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Caritas to host reunion

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“Set up a modern building that meets the purpose of child care”.

CARITAS Community Focus is set to host a reunion weekend in April at Bodemvas in Barkly West for all those who were part of Newton Home (Kimberley), Kestell Children’s Home (Kimberley), Jannie Roux Child and Youth Care Centre (Barkly West) and Tsolofelo Child and Youth Care Centre (Daniel’s Shelter) over the years.

This reunion, which will take place on the weekend of April 10 to 12, forms part of the nearly 130 years since the founding of the first Children’s Home on the grounds of Caritas Community Focus in Lawson Street, Kimberley.

The cost for the weekend is R50 per person and basic accommodation and camping facilities are available.

More information can be obtained from Hennie Mitton on 082 771 8025.

Almost 130 years ago, on May 5, 1890, at a church council meeting of the Dutch Reformed Church Kimberley, it was decided to start a ‘home’ for needy children.

The ‘sisters’ of the congregation were donated a small house and plot of land in Lawson Street for this purpose. Today, this building serves at the head office of Caritas Community Focus.

The inauguration of ‘Newton Home’ took place on April 22, 1891.

During the opening, five children were admitted to the home, namely Georgina Elizabeth Kirkham, Magaret Josephine Kirkham, Willie Kirkham, William Benjamin Lee and Joseph Lee.

Since the original flat-roofed house did not meet its purpose as a care centre from the beginning, the then council decided to “set up a modern building that meets the purpose of child care”.

The cornerstone of the new ‘Newton Home’ was unveiled in August 1898 by Rev PJ de Vaal. Further extensions to this building were made in 1921 and 1937. This building was the well-known double storey building on the corner of Lawson Street and Reservoir Road.

The building was demolished in 1968 and the cornerstone was preserved and built into the new complex. Currently, this section serves as conference facilities at Caritas Community Focus.

The name change to Kestell Children’s Home took place on August 2, 1949, in honor of the founders, Dr and Mrs Kestell.

Due to the fact that Kestell and the Jannie Roux campuses were both half full, the children of Kestell were moved to Jannie Roux at the beginning of 2013. This move was made due to operational and financial reasons.

Meanwhile the idea of a children’s home in Barkly West was that of Dr Willie Venter.

In 1948 Venter moved to Barkly West. At a church council meeting of the Dutch Reformed Church Barkly West on November 25, 1950, Jannie Roux offered £5 000 to enable the church council to turn an old hostel into a children’s home.

The money was used, among other things, to buy 300 morgen from the municipality bordering the institution, of which 20 morgen was placed under irrigation. In 1952 there were already 55 children in the children’s home.

The new building was unveiled on Saturday, December 5, 1953. The building cost £45 000 at the time and could house 120 children. There are currently 85 children on a permanent basis at this campus.