Taking Hands to Care for Kids

Kidz Care Trust is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that attends to the basic needs of young boys who live and work on the streets of Bloemfontein. For the past 17 years, the University of the Free State (UFS) has provided surrounding communities with much-needed assistance, making available medical students to attend to NPOs’ immediate needs. This year, for the first time, Kidz Care Trust is also receiving assistance from the UFS.

A group of nine third-year medical students were assigned to Kidz Care Trust by the UFS, under the leadership of Riza Ehlers. The first challenge Riza and her group became aware of was that the boys had a great need for basic medical care. The Kidz Care Centre is located in Roodewal, on the outskirts of Bloemfontein; thus, there is no public hospital or clinic close enough to offer medical care to the boys. The students responded to this by organising a mobile clinic from the Free State Department of Health, which will visit the children weekly. Information sessions, immunisation, paediatric aid and psychology sessions were also arranged for the boys.

The biggest and most pressing need Kidz Care had to provide for in regard to the boys was basic education. Marita Van Kraayenburg, the Manager of Kidz Care Trust, emphasises how important education is for the boys. “Without a proper education, it is impossible for us to integrate as functioning members of society.” The medical students addressed this challenge by approaching Brebner High School, St. Michaels School and Saint Andrews School for donations. The schools donated books and blackboards to Kidz Care Trust. In addition, the medical students collaborate with education students to teach the boys basic writing, reading and mathematics skills.

Marketing and fundraising are a secondary objective for Riza and her team. “The reason we do not focus so much on marketing or fundraising is because both of these are often unsustainable. Our goal and Kidz Care’s goal are to establish a solid network that annually collaborates with the organisation to improve the lives of the kids. A once-off donation is simply not enough.”

If you want to assist these boys who live and work on the streets of Bloemfontein, contact Marita Van Kraayenburg on 082 775 2770