There is a small but significant oasis for at least some of these kids in the unlikely setting of a monastic community right in the middle of fashionable Capetown. There the older teenagers learn different trades while the younger ones get to go to school, many while they are still living on the streets, or in local hostels, by night. At first, we felt overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the needs. It seemed that anything we might conceivably contribute would make no difference. But the story of the little boy throwing stranded starfish back into the sea was sent to me in an email. A passing man pointed out there were so many of them that it was really a waste of time. The little boy picked one up and said, “it is not a waste of time for this one”.
This changed everything for us.
After spending a month at the projects it was clear that the helpers – social workers, teachers, administrators, cooks, cleaners – also needed some help in managing the very demanding work expected of them. So, over the next three years, Karen and I will be developing a robust staff support programme for them.
This is our starfish.”
Michael also has a blog http://www.capewonders.blogspot.com/. where you can keep up with their wonderful work.