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Ons Plek Projects

“Ons Plek – a place for us!” was the delighted response of Cape Town’s invisible street children, the girls, when Ons Plek Shelter opened for them in 1988. Ons Plek is a 24-hour assessment centre and the only intake shelter for girls in Cape Town. This residential safe-house has 16 beds, but can accommodate up to 25 girls on mattresses. Providing 24-hour accommodation, counselling and education while undertaking the complex reunification process, is the key to our success.Ons Plek Projects consists of• Ons Plek intake shelter for girls doing comprehensive assessment and development care with reunification as a priority. • Siviwe second-phase shelter for girls focusing on therapeutic and developmental children’s home with reunification as a priority • Ukondla – Community Project with prevention as a priority run at three venues in Philippi for boys and girls at risk of becoming street children.Each year almost 150 girls between 6 and 18 years leave home to fend for themselves on the streets of Cape Town. The girls have left home to escape physical abuse and neglect. They report that they eat better on the street than they do at home.The female street children are the poorest of the poor. They have the lowest status at home and on the street. Our programme is designed to empower the girls to cope with life. While the girls adjust to a structured environment, our social worker and child care staff investigate home circumstances.For 95% there is a supervised return to their families who are helped to resolve their difficulties.The girls are empowered by instilling a sense of responsibility for themselves. Each girl must participate in household duties, including all cooking and shopping for the food. Household decisions are made by girls and staff together.We promote an active programme of vocational skills training using formal and informal programmes. Most girls attend school, with support from the homework tutor. Creative educational workshops help girls build important learning skills. Non-school going girls are also provided with work skills.

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