Being a Child and Youth Care Worker

How do I define what it is that I do as a CYCW?

I regard it as a service we provide to children. It is about teaching them how to be neat and to tidy up in a home environment. I like to think I provide a caring, consistent and structured environment that meets the children’s needs. Needs such as physical, emotional, social, and spiritual, as well as educational needs.

I want to give them a home where they can develop to their full potential. Our home is a place where their families are welcomed as an integral part of the child’s life.

Every day poses a challenge. It is not always easy and there are days that are better than others. It is a challenging environment to work in. There are days that you feel like giving up, but then one little word of encouragement changes that. We work long hours, but we work as a team. We become like a family. I am very fortunate to work with people worth their weight in gold. People who go out of their way to assist where assistance is needed and where the children always come first.

To me being a CYCW is not just a job, I see it as a calling.

By Meraldi Fourie

Amazing Grace

(A true story about how love conquers all fear)

Our story begins with a strong, courageous lady with dancing blue eyes and attitude in her stride.  She touched the lives of so many with her beautiful compassionate heart.  However, her heart was reserved for one special little boy whom she waited for all her life … she would receive him as a gift from above.

It was dawn and thirteen days to Christmas.  The city was dressed in festive décor.  The Jacaranda trees beautified the city with their purple shade.  The maternity ward at the city hospital was buzzing with new life and mothers, who were overjoyed and proud of their bundles of joy.  Tucked away in the far end of the ward, a baby bundle cried his first cry.  With one quick movement the nurse placed the baby boy in the incubator, no loving arms to hold him.  “The mother cannot keep him”, (whispers behind judging hands).   The baby would be called Stevie … you see, because our story would not be complete without this strong, courageous boy.

He is the boy as tough as nails, who would learn to survive and conquer.  The beautiful boy with life dancing in his eyes and the dimple in his cheek.  His giggle lights up a room.  The boy who grabs life with his whole being.

This is a story of a match made in heaven, how brave Stevie found his way home to his Lanie.  His Lanie with love in her eyes for him, his save haven and his voice in his voiceless world.

Lelanie first held Stevie as a six-week-old infant.  Her friend was Stevie’s place-of-safety mother.  She fell in love with this gorgeous bundle as she assisted her friend during the day, caring for Stevie.  The time came for Stevie to be moved to a place-of-safety centre with other small children and babies.  Lelanie realised that Stevie needed family.  She would be his family.  Regular visits and weekend sleepovers started, during which Lelanie and Stevie grew closer and closer, forming a strong bond of love.

Parting became difficult and made them cry.  Sometimes Stevie refused to let go of his Lanie.  “Stevie, Lanie will not come back if you cry,” reprimanded the aunties at the centre.  Lelanie picked him up and held him close to her heart.  She pressed a kiss on his head and whispered, “I will always come back.  I love you Stevie”.

“Be brave now, Stevie, our Warrior”.  He bit his lip and walked back to his room with a tear still visible on his cheek.  “Lanie will come back”.  And she always did … till one day.  Things started to change.  This time, Stevie’s Lanie came to fetch him to come home forever.  His Lanie … his mommy!

The strong courageous lady will not tell you of the many sleepless nights and how she prayed, “Father, use me, but help me, please.  I am scared”.  She will not tell you how she cried, seeing her broken boy and feeling helpless, “How will he survive this?”  She will not tell you about her uphill battle providing a voice for this child, about how ordinary aspects like obtaining a birth certificate became an extraordinary accomplishment within a child-unfriendly system.  She chooses to smile and say, “I’ll do it all over again.”  She never complains, she just loves her boy.  Then one unexpected day, brave Stevie placed his hand in his Lanie’s hand and said, “Mommy, I love you”.  These are the moments which made all the battles, fights, tears and sleepless nights just melt away.

It is amazing grace. God answered her prayers for a child that would touch her life and heart forever.  God saw this magnificent boy without loving arms to comfort him and it touched His heart.  Lelanie, go well courageous lady.  Love your boy with all your heart.  Go brave Stevie, grow up to be strong and happy and keep on grabbing life with passion and joy.

By Henlie Holm

Women, the foundation of the SAVF

Women’s day … women’s month … a female power which runs like a golden thread throughout the history of the SAVF over the years. The women who had the courage, under the most precarious circumstances of a war, to create an organisation with new vision and energy, to alleviate the circumstances of children, families and the aged. They did not only dream but also acted, they did not call on a DSD or the kindness of others, but put shoulder to the wheel and made plans by themselves. Since 1904 the monuments exist in the SAVF of women, who addressed the need of the day.  The SAVF faces the challenge to take forward the farsightedness, courage, and drive of these women, for the generations to come and who are dependent on the organisation for service.

