Ons Plek in need of funds

Ons Plek says it needs R800­000 to get through the current financial year.

A Woodstock organisation helping girls living on the street and preventing others from ending up there is in financial trouble and has launched a crowd-funding campaign.

So far Ons Plek has raised R155 088 through its BackaBuddy campaign, but the organisation says it needs R800­000 to get through the current financial year.

Ons Plek’s director, Pam Jackson, said fund-raisers cancelled by Covid-19 had placed its work in jeopardy.

According to social worker Lee Anne Dolley, it costs R380000 a month to run the home, and funds are needed to pay staff salaries.

“Without staff we would not be able to implement our programme. Funds also go towards the girls’ education and school supplies, food-and-household supplies, health-care costs and household utilities,” she said.

Ons Plek is registered for 34 girls and four babies, and it is full. Girls are placed in its care by social workers and the courts.

“Once assessed as in need of care and protection, girls are placed with a court order. We do have girls who are placed as an emergency, which is then followed up with a court order,” Ms Dolley said.

At Ons Plek, the girls receive counselling and take part in household duties. They learn to cook, clean and shop economically. The home also runs programmes to help the girls return to school and their families.

Allerease Olanrewaju, who lived in one of Ons Plek’s residential shelters in the 1990s, said: “People should support them because of the value they add to the lives of young girls who are struggling to see their own value. They changed my life by making me realise that I belong in society and that I can play an important role in my community. Today, I am still applying the life skills they taught me.”

Ms Jackson said Ons Plek was moved by the support that had come in over the past few weeks.

“We are not there yet as, technically, we need R800 000 to see us through to the end of this financial year. However, the funds that have come in so far are giving us some much-needed breathing space, allowing us to help as many vulnerable girls as we can – particularly now that Covid-19 has made the vulnerable even more vulnerable.”

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