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City gives aftercare centre a facelift on Mandela Day


Noah’s Ark, an aftercare centre for disadvantaged children in Yeoville, assumed a new look on Monday July 18 when staff from Johannesburg Theatres – the City of Johannesburg cultural and entertainment entity – gave it a fresh coat of paint in celebration of the International Nelson Mandela Day.
Not only that, the entity’s staff also donated toiletries they bought from their own pockets and cooked a three-course meal for the 80 children who attend the centre.  “We as Johannesburg Theatres usually celebrate Mandela Day by giving away 67 tickets to various homes. But this year we wanted to do something more active and involved,” said Ntombi Mashaba, the event’s co-ordinator.  “What is important is not just to dedicate 67 minutes to social causes but to also make tangible change. It is heart-warming to see the children so happy. To see the smiles on their faces is wonderful.”
Noah’s Ark’s Rosina Khethelo, who has been working at the centre since it opened its doors in 2004, could not thank the City enough for the gesture.  “We are very happy that the staff from Johannesburg Theatres chose to spend Mandela Day with us. We have been praying that someone will one day come and paint this place since we can’t afford to. The City is just a godsend,” said Khethelo.
She said as a non-governmental organisation, the centre relied mainly on donations.  “We also conduct home visits to see the conditions that these kids live under. At times we find that they don’t even have food. So we take some of the money we receive as donations to help them,” said Khethelo.
“The City of Johannesburg’s generosity shows we are not alone. This has truly been an act of kindness and the freshly painted rooms are what we needed to bring life to the place.”
Noah’s Ark is a safe haven for local schoolchildren. They go to the centre after school to be assisted with their homework and taught responsibility.