We salute our women leaders!



In SA, 9 August is Women’s Day and the month of August is National Women’s Month. This is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and the important role that women of all races and religions have played and continue to play in the South African society.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah once said: “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you”

Women are in so many instances the core of their families. The person that will support, care, pray, sustain, mentor and fight for their family members.

The SAVF is a living example of the power and endurance of women. Against all odds, this organisation was established in a time of war, poverty, illnesses, and animosity, even amongst their own countrymen.

They had no manual or guideline of how to establish and develop an organisation that will bring hope in a time of despair. The only thing they had, was faith, a motivation, and a vision to start making a difference to people’s hardships. How ironic, that one of the first facilities that were built, was the home for unmarried mothers – women who could easily have been pushed away by society, but who were taken care of by these women.

The SAVF can hardly exist without the power and strength of women. We see them in our management structures, as personnel – professional, administrative and domestic staff, as the volunteers that are willing to do the work nobody else wants to do; and our women donors who know that to give is often more valuable than to have.

We are proud of and blessed by the number of women that the SAVF can bring hope to by means of social assistance, therapy, housing, protection, and development. They form part of the 274,420 individuals we render a service to.

This is the time for all women in the SAVF to embrace womanhood, to take the best from the past, to celebrate the women in our services and to continue to believe in the difference we can make in a country with many challenges and against all odds………….

We salute you!


How to live a fulfilled life

Have you ever had that feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, kind of under the weather and wondering if what you are doing is meaning anything at all?

I know that I felt like that quite often until I have discovered what a blessing it is to be able to mean something to someone. I am not talking about what you are doing for your husband/wife or child, but what it feels like to make a real difference in someone’s life.

Do you know that you have the ability to change lives for the better?  When you do that, it pleases God tremendously. The Word of God says in James 1:27 “External religious worship (religion as it is expressed in outward acts) that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this; to visit and help and care for orphans and widows in their affliction and need…”

The SAVF provides a wonderful platform for that. Anyone can, and everyone should become a volunteer.

You ask me WHY? I will tell you:

  • The more you give, the happier you will become. You can give anything, like your time, talents, professional help, materialistic things or money. Anything that you feel in your heart is needed, is welcome.
  • It will increase your self-confidence.
  • It will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.
  • It will become part of your identity.

What can you gain from being a volunteer?

  • Tremendous personal growth.
  • Making a positive difference.
  • Meet new people.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Take on a challenge.
  • Have a lot of fun!

Did you know that being a volunteer has social benefits?

  • It improves mental and physical health.
  • It gives you better brain function.
  • It lowers risks for depression and anxiety.
  • It improves the immune system.
  • Benefits come quickly and have long-term effects.

How will you be able to grow personally?

  • learn industry-related skills;
  • learn how to work in a team;
  • you will learn strong leadership skills and set an example for others;
  • you will be able to have leadership opportunities;
  • learn problem solving and adaptability;
  • improve your communication skills;
  • learn how to plan and prioritise work;
  • also, learn sales skills;
  • learn to do time management;
  • get real world experience;
  • gain new perspective;
  • learn to explore more;
  • learn about the value of commitment;
  • improve your organizational skills;
  • learn to appreciate others and you will be appreciated as well;
  • receive a lot of respect from the community, other volunteers and the personnel of the SAVF;

Why is it important to be a volunteer?

  • You are changing lives and making a positive difference.
  • It is good for your health and wellbeing.
  • You can use it on your resume to demonstrate your commitment to the community and willingness to work.

I challenge you to live, experience, grow and be the change!

What does it mean to be a difference maker?

  • To be someone who has an impact or an effect.
  • To be one who brings about change.
  • It takes uniqueness to make a difference, so be unique.

Did you know that is a legal obligation for NPO managements to consist of volunteers? The community have to manage the NPO. Each service management has to have at least five volunteers (not personnel). The SAVF have 89 service managements and could even grow more. We are in desperate need of committed volunteers to help us with need in the community. The SAVF cannot function without volunteers. Everyone is welcome to join us, and if you have skills to learn us or guide us with, you will be invaluable to the organization.

Volunteers have been the roots of the SAVF. They are the people with heart. People’s people. They do invaluable work in areas of need together with the personnel of the SAVF. Without volunteers, the SAVF would not be able to provide for so many in need.


We honour you,

We appreciate you,


Contact a facility near you

Dedré Delport – SAVF 2e Vice-president


The past few months Psalm 23 became a reality in my life.

