A project to build a village for orphaned children in Hartbeespoort can finally go ahead after it was stalled by government structures for almost eight years.
The 175 ha property on Kommandonek near Kosmos has finally been transferred into a trust and the construction of the Village of Hope can continue. Village of Hope has been in the pipeline since 2012 and the transfer of the land into the Mobile Education and Training Trust (METT) was already approved by the Minister of Public Works in 2014, but since then the project has stumbled onto many obstacles due to alleged political interference.
METT recently received the approval from government and the transfer was completed soon after. “We are resuming construction at the end of February and hope to take in the first orphans in August this year, said Hennie Snyman, chairman of METT.
Bidvest has already invested in the almost R500 million project and a pre-primary school, primary school and unit for toddlers have already been built. Construction will now start on a high school, housing for the orphans, an education centre, as well as a high performance centre. Other facilities will include amongst others, a soccer, rugby and hockey field, tennis courts, swimming pool and gym.
“This safe haven is aimed at, amongst other things, protecting, advancing and uplifting orphaned and abused children by providing them with the means to firstly satisfy their basic human needs and thereafter to move on to meet their higher-level growth needs. METT believes that, by equipping children with essential moral values and life skills they will grow up to be individuals who influence positive change within South Africa, Africa and the world,” Snyman said.
The aim is to not only give orphans and abused children and women a home, but to educate the children through the schools and education skills development centre. An agricultural college is also planned. A game-breeding project is already underway and other projects include a baby rhino orphanage and a factory that will manufacture affordable solar panels for the “forgotten”, as Snyman calls communities that do not have access to electricity.
Bidvest and other local and international companies have invested in the project that promises to be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
“Discovery Vitality also intends to set up a cycling trail on the property, Snyman said. “We are going to keep the children busy… and not on cellphones or laptops!”
The Village of Hope will also be a ‘green’ project totally constructed with recycled polystyrene and cement mix blocks. “This building method combines recycled waste, binding chemicals and emulsions to create the most effective cladding and building solution which not only save costs, but provide a quicker, stronger and greener product than conventional building methods.”