Project Furniture isn’t just about providing a seat or a cushion to sit on. Its about ensuring that children in need have a comfortable and safe environment to grow up in.
Some people remember every detail of their childhood – their toys, pets, funny things they have said, all the silly ideas they had, perhaps more than anything, their loving home and family. But only some people will remember some or all of these things.
Uthando House is currently home to 30 beautiful children, who have suffered for numerous reasons before they were placed at the centre. Part of their healing is helping them rebuild a sense of belonging to feel part of a family and having a pleasant home atmosphere.
It’s not always easy, and one of the problems at the moment is the lack of furniture in the TV room. Take a look at your own living area, the place where you share the majority of you time with your family – could you comfortably seat 30?
One might think this problem is not so big until you realise the long-term consequences. While there are thirty children in the home, all of them deserving the same chance to enjoy the perks of the television, the seating in the TV room is enough only for about ten.
Most of the children at the centre have been abused and/or neglected, and a major way to help overcome the trauma for them is through socialisation and connecting in the community. At the moment, the staff at the centre are very worried about not being able to provide them with better conditions to connect. A common TV room, where all of them could sit together at the same time, would remarkably improve this situation. They should not have to compete for a chair. They should not feel rejected or think they are less important part of the group because they don’t have a place to sit. We do not want them to feel neglected again
These children come from different backgrounds, but all of them remember a certain similar pain they have dealt with. Uthando House is a place to help them rebuild their self-confidence and provide them with a sense of safety. Many of them have never had something to call their own. The TV room should be something of their own – a place where they will feel welcome anytime, not having to fear whether they will come too late to find a seat. Proper seating – a basic necessity – is so important, and all of our children deserve to be treated equally. The importance of having somewhere that they can all fit and sit together symbolises that they are not alone they have friends around them, they are accepted, they belong… they are family.
There is another extremely important reason behind our strong wish to improve seating in the TV room, which is, of course, the TV itself. Ever since the television was born, it was considered to be “a window to the world”. Therefore, we hope the children will have better conditions to enjoy the TV magic. It is not about the fun they would have only – although we consider the fun extremely important for their healthy development. It is also about spreading their worldviews through the TV programs. By watching the educational contents, they will be able to understand the world around them better, as well as their own position in the world. Our forever hope is for them to be inspired for the future. By watching some interesting TV shows, we believe they will learn how to dream big. Some of them might get interested in science or medicine or sports or humanities or something equally nice. Some of them might develop their big dreams into a big reality and achieve great things in their field. Up until to now, they have been deprived of the chance to dream. That is what we are hoping change. Not just with adding more furniture, but with a long list of necessities and extra additions to the centre which can aid in providing hope for their futures.
Our goals are achievable through small steps, which will eventually prove to be huge steps for the children of Uthando House. Some might consider one regular chair just a piece of furniture but for these children, this chair is so much more. It is their ticket to see something fun or inspiring on TV, it is the verification that they have their own place and it is their way to reestablish the sense of belonging to a harmonious family. Being thankful for every chance they get, these children will appreciate this chance as well and use it the best they can. Being highly imaginative as well, they will intuitively understand how a small chair actually means much more. This gift will prove to them that they are not alone and somebody cares about them after all, and that is actually what they need the most. There is no such thing as “just a regular chair” for them.
Finally, let’s not forget the meaning of TV in family lives. Across the globe, families get together every day to watch their favorite TV shows. This does not have to be related to the TV program itself and those shows do not have to be particularly special, but they still are special to them. Why? The family tradition of watching TV is what matters. The sense of closeness and connecting is what makes this ritual so important. What would happen if the mother, father and a child would watch TV on their own while the second child doesn’t have a place to sit? Loving and respecting all of our kids equally, we would like to make this small change in order to avoid such a situation. A complete family unit is what we aim for today. Tomorrow, hopefully, this is going to have much greater impact on the lives of our kids. While we cannot erase all the bad memories these children have had before they became a part of the Uthando family, we are at least trying to give them new, better memories. Once they grow up, maybe they won’t remember every detail of their childhood days. However, just like everyone else, they will remember what really matters – their home and family. Let’s make their home comfortable enough for everyone. Let’s show them the real meaning of their family life.
2017 New Beds for the boys (Uthando House)
One of needs we discovered was for a separate bedroom for the young boys. Space had already been made for a young girls room, and it had been set up. For many reasons, both developmental and emotional, it is preferable to have the younger kids in their own space apart from the teenagers.
The young boys room involved moving the contents of the old laundry/storeroom and creating a room that could become the young boys room.
With generous donations, we were able to purchase new bunk beds for the new boys bedroom and to replace some of the old broken bed frames.
You should have seen the smiles on their faces when the bunks arrived on the back of a truck! The young boys range in age from 3 – 8 years and while it is a simple space, it is all theirs!