Psalm 23:4 “Yes, though I walk through the (deep, sunless) valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod (to protect) and Your staff (to guide), they comfort me”.

My valley of the shadow of death started on 6 December 2017. I was admitted to hospital for a hysterectomy. Usually, I am not a scared person, but before this operation, I was literally shivering with fear. The last thing that I remember is that the hospital personnel took me to the theatre. Just before they gave me the aesthetics, I said; “Lord I give my spirit over in Your hands”.

People that visited me the next day told me that I was looking good, NO make-up, jokes and everything. I even prayed for some people. (Things I can’t remember at all).

Two later after I was transferred to another hospital’s ICU, where they found out that there was something wrong with my kidneys. They were also smaller than usual and didn’t function as they should. I needed 8 pints of blood and dialyses thereafter. I also had fluid in my lungs and had to get draining pipes to get rid of it. Furthermore, I had internal bleeding and my body went into septic shock. So I went back into theatre and had to go three days with an open wound before they could close me up again. I was very ill and a lot of people thought that I was going to die. Some people tell me that I was very swollen up and my skin looked yellow, even my eyes were yellow. Other people tell me that I was just a skeleton lying there. I have no idea what I looked like at which stage and most of these events I can’t remember. What I do know is that many people visited me and prayed for me.

I also know that I was very close to death. So much so, that I could taste it. I was lying in this cold dark place, not scared at all, but very, very tired. Tired to fight to live… Everyday death teased me and I fought with all my might to live. I got so tired of my body, soul, and spirit and I could feel how the life was leaving me slowly but surely.

But God is faithful and something wonderful happened. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said; “Is God not bigger than this?” So I spontaneously started to sing and praise God in tongues within my spirit. Immediately I shot out of my situation like a rocket. I shot out through the deep, deep waters, remembering all the air bubbles as I went up and up till I reached the top of the earth. There was life, sunlight, green grass and beautiful colourful flowers. And for the first time, I heard people praying and angels singing praises to God. Since that moment my situation started to turn around and I was improving.

If you consider everything then, I basically had 4 operations, spent 28 days in ICU and then 2 weeks in the general ward, before I went home. Since I was admitted to the hospital until I went home I lost 14kg and weighed 49kg. Recovery was a very big thing. I had to learn to eat, walk and look after myself again. A caretaker took care of me for six weeks since I wasn’t able to do anything for myself. I was so weak that I didn’t even have any energy to have a conversation. Recovery is a very slow process and not easy at all. But it is going better each day and I trust God for total healing. I thank Him every day for what He has done for me thus far.

Psalm 23:5-6 “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life and through the length of my days the house of the Lord (and His presence) shall be my dwelling place”.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful future…

My heart overflows with thankfulness to every single person that prayed for me. To family, friends, people from Shalom (my congregation) and everyone in the SAVF, especially to my beautiful daughter and wonderful husband, who never gave up on me. If it wasn’t for the prayers of these people, I would not have lived today. The Scriptures teaches us in James 5:16(b) “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (dynamic in its working).

Jesus took the keys of death and the power over life and death is in God’s hands. He has the last word and He said I may live. To God the glory forever and ever…

Dedré Delport

076 301 0147

Jian Krige Brandt Fondsinsameling

Jian is op die 11de Oktober 2017 gebore in die Wilgers Hospitaal met ‘n nood keiser nadat sy moeder longontsteking opgedoen het ‘n week voor sy beplande bevalling.

Hy is gebore met ‘n PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) wat beteken dat hy ‘n gaatjie in sy hartjie het wat nie vanself toegegaan het na geboorte nie. Na verskeie medikasies het die gaatjie wél verklein maar dit het nie heeltemal toe gegaan nie. Hy het ook lae suurstof inhoud in sy bloedtelling en lae bloedsuiker gehad.

Jian is na ‘n maand en ‘n half in die Intensiewe Eenheid ontslaan met die vereistes dat verdere mediese behandeling moet plaasvind. Jian is darem onder omstandighede redelik gesond, hy word net gou moeg as gevolg van die probleem met sy hartjie.

Die pediater en die kardioloog wat na Jian omgesien het, het egter nou geweier dat ons hulle sien voordat die uitstaande rekeninge nie vereffen is nie. Verdere konsultasies moet ook op ‘n vooraf betaalde wyse gehanteer word.

As gevolg van die feit dat ons as ouers nie aan ‘n mediese fonds behoort nie, beloop die mediese kostes wat ons moet betaal die bedrag van R 347 052 . Ons kan ook nie aansoek doen vir enige lenings om hierdie skuld te delg nie, as gevolg van die feit dat ons in 2011 gesekwestreer is.

