing effective parenting courses for their parents. Gangsterism, linked with drug addiction and theft, are major problems, so we are beginning to work with gangsters and addicts too.
Our aims are to see vulnerable children’s lives transformed; to provide a safe, secure environment away from rape, abuse, trafficking, and gangsterism that are prevalent in the area; to train and mentor future leaders; to provide knowledge of the best design for families, in an area where single parenthood is the norm; to provide adequate nutrition and preventative health teaching, as our community suffers high rates of HIV and TB; and provide homework classes and recreational activities.
At present, we work out of a 3m by 9m wooden garden shed, behind a concrete block house we rent. We own 2 big blocks of land where we plan to build. In the future, we would like to offer skills training in basic carpentry, plumbing, cookery and crafts. We are raising money to enable us to erect a building where we can run our youth programmes, Micro-Business Startup and skills training. Local people are gradually being trained to staff and manage these programmes.
Jan is an essential part of “My Father’s House” and without her presence and input the project would probably collapse. You can help her to stay on and keep the project benefiting the community by donating here.
It’s a Team Effort but Who’s doing What?
- Directors and staff organize the provision of nutritious food at 3pm when teenagers return from school. Food is prepared by local women using donations from local farmers and businesses.
- Trained youth workers run soccer life-skills program two afternoons a week
- A trained youth worker will work with gangsters and drug addicts daily.
- A local NPO (FAMSA) will run a 16 week parenting course one day a week.
- Directors, teachers and local volunteers will run daily homework classes after-school
- Local doctors and nurses will provide preventative health teaching.
- Volunteers from YWAM and Worcester community will offer different homework classes.
- Directors and staff will train leaders among teenagers to assist in daily recreational activities (jewellery-making, dance, drama, tuition in musical instruments) running activities.