The New Jerusalem Children’s Home (NJCH) in Midrand, South Africa, which cares for more than 80 orphans with deprived beginnings, was the loci of inspiration for PHoA artist, Dagmar van Weeghel. Her two-part fine art photography series for ‘Identity Kit’ draws from the true life story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, an orphan who survived a British slave raid and was gifted a new chance under the care of Queen Victoria. You can read more about Van Weeghel's inspiration in our previous article!
Whilst at the New Jerusalem Children’s Home, it became Van Weeghel’s important, personal mission to photograph the ‘Sarahs’ of this lifetime; to represent orphaned girls with big dreams and to give them a resounding voice. In reference to Bonetta, Buzzi and Happyness are pictured in white, Victorian dresses. They’re photographed with a sensitivity that embraces their adolescence through a historical narrative that is not only transportive but relevant to their circumstances. On behalf of the NJCH, Raymond Madibogo (Marketing Communications Manager) was pleased to report that, “Buzzi and Happyness are amongst the top performers at NJCH; academically they are doing very well and their performances have consistently improved.”
The Public House of Art is so inspired and affected by their stories, and wants to help provide them with a second chance in life, the way Bonetta was afforded. PHoA will donate 50% of all artwork print sales of Buzzi and Happyness to the New Jerusalem Children’s Home. Donations will be used for a Buzzi’s hearing aid and study fund for both. In this day and age, a child’s start in life critically shapes the direction of their lives.
The ground breaking impact and success of the NJCH comes from their significant emphasis on child growth and development. Anna Mojapelo’s (CEO) unwavering ambition to develop communities with the help of children, facilitates an assured growth in children to become active and positive role models within their own communities. Her graciousness is evidenced by her property donation to the children, of which they care for and maintain as a canvas to visualise and experience their own ambitions and projects thrive on the land.Raymond Madibogo commented that the NJCH stands out for its attention to green initiatives, where children teach and learn the power of “solar energy, recycling grey water through a bio box, using boreholes for home water needs and harvesting rain water for people of the surrounding communities; ultimately, affecting and driving clean and green environment awareness.”
The NJCH’s vocational programmes prioritize art in the development of children, and according to Mojapelo, the best part of her day is “finding a child in a quiet place drawing and then being able to explain what they have created. Seeing children interpreting and actively participating in making art is an invaluable change” they have seen in the children. The practicality of their taught vocational skills at the NJCH is exemplified by their PiLab, an idea that originates from Nyasha Gutsa, a Zimbabwean-born child who grew up in the United States. Gusta always wanted to give and share the opportunities that he had with children in Africa, so that they too could be exposed to the world of information and communications technology (ICT) to formulate an informed decision before higher education. Recently a child at the NJCH directly benefitted from this programme by completing Grade 12 and being placed in a varsity to study graphic designing!
With green initiative activities enhanced by a plethora of vocational programmes, the NJCH curriculum establishes responsibilities that affirms a foundation for lifelong achievements. To help support the successful lives of Buzzi and Happyness and other children at the New Jerusalem Children’s Home, buy art and give back where it matters!
We agree with the NJCH and Whitney Houston, we believe the children are our future; they’re ‘The Greatest Love of All’.