Ons het die oorspronklike bedrag vir die bevalling (‘n bedrag van R43 000-00) met die finansiële ondersteuning van familie vooraf aan al die betrokke partye betaal.

Ons sal enige hulp dmv donasies waardeer sodat ons hierdie uitstaande mediese rekeninge kan afhandel en ook om seker te maak dat enige toekomstige behandeling betaal kan word. Daar is ‘n moontlikheid dat Jian sal moet gaan vir ‘n hart operasie om sy lewenskwaliteit te verseker.

Drie opsies vir ‘n finansiele bydra:

1.Vir donasies gaan na SAVF se projek op Loving thy Neighbour se webblad.

2.Maak ‘n finasiele bydra by SAVF Transvaal Trust, ABSA bank, Rekeningnommer 000 398 594, Takkode 632005.

3.Gaan na SAVF se webblad, donasies knoppie en vul die aftrekorder in.

4.Snapscan op SAVF se webblad.

Marieta Kemp

SAVF Direkteur Maatskaplike Dienste

012 325 3920 x 2006



I’m sorry I’m just me…

I’m sorry I’m just me…

“I’m sorry I’m not pretty
Sorry I’m not thin
Sorry that I’m not what I could’ve been.
Sorry, I’m your child. Sorry that I’m here
Sorry that I haven’t had the time to disappear
Sorry that I’m not what you wanted me to be.
I’m sorry – sorry I’m just me.”

These are the words of a 15-year-old whose father, whenever he was drunk, would degrade her and make her feel she was good for nothing! His words cut her into little pieces.
We heard many voices of teenagers about their fathers’ abuse:
“My father is a loving family man, but when he is drunk, he becomes rude and disrespectful; sometimes he beats up my mom and calls her names. What hurts me most is when he is sober, he does not remember anything and says we are exaggerating when we show him the bruises that he leaves on my mother’s body.”
“He has hands like thorns, words that pierce and eyes of fire. He is an angel by day; snake by night.”
“He was empty, so achingly empty, that he fed off the terror in my young defenseless eyes and the brokenness in my mother’s body. Then he preyed on me when I was weak and beat me down when I was strong. That was the day I started smelling like acid and my childhood closed with a sharp snap. The death of a child who was still alive.”
“He destroyed the relationship we had with our elder brother and now we lost our mother because of him. I feel depressed. Fathers, stop being abusive to your families; you might lose them.”
I feel the pain of the young ones who know abuse. The sad thing is that these youngsters don’t know any other way of parenting. Their children might say the same things about them one day. You can stop that!
Parenting is not easy. But it is never ever right to hurt a child, whether with words or with your hands. Children deserve love, positive encouragement, a safe place in their own homes. They cannot protect themselves. They need us as parents to protect them. Not to cut them into pieces with words and hands.
Alcohol is the first pain. The big destroyer. Because people find it so hard to control their drinking.
The second ache is not thinking how you say things. Shouting at your child and belittling him, blaming him for everything, threatening him, telling him he is useless, ugly, fat, thin, stupid… it leaves a mark on your child’s heart. The world doesn’t care. But we as parents should never stop caring about our children’s feelings and their future. We must build them up, let them relax and comfort them, guide them and give them a strong foundation for a meaningful life.
A young woman who experienced abuse from her father ánd her step-father as a child shared her pain with me. What helped her get through the pain? I asked. She told me she went to church where a motherly woman listened to her story and asked if her mother ever hugged her. “No.” When mothers have to deal with so much trouble, they often feel too empty to hold their children. This woman was the first to hug her. She lined up the young people at church to do so as well. That was the beginning of her healing process.
Children need our hugs, our love, our care, and protection. If you as a parent cannot give it, get help, because you are the only parent to give it.

I feel new life

I feel new life
I feel new life; it’s dead in me
It’s me alone; instead of “we”
We had much fun, but now, it’s gone
I want to talk, but there is none.

Oh, when HE heard, he walked away
The fun is gone; why should he stay?
Mom shouted out: “You’re on your own!”
It’s like they all picked up a stone!

No one talked to me before
How could I know what is in store?
Who will I ask what it’s about?
How…will they get the baby out?

