At the heart of Kylemore in Dwarsrivier Valley lies the Aitsa! Aftercare Centre. After moving into the Banhoek Valley in the middle of 2012, the Steyn family had completely fallen in love with the place – from the surrounding farms and the mountains of the valley, but much more specifically, the quaint village of Kylemore.
As time progressed, Maritjie Steyn – an educational psychologist and community member – had noticed certain disparities in the area. What naturally stood out to her, given her profession, was the need to find a haven for mostly single parents who found themselves in desperate circumstances without added help to take care of their children while they’re at work.
Most kids that are left unattended for longer periods, without adult supervision, are prone to roaming the streets and finding solace in groups. The downside of these situations is the peer pressure to experiment with substances, and subsequently, crime. That is how the Aitsa! Aftercare Centre was born.
The Centre provides food, stimulation and care & puts most parents – who cannot afford aftercare – at ease. The purpose of the centre is to create a safe and loving environment where each child’s full potential can be developed. They are committed to collaborating with each child and their parent/s to ensure there is a fair chance of ensuring each child gets the necessary care and attention they deserve to safeguard their childhood.
As the only aftercare centre in the area, it was important for Maritjie that the space reflects what they offer. “We got a sponsor for the mobile classrooms but they come in white. We knew we needed colour but paint is expensive. So, it was just an absolute miracle that Plascon came on board,” says Maritjie of the transformation that has since taken place. The centre has been transformed into a really creative space where the children can learn and have fun.
By believing in the future of every child that enters Aitsa! Aftercare Centre, Maritjie and her team are fulfilling their core mission: to provide a safe and nurturing place for every child that needs it.