The children are referred to LIV from the Department of Social Development (DSD) and placed with LIV on a Foster Care Court Order under the Children’s Act 2008. They have been through a process of assessment and their circumstances have been investigated by DSD. There is no geographical restriction as to whether a child can come to LIV or not, the decision is always made in the child’s best interest and in line with legislation.
0-12 years and children stay until they are adults.
All the children placed with LIV are defined as ‘children in need of care and protection’ under the Children’s Act. Some of the children are orphaned, and affected directly or indirectly by HIV. The others have not been cared for adequately at home; many suffering various degrees of neglect/abuse.
It is important for the child’s development that they have a sense of belonging and know where they come from. Contact with the ‘world out there’ is an important part of their growth and development. The child’s family are allowed to visit, these visits may be closely managed and supervised depending on the child’s circumstances. With permission from DSW the children are allowed to visit their extended family and build relationship with significant others.
Placement at LIV for any child is a decision made in the child’s best interests. LIV has no inclusion or exclusion policy based on religion, beliefs, race etc.
A core value of the project is family and LIV seeks to replicate that as far as possible. No child will be asked to leave when they turn 18. As the child is reaching their senior years in school or their vocational training, the young person will be encouraged to think about and explore what they want to do next. LIV will seek to enable and empower them to follow that dream and goal. This could be further education, employment, staying on the Village or moving off the Village to where their family are.
The mothers are found from a network of Churches, Church and Community Leaders and pastors in the local areas. The Church Leader must recommend members of their congregation who have a heart for the orphaned and vulnerable child, LIV seeks to build a relationship with these ladies over a period of months.
LIV builds the relationship through one on one counselling sessions, group training and social time together. This process helps the potential mother and LIV make an assessment as to whether being a LIV mother is the right way forward.
We ask that our mothers are over 35, single, widowed or divorced and are able to converse in English and Zulu. Having the heart and passion for making a difference in the lives of the children are two key factors that are considered in the selection process.
Training is done over a period of 6 weeks, followed by 2 – 3 months continued training once they are living on the Village.
The mothers are off the village 1 weekend per month and 1 day a week. This helps them maintain their family connections.
LIV is aware of the importance of a father’s role in a child’s life. Thus, the Father Heart Ministry has been introduced, where the children will be mentored by a selected group of men.
To date, 96 environmentally friendly homes are complete with 28 house mothers (with a further 38 mothers in training) and more than 120 children in residence. Pre School, Junior and Senior primary Schools are established, as well as the playschool with dedicated, talented teachers guiding and instructing the children. The LIV School has a well-equipped computer room with 30 computers and the LIV School Library continues to grow through incredible donations of books from various sources.
There is a team of social workers, counsellors, Village operations staff, doctors and medics who work together in a multidisciplinary team, ensuring that LIV cares for the children excellently. The mothers are equipped and supported to manage and run their home.
It is vital that we help the children to work through past experiences enabling them to deal with any issues and then to move forward with hope. Working together we raise and equip these children to become leaders.
The future plan is to see many villages across South Africa. LIV has purchased the neighbouring 120 hectare farm for a further two Villages, catering for another 2,500 children. An option has been taken on further neighbouring land to increase the number of children to be cared for in the LIV-Cottonlands Villages to between 4,000 and 5,000 children.
LIV is assisting others, who have the same vision, to build Villages in pretoria, benoni, kimberley, grahamstown, East London and george.
LIV has received various Local government grants for the infrastructure and building the Village. The running costs and sustainability of the Village comes from Corporate and individual donations and corporate investments with LIV business.
LIV Business Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of LIV. Its main aim is to invest in businesses to provide for the sustainability of LIV Village and create jobs. LIV business is a 100% broad based black Owned Company, with the children of LIV Village benefiting 100%.
LIV needs monthly support for 700 children at R1,000 per child per month. The vision is to have many people supporting one child each, rather than relying on a single source of income. LIV also has a needs list, which is available upon request.