Parow orphanage recovering from fire

The Holy Cross Child and Youth Care Centre in Parow had a devastating fire on Saturday July 18. Picture: KAREN WATKINS
Bernard Engel, manager of the children’s home followed by Natalie Roos of education NGO Living Through Learning. Video: KAREN WATKINS

The Holy Cross orphanage in Parow has received a welcome boost after a devastating fire.

The fire on Saturday July 18 destroyed the wing where the girls were sleeping but no one was hurt.

The orphanage was founded 101 years ago in response to children orphaned during the Spanish Flu of 1918. 

This refuge for children rescued from violence and abuse is normally home to 68 girls and 17 boys, aged from 2 to 17, mostly from the northern suburbs. After the fire, 63 older girls had to be temporarily relocated to other facilities or to families, said Bernard Engel, manager of the centre. Located on the corner of Modderdam and De La Rey roads, the centre is now delivering food parcels to where these girls have been placed until the burnt building has been refurbished.

Mr Engel said the community had come to the orphanage’s aid after the fire, giving donations. “As time has gone by, we realise there is a need for other items such as school shoes, backpacks and toiletries,” he said.

Wynberg-based education NGO Living Through Learning, in partnership with Claremont-based Coronation Fund Managers, stepped in and on Wednesday August 12 handed over these items for the girls who lost everything in the fire. 

Living Through Learning contributed 63 pairs of school shoes and Coronation gave 63 backpacks, as well as clothing contributed by their staff. 

Natalie Roos, manager of Living Through Learning said they are continuing to support the centre by sourcing donations. Mr Engel  they still needed underwear, cutlery, curtains, duvets and groceries. 

The building was covered by insurance and had been closed off until a structural engineer could do an assessment and then work would begin on cleaning and renovation, Mr Engel said.