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Alex children come face to face with the Big Five

ALEXANDRA – Alex children are treated to the Big Five at the Joburg Zoo.


During the school holidays, 50 children from Alexandra made their first visit to the Johannesburg Zoo.

The closest most of them had ever come to a lion or crocodile was in the pages of a book, so a face-to-face encounter with Africa’s largest predators was incredibly exciting.

Sihle Mooi, co-ordinator of Rays of Hope’s Child Headed Households (CHH) project said, “They were completely in awe, and they could not believe that the animals were so big. All they had seen were pictures.”

CHH and the Homework Club is Rays of Hope’s response to the appalling situation that many of Alex’s children find themselves in. Poor or non-existent home and family structures result in these children struggling at school from an early age.

With overcrowded classrooms, teachers in the township schools are unable to give special attention to the under-performers. “Kids are promoted year after year into the next grade without passing, and end up being basically illiterate,” Mooi said.

CHH focuses on vulnerable children in their homes, providing material and emotional support, as well as protection from abuse. At the CHH centre in Alex is a Homework Club, an initiative that seeks to fill the academic gaps that arise from poor or insufficient schooling. “Right now, we cater for about 55 children, aged from five to 13.”

After snacks, the group had a trip in the open-sided van that conveniently arrived to take some very tired, but very happy, children back to the combis.

“We are grateful to members of the public for assisting with this outing. It was a great success and really took these children out of their unfortunate home situations for a day. They loved it,” Mooi concluded.

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