Being orphaned, abused or vulnerable is a reality for approximately 4 million children in South Africa.
The countries divisive past, matched with the current burden of an HIV endemic means there is often little hope for South Africa's children, who are growing up in alarming and unimaginable settings, with few opportunities for them to flourish and develop.
While extended families, wider communities and the government are acting to help these children, the scale of the problem is pervasive and complex.
Greensleeves children's trust was started 22 years ago by Di and Ian Lehy. They never planned to open a Children’s home – it was planned for them...
It began when a widow arrived at their door with a baby on her hip, and another on her back, from this moment the relationship grew between the Lehy's and this struggling family. Eventually, the Lehys built a home for this family on their farm and this was the start of something much bigger.
Di soon became aware that this mother was housing other local children in the small home who were orphaned or in vulnerable situations. This encouraged Di to approach social services and eventually become registered as a Non-profit organisation, meaning the stables were transformed into bedrooms for 17 children.
The originals stables, housing 17 children
Since then Greensleeves has progressed and blossomed into an established grassroots children's home that does not operate like a traditional orphanage. Instead, we aim to care for our children in a cohesive family environment which enables them to grow up learning to love and respect each other while developing their own sense of responsibility and belonging.
Today: One of our safe houses
Di and Ian Lehy still live on-site with their adopted son, Di as founder and director of Greensleeves, while Ian as headmaster of a local school. The couple have dedicated their lives to the orphaned and vulnerable children of South Africa and have seen the home grow from 17 to 48 children; from the stables to an established safe haven.
We no longer just provide a roof over our children's heads, we educate them through our on-site mission school, minister to them in partnership with the local churches, and equip them with skills from horse riding to playing the piano. Click here to see more of what we do.
Today: One of our classrooms
Today: Weekly horse riding lessons
We are continuing to trust God and be expectant for his plans for the team and children at Greensleeves and in South Africa.
We are growing in numbers and are in need of securing long-term funding. This process has been ongoing and we are hopeful that soon, through the dedicated work of all those on our wider team, we can secure this as a stable source of funding.
In the future, we are aiming to also spread our wings and seek a wider source of donors from all across the globe. This will enable us to grow and provide a home and hope for more and more children.
We are also so excited to get into our new classroom. This has been built by Gateway Christian Fellowship and we cannot thank them enough for all their hard work, and all that this classroom will enable us to do.
If you are interested in partnering with us or supporting us to help restore the lives of more children we would love to hear from you.