A home in Benoni, in the east of Johannesburg, provides an astute service to children up to 12 at two separate properties in the city and one in Delmas. Running costs, as with all orphanages, will be a perennial problem, but The Almond Tree undoubtedly has some of the most skilled caretakers and facilitators one could ask for. Their expertise make for a loving, efficient, hygienic and educative home that can’t be rivalled easily.
What makes The Almond Tree stand out is that they do not treat their facilities as some sort of conveyor. Current beneficiaries aren’t merely shipped off to foster care or other homes to make room for new faces as soon as possible. Instead, children are cared for by qualified staff in an environment that provides routine – one with medical care in the form of fully-stocked, on-site treatment rooms – and assists them to seamlessly integrate into the schooling system.
The organisation has grown rapidly and sustained its operations steadily since 2014 – a rather short term given that other NPOs who run similar programmes battle for years. The secret and the bedrock behind The Almond Tree’s continuing success is the partners that have come alongside them. Both the baby home and the children’s village in Benoni and the facility in Delmas are not only upheld by the public’s support, but they have regular investors and foundations that assist them financially. As yet they do not receive any government assistance, but the properties were donated for use in a trust.
It is, however, not only financial juggernauts that are lending their support to the NPO. Caitlyn Wright, a pupil of Benoni High School and the winner of the Miss Benoni pageant in 2018 has used her position to make her fellow contestants aware of The Almond Tree. Her endeavours have been so successful that the competition now uses the organisation as their official charity. She first became aware of them during her time as a contestant and firmly believes that they a brim-full of potential. She is, at present, collaborating with Vaughn’s Creations to plan a golf day for a much-needed fiscal injection.
The Almond Tree, as part of a 10-year plan, won’t remain stagnant. There are additional properties allocated to expand the children’s village, aiming to provide permanent residence for up to 350 children. It is rather large as is, but given our country’s galling number of homeless children, more residences and their accompanying amenities are required to care for a larger number. This, of course, will entail an additional financial burden, and while the odds of failure at the Almond Tree are slim, they’ll always need every ounce of support they can receive.