WBSR helps group home give orphaned teens a chance

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WALVIS BAY – WHEN Bernard Grové took the job of financial director at Walvis Bay Salt Refiners, he brought with him more than his accounting skills; he brought a home full of orphaned teenagers in need of support.

Grové, who joined WBSR in 2013, had recently gotten involved in his personal capacity with the management of charitable organisation, The Jonah Home for Children, and brought the home’s plight to WBSR’s attention.

Founded in 2003, Jonah Home initially sheltered 14 orphaned babies and toddlers, all of whom stayed on for the next decade and a half, growing up in the protection of the group home.

“Initially I was just involved as a volunteer in the management of the home, but over time that has grown into the role of de facto father figure,” said Grové.

“It’s really fulfilling – I treat the kids like my own and do things for them any dad would do, like help them with their homework and projects.”

He said children in group homes tended to grow up differently from those in traditional families and that it was essential to get to know them as individuals in order to support them properly.

“The support from Walvis Bay Salt Refiners is significant and is really key in their lives. It provides security by covering their day-to-day basics such as food and clothing.

“In these tough times, with very little government funding, contributions from corporates are that much more important and we are that much more grateful,” said Grové.

As teenagers who are all in the senior phase of high school, he said, the most pressing challenge was preparing them to enter the adult world.

“Most are in various government schools, while one is home-schooled and another with special needs attends the Sunshine Centre. With WBSR taking care of the day-to-day basics, we can better manage the home’s resources to see how we can assist each of the kids with studies or getting a job, according to their capabilities,” he said.

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