Young children with time on their hands and no supervision can get up to mischief. And naughty or destructive children cause tension in a building: parents are upset with their children and tenants who do not have children are angry with the families. In the spirit of together finding solutions to social issues, Makhulong A Matala has established several programmes to keep the children of JHC tenants happy and occupied when their parents are not around. We help bring an understanding between parents and other tenants. The soul of our work is to build connections between people, to boost their happiness so they can love where they live.
The first crèche was opened in one of our buildings in 2000; today there are about four crèches in four of the JHC’s buildings that are run by independent service providers who rent the space from the JHC. Makhulong has established after-school playgroups and play centres, and organises holiday activities in all JHC buildings. Educational and arts and culture activities, as well as indigenous games, all under the watchful eye of JHC-trained Community Development Facilitators, keep the youngsters happy. "About 40 children attend the playroom at Phumlani Gardens. At first, when we opened, I went round to all the parents in our building and invited them to the playroom. We did activities with the parents so they could learn more about the playroom. Since that day, parents have got to know each other. We are open from Monday to Thursday afternoons and we keep children occupied with sport and educational games. "Makhulong also invited an outside stakeholder to engage with the mothers about parenting. The course lasted nine months, every Saturday. This is a good thing that Makhulong does and it has been very well received. "We keep the children busy and out of doing bad things, and the parents at work have peace of mind knowing their children are safe." — Ntombi Mamabolo, playroom co-ordinator "There are at present just more than 1,000 children living in JHC buildings. Of these, some 740 are registered to participate in the playgroups that Makhulong facilitates in the buildings and on average, over the past year, more than 500 children attended the playgroups every day! This surely stands out as a sound social investment – for the greater good – for the people living in JHC buildings, for the city and for the country. It is just one demonstration of JHC’s social conscience and the way in which this is integrated into the service it provides. This is a key factor that differentiates JHC from other social housing landlords." — Patrick Lephunya, Chairman of the Johannesburg Housing Company Board
Junior Soccer Development Programme
Children love sport, but for inner city children finding a place to play can be difficult. Again, to keep children occupied and out of trouble, Makhulong A Matala has turned to sport as a way to address some of the social issues that emanate from our buildings. Makhulong’s Junior Soccer Development Programme gives children the chance to enjoy the beautiful game. Along the way, they learn about good sportsmanship – and it keeps them busy on weekends. They also learn life skills from the coaches. Eight JHC buildings have small-scale outdoor playing fields; at others, inflatable soccer pitches are set up in car parks where there are no playing fields to create a makeshift soccer field. Every May, all the hard work pays off with the annual Taffy Cup Soccer Tournament. "This programme is great. It gives the children lots of opportunities to advance socially and academically. It also allows good interaction among generations and children from different places and cultures. "It is running absolutely well. We get a lot of support and we give a lot of support to the children. If we see there are issues between the children, or with one child, we help to sort it out. "Makhulong is doing a lot of great work and we would like them to continue — and do even more." — Chidi Nwachukwu, parent of a participating child. "The children love the soccer programme; everyone wants to play. Children have the right to play, but not always the place. We are giving them the space and the chance to play. "We also give them life skills. We get the different cultures found at JHC buildings to engage and interact and we are able to mentor children." — Donald Makape, soccer coach