Iris Footprints, situated in Muldersdrift, North West Province, is the ‘forever home’ to thirty-nine children, placed at the home by social workers and/or children’s court to protect them from their very volatile and violent families predominantly involved with the abuse of drugs.
The NPO was started in 2004 by Yolanda Steed and is run by members of the Steed family. Initially it was a temporary care centre and place of safety for vulnerable children. It has now become a home of permanence, intended to support and raise children within a long-term safe family environment.
The children are multicultural and aged between eight weeks to twenty-four years, the oldest having been with the home since the age of six months. The children arrive at the home as babies and stay until they are self-sustainable adults.
All the children are Home Schooled in the seven classrooms on the property, from grade R through to grade 12. There is also a separate pre-school on the property. The children are taught the full Gauteng Department of Education school syllabus with added classes including cooking and agriculture. Extramural activities include swimming, soccer, athletics, tennis and music. Individual talents are discovered and encouraged, with life skills development being key.
Community work is encouraged and the home assists neighbouring informal settlements by providing them with donations of clothes, food parcels and blankets. They share any excess with those who are in need. The aim is to teach the children at the home the importance of social responsibility and caring for others.
Destitute individuals and families also live on the property in separate buildings. They work on the grounds as a way of giving back for the ‘free’ accommodation.
There is a paid staff compliment of eleven and an additional nineteen volunteers on the property.
Iris Footprints does not receive funding from grants or the government and rely solely on donations.
RADA was introduced to the Iris Footprints in March 2022 and decided that it was a place we could assist and support going forward. With the help of sponsors, we are now providing food to the home and the extended programme in the informal settlement area on a monthly basis and will continue to assess and assist with the needs of the home, its staff, the children and the community.