The British rulers of Johannesburg began moving black residents to the outskirts of the city more than a century ago. By the time Apartheid became the official policy of the South African government in the mid-20th century, the townships the southwest of Johannesburg were well established.

The Apartheid (literally “apartness”) government declared most of Johannesburg a “white-only area” and forced the removal of many thousands of black families to the area now known as Soweto – for SOuth WEstern TOwnships. Now Soweto is home to around 1.5 million people.

Soweto is also notable for the cultural and political influence it has had on South Africa. It is the urban center for new music, dance, art, and now sport, having just hosted the finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The 1976 Soweto Uprising led by the youth of the city reinvigorated the nation’s fight against the crime of Apartheid, and Soweto’s political scene launched the careers of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President Nelson Mandela.

Sadly, while Soweto is rapidly developing, it’s still home to great poverty and injustice. Unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and extreme poverty have led to many children being orphaned, abandoned, and forgotten.

H.E.L.P. is thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Soweto Community Church to serve the children of Soweto and to help the church rescue the forgotten children, restore their hope, and renew their community.

Soweto Community Church has come alongside an elderly grandmother who, along with her late husband, began caring for orphaned and abandoned children in Soweto 31 years ago. In her small house, she now has more than 30 children living with her, although she is well past the age when most are enjoying retirement. The local church is committed to helping Mama Ethel raise her last of many generations of children and to finding a sustainable and local solution to the crisis of orphaned children in Soweto.

You can visit Help One Now to sponsor a child from Soweto for just $35 per month, which will go a long way toward ensuring that they receive the care and attention they need to thrive. We also invite friends to visit Garage Sale 4 Orphans to enquire about hosting a fundraiser that will directly benefit Mama Ethel’s children in Soweto.