Every year 500 000 to a million babies are born from teenagers. Mothers sigh. Nurses get angry. Teachers sneer and young fathers run away. The result? Neglected babies, school dropouts, poverty, suicide, even worse parent-teenager relationships than before. It doesn’t help, does it?
Something has to be done. Our babies suffer most!
All our sighs, anger, humiliating looks, words and judgment only make things worse. We need to ask: “What do we do now?” This is a discussion parents should have with their teenage parents-to-be.
The best thing for a teenage parent in this challenging process is the support of his/her parents. Oh yes, parents have their own pain and struggle. This we need to unload with good friends or a counsellor who can listen and guide us into the best direction for the child’s sake. When we as parents are with our teen parent-to-be, we need to talk about the pregnancy, the baby’s development and care, our teen’s feelings and plans and the importance of school. Visits to the clinic can be much more meaningful with Mom joining her pregnant teenager.
Try to understand the challenges of going to school when teachers are often not supportive, but judgmental. Teenagers often drop out of school, because it became so difficult to face their peers and teachers whom they feel team up against them. Some girls try to commit suicide, because of the hopelessness of their lonely situation. Mom’s support can make the difference.
Nurses at clinics are key people to ensure that the unborn baby gets proper nutrition as well as a mother who understand how to take care of her baby. Guide the young parent and inform her well. Allow the young father to also get the much-needed information. It will encourage him to be involved, which will benefit the baby. His involvement can make a world of difference to our future generation.
Our schools and churches need to become the supportive and guiding bodies for young parents – rather than judging them and making them feel little and useless. A young mother feeling worthless finds it very hard to raise a child with good self-confidence.
Earlier this year we presented the Rebuilding Dreams programme to 900 teenage mothers and fathers in Gauteng. Pregnancy at a young age often means broken dreams of fun and joy, a white marriage, education or a good job. Some teenagers wanted to commit suicide, other thought of abortion. Teenagers found it difficult to talk to their parents and couldn’t face going back to school. We guided them to face their broken dreams, deal with it and start new – step by step. They learnt how to be involved fathers and mothers.
Many found joy, rebuilt relationships and made new plans. They found support in each other and in their group leaders, who became their mentors. They discovered teenage pregnancy is a sad, broken dream, but not the end of their lives. With the support of the community, especially their parents, they could rebuild their dreams.
Contact Erna Rheeder at SAVF FAMNET, for more about “Rebuilding Dreams.”

Ask these 5 questions in raising a good role model!

“Bring us someone famous! Someone we can follow!”

This is the cry of many young people. Adults are often frustrated when children don’t follow their instructions, but rather listen to what pop stars, famous sports heroes and actors who made it, have to say. We know how dangerous that can be. The famous are still human, make mistakes and can lead their followers into deep trouble.
I recently met with several people working to bring positive change in different communities. All of them agreed that their communities lack good role models. It made me wonder about our parenting programmes because parents are the first role models for their children. Teaching children right from wrong means training them to be good role models.
So Parents, can you answer these questions truthfully?

1. Do you teach your children right from wrong?
2. Do you practise what you preach?
3. Do you praise and encourage your children?
4. Do you talk to your children?
5. Do you show them your love by spending time with them, hugging them and looking them in the eyes?

If you answered 5 times yes and doing it consistently, your child might test what other “role models” offer, but will return to your teachings and lifestyle. If you are in doubt, you should work on becoming your child’s best role model. Make good choices, do the right thing and always strengthen your most important relationships.
The influence of a good role model is much stronger than you can imagine. Thabo was 11 years old when his parents got divorced. It troubled him and he became involved with gangsters who did one wrong thing after the other until they began stealing cars. A young car dealer, Bheki, lived in their street and often spent good times with Thabo. He was aware of the gang’s wrong doings and talked to Thabo about better choices. He warned him against stealing from his dealership. But he continued being a friend – a big brother watching over the young fatherless boy.
Bheki’s friendship and example stayed with Thabo and he decided to cut himself loose from the rest of the gang. He grew up as a responsible adult and learnt from Bheki what his father never taught him. He is now a committed parent with two children and he earns an honest salary. Above that, he became a positive role model and is part of an organisation who models and encourages involved fatherhood. Both Bheki and Thabo are the kind of role models our children and communities need. Not famous, but strong and consistent!
The thing is that our children seldom believe they can influence others positively. They rather follow the bad influence of others.
Recently I took 3 co-workers to a high school where the children were divided into 4 groups and we talked about good choices. We ended by asking them to raise their hands if they believed they could influence others – in other words, that they were role models. Only a few raised their hands.
Parents: It is in praising good behaviour that we build character and teach our children to believe that they have value and can influence others. They can do it while they are still young. Teach it to your child and in the next generation, our children will be the role models the community will want to follow! Teach your child what is right, live the example, praise good behaviour, talk to them and love them.

Enjoy good role modelling!

Erna Rheeder