More than 100 children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Johannesburg's Region G had a time of their lives at a Christmas party hosted by the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), at Fun Valley in the south of Joburg.
The party, JPC's way of bringing a festive season cheer to vulnerable and less privileged members of society, in line with one of the City's values - a caring City - was a big surprise for many of the children. The noisy, wide-eyed and excited partygoers included children from Thatho Ke Matla Foster Home, which is under the care of foster mother Disebo Lipholo.
The children were in for an even bigger surprise when they were ushered into the Carnival-themed hall. As a treat, they were each presented with a tinsel garland and were taken to decorated tables prepared especially for them.
In her speech, JPC Chief Executive Officer Helen Botes paid tribute to Lipholo, who looks after 34 children at her home in Orange Farm. "Children are treasured gifts and it takes special angels to nurture them. Disebo, you are one of those angels. We can never do the sterling work that you are doing with the children in your care," Botes said.
A social worker specialising in working with children was also present. Fanis Sardianos, JPC's Property Management: Social Executive Manager, played the role of Father Christmas and became an instant hit with the children.
There was excitement all round as he posed for pictures with the children, hugging them and gently stroking their heads, and making those who were afraid of his big white beard feel at ease.
The children then got into bathing costumes and splashed in the pools. The brave ones also went down the waterslides. Lipholo said she was eternally grateful to JPC's management and staff for bringing a festive season cheer to the children. "During the holidays, the children don't have much to look forward to. We were taken by surprise when we heard that Mrs Botes wanted us to join her for a party. God bless everyone who made this day special for us," she said.