Monday, May 11, 2009

Sparrow Orphanage visit

By: Roxie Smith

Greetings everyone! Last Thursday was such a full and enriching day. After touring the children’s wards at Baragwanath Hospital, we visited Sparrow, an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS.  When the bus pulled up to the entrance we knew we were some place very special.

Sparrow is a village of cluster homes that look like igloos with narrow streets between where the children play and ride around on wheeled toys. As we toured the grounds, we could hear children singing in one of the cluster homes. You can immediately see how loved and well cared for these children are. Each house mother in a cluster home oversees the care of 24 children. The village houses 300 patients; 200 of these are children. Some children come to the center with HIV positive parents and the idea was to keep families together for as long as possible. The children remain after the parent’s pass on. With ARVs, children’s health and prognosis are much improved, and they are allowed to stay until the age of 18.

We were fortunate to meet the founder of Sparrow who just happened to be on the property during our visit. I was very inspired by her story. She began on faith with few resources because she saw the tremendous need. Through unwavering trust that she could dream this village into existence, she knocked on doors and raised the necessary funds to begin. She started this project as an older woman seeking to identify how she should spend the last part of her life in making a real difference. It is the same question I have been asking myself since retirement. Her picture is going to be posted on my refrigerator as a reminder of what we are capable of.

Love to all of you.    Roxie


  1. Roxie, what a fascinating journey you are on! I love hearing about each of your perspectives on the different situations you are all experiencing on this special trip. Re. Sparrow: what an amazing solution for a tremendously difficult problem. Inspiring!

  2. I am so proud of this team and the work you are doing over there...thanks so much for sharing from the heart

    Travel safe....Becky

  3. Hi Mom!
    Thanks for keeping us up to date! Can't wait to make sure you get back to the states. Take care and see you soon.
    Your son,

  4. Hi Roxie - I just googled Sparrow Village to learn what I could about this place. Here's why: for more than a year now my grand-daughter Kylie (age 12) and I have been hand-knitting little bears through Mother Bear Project in the USA. These bears go, with all the love that is knit into them, to the youngsters at Sparrow Orphanage. Recently I learned that our family was going to be travelling to South Africa. Of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to deliver those dozens of little bears personally. I've connected with Pauline Taylor who will be there in October when we are there, and she is arranging for us to visit Sparrow. Thank YOU so much for giving us a little preview of this amazingly wonderful place.
    KIT Whittaker, Portland Oregon USA,

  5. i would like to get your contact details. i cant find them on your site. wanted to ask something.