To build a better world, it is a good idea to start with the youth. And it is into this generation that the Chevrolet Ute Force is putting some of its efforts, at Othandweni Orphanage in Soweto.
The UTE Force is a Chevrolet initiative. The car maker set up a team of varied and skilled experts, from carpenters and plumbers to electricians and industrial designers, and supplied them with a fleet of Chevrolet Utilities – bakkies – to travel around the country for a year completing extraordinary missions for communities who need it most.
Music is the method the team is using at the orphanage, through the help of Be Sharp Beetles. Ute Force has signed a contract with the latter, which will hold music sessions every Monday at the orphanage for the rest of the year.
Be Sharp Beetles is a musical programme used in nursery and primary schools to help children’s development. It focuses on children from birth to eight years of age, using original music.
All age groups are exposed to African, Latin American, jazz, classical (opera and orchestral), rock and roll, big band, contemporary pop, ballads, country and western and instrumental music.
The programme uses dance, rhyme, baby massaging and exercise, stories that develop cultural awareness, puppet play, singing and movement, as well as instrument play and games.
Older children learn musical notation, classical composers, the orchestra, composition and complex rhythmic development, as well as to play instruments like the recorder and glockenspiel.
Chevrolet Ute Force is funding the programme at Othandweni. The elderly volunteers will be involved in the music sessions, and will be able to participate in the dancing and singing. Othandweni, which means “place of love” in Zulu and Xhosa, is in Mofolo South, Soweto.
WORKING FOR A BETTER FUTURE
In working for a better future, the orphanage opened its doors to abused, abandoned and neglected children in 1984. At present it cares for 90 children from birth to 18 years. With open arms and limited space, it welcomes mothers and pregnant women worried about the wellbeing and future of their unborn children.
It offers supervised care for its residents. There are five cottages divided into age groups – the youngest in the cottages are five years old. The cottages were renovated and renamed, with their new names embracing the values that are core to a child’s development; they are now called the houses of Hope, Dignity, Respect, Trust and Honesty. These same values are inculcated in the children daily. The orphanage’s computer room was also refurbished.
More than 30 toddlers live at the nursery, where they are monitored 24 hours a day by qualified nurses and assistants. Abandoned babies often have to be nursed back to health while they await adoption, foster care or to be reunited with their families.
For children to become stable and productive adults, they need to enjoy life and to grow up in a safe, happy and healthy environment. This was the motivation behind the Ute Force intervention at Othandweni Orphanage.