Having been a house parent at Khayelihle Children’s Village (KCV) for over 21 years, Lillian has faced the joys and challenges of raising many children who may not have otherwise had the loving arms of a mother to guide them through life. She’s also faced the joys and challenges of letting go so that they can reconnect with their families.
Lillian was born into a Christian family and knew God from a young age. She also knew that she loved children, and when she found out about KCV through an advertisement at her local church, she was confident that working with the children’s village was in God’s plan for her.
When she first started working as a house parent, Lillian realised that her main role was to encourage, teach and motivate the children in her care, just as if they were her own children. One of her biggest challenges has been being treated as a worker by relatives of children in her care, when the babies and children she cares for simply see her as a parent.
While Lillian loves and guides all of the children as if they were her own, she’s excited that KCV has made it their goal to reconnect children with their families whenever it is safe to do so. She has seen several children return to live with their families and says that many of them have adjusted well.
“It is good for children to reconnect with their families. I feel happy about it if they are going to be with their parents,” Lillian said.
For those that remain in KCV’s care, family groups are formed to give children a stable home environment.
Those who remain in KCV’s care live in families with up to 10 children of various ages. The goal is for these groups to be a family to those who otherwise would not have one, and people like Lillian make this happen.
“God sets the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:6)
Lillian ensures that the children she looks after are fed, clothed and loved. Thanks to the generous donations of sponsors, the children are able to have a good education and have opportunities to excel in sport, music and other hobbies.
For Lillian, watching the children thrive and grow into capable adults is a joy that will never grow old.
“I feel so proud about my work, especially seeing them grow up and go to university, and some getting married. I have sons and daughters, including grandchildren, and some are well educated and doing great jobs,” she said of children she has cared for over the years.
Throughout her time as a house parent, Lillian has also seen children experience great spiritual growth, and has even seen some of the children she’s raised go on to pursue full time ministry as pastors.
Without the generous and continued support of sponsors, KCV could not provide for the needs of the children in its care, or pursue the important work of reconnecting children with their families. Lillian is grateful for the impact that sponsors continue to have on the village, whether it is through sponsorship, prayer or a physical visit.
“We are so excited, because we know that these people are the ones who help us,” she said.