Dear Family & Friends,
We hope this update finds you and your loved ones well, and we hope you are celebrating a joyous Christmas and holiday season. May we all look forward to the prospects of a New Year filled with renewed hope and a commitment to love one another through these unprecedented times.
Through the struggles of this past year, we still have much to be grateful for, and the same can be said of our Tapestry Homes. South Africa has been hit extremely hard by the Covid 19 pandemic which has made it particularly difficult for our house mothers. Imagine having to try and manage six energetic and emotionally scarred youngsters through multiple stay-at-home lockdowns and protracted school closures?
But God promises to work all things together for good. We, and our local partner Home From Home, place great value on connectedness as a means to creating “family”, particularly where biological links have been broken. It is this sense of belonging and unconditional love that allows our children to rise above their challenges and vulnerabilities to ultimately live purposeful and productive lives and reach their God-given potential.
Home confinement for months on end, while challenging, has allowed our foster mothers and children to grow closer together and increase the bonds of trust and connectedness to promote deeper family ties. We are incredibly grateful for the hearts of our foster mothers and their unwavering commitment to love our kids unconditionally. We particularly want to shine the spotlight on them in this issue.
Philiswa is in her early 50’s and was born and raised by her grandmother in the Eastern Cape as her parents were working away from home. She is the eldest of six children and from a young age, took it upon herself to assist with caring for her younger siblings. In her early twenties, Philiswa was unable to find work in the Eastern Cape, and she needed to move away from her family and came to Cape Town to find a job.
Initially, she worked as a cleaner in Cape Town and thereafter ran her own small business from home, but it was tough going and she decided to look for a job once more. Philiswa began working as a relief foster mother in 2013 and a year later became a foster mother for our Tapestry Homes. She has been with our local Home from Home partner ever since.
Her love and care for the children is truly amazing. She shows great resilience and courage and has overcome many challenges in this role and in her personal life. Two of her brothers died from Covid-19 and Florence, her colleague and friend in the foster home next door, died too. Despite these losses, Philiswa has comforted and supported the children in her care, who were also deeply affected by Florence’s passing.
The Orange Art Project was the brainchild of Jill Trappler, an established South African visual artist who encouraged eight artists from the Orange Art Group to assist her in introducing the joy of creativity to the Home from Home children during lockdown in 2020. The children ranged in age from three to 18 years old.
The National Arts Council was interested in the social benefits of the project and provided much needed funding. A colorful exhibition of the children’s artwork took place at the Spin Street Gallery in Cape Town in mid-February this year. It was open to the public and received great attention both locally and nationally.
Over a period of 8 months, 8 artists engaged 60 children in 14 foster homes, creating 347 art works. At the art exhibition, 81 pieces were sold and $1,500 was raised. Jill commented, “It was wonderful to witness the development over eight months and observe how art became part of the children’s homes and their lives. Observing the foster families experience an exhibition for the first time and seeing the joy at recognizing their artwork was unforgettable!”
The social, educational and psychological effects of Covid have been difficult for our kids this year. But praise God they have all remained healthy and their resiliency has shined through. Our wonderful Home From Home partners and house mothers have loved our kids through the difficult times, and we remain forever grateful for their compassionate and caring hearts.
To read a summary update for each of our kids, please click here.
We remain laser-focused on establishing a formal discipleship program for our Tapestry Homes kids that will become a model to roll-out to all of the 36 Home From Home foster homes throughout South Africa. Covid has delayed our efforts, but we have a potential full time coordinator in our sights, and we hope to have more to report in the coming months. Your prayers in this endeavor are greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your continuing support and prayers. As we’ve said so many times, we could not do what God has called us to do without your partnership. We can feel and see God breaking through these challenging times to continue to make an eternal difference in the lives of our Tapestry Homes children.
Cliff and Rose Ratkovich