In 2013 a group of women from the Dwarsrivier Valley came together with one concern in their hearts – the children of the valley. Living in the area they had been touched by children roaming the streets, some of them in desperate circumstances. Parents working long hours, poverty and substance abuse can leave children hungry, bored and often feeling unloved and unwanted. Such children often find solace in groups. In similar situations and together, they get involved in crime, sexual promiscuity and substance abuse. One of the ladies, Marietjie Steyn, had been part of an after care centre in an informal settlement in Zandspruit, Johannesburg, for 10 years. Marietjie had seen the fruit of such a project and knew that this was what the children of Kylemore needed – a place, away from the streets, where they would feel loved and cared for and be given food, attention and stimulation. In 2015 the NGO Dwarsriver Valley Initiative was formed and named the Aitsa! After Care Centre. Aitsa!, a local Khoi San word, means Wow  – an expression and exclamation of awe and excitement.

Our hear from the start was to help children restore their dignity and develop their full potential.

We believe that when we take our children into our program at a young age, walk with them throughout their school journey and partner with their parents – all based on Biblical values – that we can and will reduce the barriers for our children to become what God intended them to be and develop into healthy, well rounded God fearing citizens who can make a tremendous impact in our world.

Marietjie