The Thoughtful Path

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Far more than a charity project, The Thoughtful Path is a way of life, a new way of thinking, and a fresh look at the way charities work with communities. It is our flagship project, designed to engage an entire community and enable its most vulnerable children to grow into healthy, productive adults.

The Thoughtful Path is constructed on a set of VALUES that place children first, along with a belief that for us to do something for people that they could do for themselves, is to do them harm, by eroding their capacity to act for themselves. We work with communities, giving them a hand up and never a handout.

The Thoughtful Path concept is being demonstrated in Munsieville, said to be South Africa’s oldest undeveloped township, and the childhood home of our Patron, Desmond Tutu. Set up in 2010, the ten-year project is operated by three community-based action 'hubs' with the aim of establishing an influential and sustainable model of excellence in comprehensive support for orphans and other vulnerable children.

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House of Young Ambassadors
The aim of the Thoughtful Path is to enable the community of Munsieville to change the way their orphans and vulnerable children are cared for, so that they will grow into healthy and productive adults.

Who can represent these children better than the children themselves? That’s why the House of Young Ambassadors, a board of 30-40 young adults from the community aged between 11 and 18, forms a crucial part of the programme. The House of Young Ambassadors acts as a link between the Thoughtful Path and the community, works closely with the volunteers of the three hubs and has a final say in the projects that are developed. This ensures that children have a voice in the decision-making process and that all projects are in the best interests of the orphans and vulnerable children of Munsieville.

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The Children's Embassy
Munsieville is a vibrant, colourful place, overflowing with rich cultural diversity. It can also be a very bewildering place for vulnerable children, with dangers everywhere. Child neglect and serious physical, sexual and psychological abuse are encountered on a daily basis, and the risks are especially high for orphans and those not living with their immediate family. The Munsieville Children’s Embassy was opened in December 2011 as a physical location for children to run to when they feel fearful or unsafe, or when they just need to relax in a happy, supportive environment and talk to people who really care.

Hundreds of children visit the Children’s Embassy every month, and so do concerned parents, caregivers and neighbours looking for advice, information or support in dealing with the challenges of raising children to become healthy, productive adults. Many of the visitors to the Children’s Embassy seek advice for themselves or others concerning the rights of children to receive basic health, education and social services, particularly for those who do not have identity documents, either because they have migrated from another country or because, like many township dwellers, they were not registered at birth. Staff and volunteers work closely with them to help determine their legal status, obtain the required documentation, and access the services they desperately need.