Barrow’s On-Going Work with the Johannesburg Children’s Home

May 2022 | Friends of Barrow

The Johannesburg Children’s Home is one of the oldest charitable institutions in South Africa, founded in 1892. Hundreds of children have passed through the Home since its inception, and it continues to be home to about 60 children. Barrow’s involvement with the Johannesburg Children’s Home began some years ago with Barrow’s desire to invest back into the community of Johannesburg. Donald Barrow, one of Barrow’s Contracts’ Directors, says that his desire to work with the Johannesburg Children’s Home was because of their reputation as a well-run children’s home that truly cared for its children.

As a construction company, Barrow has been able to add “enormous amounts of value” to the Johannesburg Children’s Home as they have been able to assist with building work, landscaping and helping to maintain the Home’s facilities. By building a relationship with the Children’s Home, Barrow has been able to offer on-going assistance for projects that the Home is working towards.

“I’ve been involved with the Children’s Home for about 5 years” says Donald Barrow, “and have worked on numerous smaller projects. Sometimes I can help them when they have a need, and sometimes I can use my position and contacts to help them.”

In terms of projects, Barrow’s focus has been to help the Children’s Home to become self-sufficient. One idea was to open their admin block up as a location available to the public, for functions and conferences. This now acts as a form of income for the Children’s Home. Barrow was able to assist in the landscaping of the front garden, including making the grounds greener and well shaped. Donald was able to leverage his contacts to obtain soil and grass donations, as well as some extra hands to help with the labour of landscaping.

“Just asking for money is hard, but asking for a team to help lay the grass for a day or two is something so easy. And it all works in the end” says Donald. All of this has enabled Barrow to help the Children’s Home immensely. Now JCH can host functions and conferences, catering for said events, and this enables them to feed income back into the Home. To hire out their hall, click here.

Another project Barrow was involved in was optimising the borehole so that the Children’s Home could be completely self-sufficient, not relying on municipal water. To achieve this Barrow helped to set up a filtration system, which includes UV filters, making the best use of their borehole system.

“Every drop of water on this campus is from the borehole,” Donald said, explaining that this one simple solution saves the Home a large sum of money in utilities each month. Money that they can now use to invest into the Home in other ways.

Barrow’s focus in terms of their involvement and relationship with the Johannesburg Children’s Home is all about self-sufficiency. To a large extent that means that the focus must be on sustainability. Each project that they take on has to have a lasting impact for the Children’s Home.

Annette, the director of the Children’s Home, spoke to us about another one of the self-sustaining aspects that they’ve implemented. The vegetable garden. They’ve determined the most sustainable options for farming vegetables, allowing them to sustain and feed themselves, as well as to grow enough vegetables to sell to the community.

“Our dream and vision now is to turn the old stables next to the pool into a store room that will be able to help us with composting,” Annette mentioned. “And then we can open the doors towards to the vegetable garden and turn it into a packing store for the food gardens. So that we can sell as we have the land and the water.” Their hope in the next few years is to grow their vegetable garden significantly, implementing an irrigation system as well.

All of these projects have allowed the Home to move towards self-sufficiency so that they do not have to continually rely on the government for funding. The Johannesburg Children’s Home also run a charity store called Thrift Up that helps them with additional income, which is situated in Norwood.

If you’d be interested in donating to the Johannesburg Children’s Home, they would be immensely grateful. You can donate here. All of these avenues for income build into the Children’s Home and aid in their important work of looking after the children of Johannesburg.

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