Our Children

The Children of Joy

Every Single Soul is a Poem Written On The Back Of God's Hand

Michael Franti

Our Children are remarkable kids! All of them have survived extreme situations which have happened to them early in their young lives. To give a small glimpse of these incredible humans we have given some information about where they have come from and included some of their stories of survival below. *

Before the Village of Joy

Our Children come from Diepsloot where Changing Lives Ministries began in 1999.

Established in 1995, Diepsloot is one of Johannesburg newest townships. But it has grown exponentially and is now home to an estimated 300,000 people. There are an estimated 24,737 'shacks' along with more than 5,000 formal housing structures. In each dwelling an average of 8 people reside.

This community is profoundly affected by poverty. The HIV prevalence rate is triple the provincial rate and many residents fall prey to drug and alcohol abuse. There is a high rate of crime, gangsterism, domestic violence, child abuse & neglect, and rape. With a 40-50% rate of unemployment, households often need to get by on the minimum wage of one earner, which can be as low as R2,000 ($200) per month.

Responding to demonstrated community need Milly Jarvis opened Diepsloot’s first Children's Home which cared for abused and neglected children. CLM outgrew the Diepsloot house and in 2008 moved to The Village of Joy – our special home located in a semi-rural area north west of Johannesburg.

Stories of Survival

S – Joined our home in 2001, S left for a brief sojourn in 2009 but was back with us in 2010 which made S very happy. S completed her 12 years of schooling and is currently attending beautician school.

C- Was a victim of severe abuse, being trafficked into the country of South Africa. After surviving a dangerous pregnancy at age 12 C has struggled with psychological stability and has recently left to live with a sibling located in her home country.

T – Has been with us since 2007, T wishes to complete schooling and to become a social worker so that T can help needy people.

B – Arrived in our home in 2009, with several siblings. They were the victims of severe neglect due to their biological mothers inability to care for them due to health problems. B enjoys playing basketball and bicycling.

N – Arrived in 2009 as well. N was born with a physical handicap but is one tough cookie. In spring of 2010 a donation provided the means for surgery which has brought considerable pain relief and allowed N to regain better use of a limited limb. This is a significant improvement in N's quality of life and it is very clear to see the positive effect it has had in N's life. N is still physically disabled and was chosen at her school to represent them at the 2015 Disabled Championships Athletics where N won 2 Gold awards for N's 2 events.

L – Came to our home in 2010 and despite L's previously unhappy childhood- L has begun to smile again and is particularly helpful and supports the other children. L enjoys school and baking.

C – A younger sibling to some of our other children C joined the village in 2009. C enjoys jumping on the trampoline, and puppets.

N + M - twins who joined the village family in 2010. Social Workers placed them with us after finding them in Diepsloot in a horrific situation. Under the influence of alcohol they were being severely abused and M has extensive severe burns on M's legs. Thankfully, these healed well after proper medical attention. They have settled in well and they both are very clever and usually win many scholastic and sporting awards.

B – Came in 2009 after B's elderly grandmother was found unable to care for B and Social Workers found B in a grim environment. B never the less has a sunny disposition, and loves puzzles, dancing and singing. B is very responsible and has taken on the duty of feeding our domestic cats with love and care.

L – A very witty kid who joined our family with a sibling in 2009. After an unfortunate start in life they have both really blossomed in our Village of Joy.

T – One of five siblings placed with us in 2009. T is particularly good at any type of ball game, with eyes that literally light up when a ball comes T's way.

V – Another of the siblings placed in 2009, V enjoys active play however due to some learning difficulties tends to be a little shy. However V is a very loving and caring child.

N – With us since birth. N's teenage mother was unable to care for N and so N has been (like our others children) literally adopted by Milly. N is a whirlwind of activity, quite opinionated and has a notable appetite.

K – On Christmas Eve concerned people in Diepsloot called Police and Child Welfare after hearing a child cry for hours. K a tiny toddler was found abandoned and in deplorable conditions. K had spent over 3 days alone with no food or care. Milly was called to please urgently assist which she did. K was a Christmas gift to our big family and came to live at the Village of Joy where K is now thriving and loves going to school.

L – The youngest of our largest sibling set arriving in 2009 L came to us very withdrawn and extremely shy. Today L is a very active, well-adjusted, lovely, and friendly child. Very caring towards the younger children.

S – Came to us in a sad state. Unresponsive and extraordinarily overweight with Malnutrition literally in danger of warping S's leg bones. The child of a teen mother, instead of receiving breast milk or baby formula S was only given a nutritionally inadequate but excessive amount of corn porridge. S was also kept in a small space and not interacted with or encouraged to move. S received physiotherapy for undeveloped muscles and specially tailored nutrition to reduce S's weight and meet S's developmental needs. S also received one on one care and love which gradually brought S out of a stupor. To watch it was to literally see S come to life! Beginning to respond to attention, participate, explore the environment and smile! Since S's recovery S's then teenage mother also has matured and in 2014 was allowed to to regain custody of S under supervision from Social Welfare.

*Due to the value we place on family reunification whenever possible, we celebrate biological families finding each other and being restored, even when it’s hard to say goodbye to children who have carved places in our hearts during their time with us. We will always endeavour to work whenever possible to rebuild families and support biologically related caretakers when they are found. The children of CLM are generally abandoned (not orphaned) or brought to us through protective custody because of abuse or neglect.


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Account Name: Changing Lives Ministries
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