Defining identity for the kids the system left behind


Countless children in South Africa are missing documentation to prove their identities. Without birth certificates, many are refused entry into mainstream schools and denied a chance to better their situations. Led by local farmer Marieta Groenewald, volunteers in a Free State community are using the skills they have to equip these kids with food, education and an abundance of love – and a chance to turn their lives around.

After seeing kids begging near her local supermarket in Clocolan, Groenewald was compelled to do more than just hand over food or small change. When she heard of their inability to attend other schools, she founded the Lethotheng Community Centre with the heart to give them the opportunities they deserve. “If children realise their own potential, we will turn South Africa around,” she says. The organisation now supports 110 enthusiastic minds with food, clothing and lessons in English, Mathematics and life skills. Their hands shoot up in class, eager to answer questions or contribute. “The children are like sponges, they love the education. They want to be here at school,” Groenewald says.

Rehabilitation is not an easy process. Even with food and shelter available, many end up back where they started. Groenewald believes it’s about more than just providing basic needs. Children require emotional care and support. She’s committed to giving them as much as possible. It’s this love and dedication that underpins everything she does, and has seen the kids growing to their full potential.