In 2008, Rays of Hope was a small but growing NGO, but doors were opening for us to do some significant work with Child Headed Households in Alexandra. HIV/Aids was leaving children orphaned and in desperate circumstances on a weekly basis. The police and a high school first approached us for help in coping with the families of children who had been orphaned. Rays of Hope was ready and willing, but soon realised that what these children had lost with the deaths of their parents was primarily relationship with significant others, not goods. We could buy them food and clothes, but it didn’t fill the gap. We needed to have people in the community visit with them, build relationships with them, accept them and love them; in short, to bring them up. In order to do this, we needed field workers, and to be able to pay them.
This vision was shared with a number of friends, and seven amazing men decided to cycle from Clarens to Johannesburg to raise funds – R150 000 was the outcome of the first tour! Since then six field workers have been employed, and hundreds of children have been significantly helped and put on the path to a life in which they are not only self-sufficient, but they make a contribution to the community around them.