The Steinhoff Extended Family recently celebrated a decade of bringing hope to children infected, affected, or orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
Steinhoff works in partnership with Abraham Kriel Childcare and their ten-year-old programme celebrated the milestone on 26 September with many of the 300 cared for children in attendance.
“We simply try to do our best,” said Bruno Steinhoff, founder of Steinhoff International Holdings and patron of the Extended Family Programme.
These children, mostly from child-headed households, are from Zola, Snake Park, and Emdeni in Soweto.
Bruno called the work done by the Programme’s team a labour of love and that the children they cared for were the real heroes.
“These children are the real heroes. By rising above their challenges, they are sending a message of hope to the entire neighbourhood where they live as well as to all those involved in the programme,” said Bruno.
Two of these heroes are 14-year-old Sibongile Maluleke and 19-year-old Thulani Radebe who want their future careers to help South Africa succeed.
Sibongile’s mother died when she was just nine years old and is now committed to pursuing a career path that will help in the fight against HIV.
“I saw what these diseases can do when I was young and my mom was sick. People said there was nothing they could do to help her. I decided there and then that I would become a doctor. I want to help so that others won’t feel the pain that I felt,” she said.
Thulani, a graduate of the Programme, is studying Law at the University of Johannesburg but continues to make time to volunteer and help younger children.
“My biggest wish is to now see myself break the limits that the world has set for children like us; to prove that our lives mean something. I also want to return to Abraham Kriel to help more children achieve their dreams – just like the programme has helped us,” said Thulani.
So by simply trying their best, the Extended Family Programme has managed to turn children in to conscious young adults wanting to give back what was given to them.