Practical guide if you have children, no maintenance, no job, and kids not in school

A comprehensive guide by Renee Jo-Anne Kruger.

I will tell you EXACTLY how and what and where, as well as how to keep your kids, how to educate your kids, how to get and find food, all about grants and more. How do I know? Im not a legal person. Im a mom of a 13 year old and a 7 year old AND IM WALKING THIS PATH RIGHT NOW. I think youre incredible. Stop feeling like shit. YOU are not the failure here, and I PROMISE you that your kids will be fine.

After 3 years of so much more than just being abandond, Ive been everywhere and asked every single question of every single person I could. Im STILL asking …..and STILL not being helped. I didnt fall thru a loophole. You are in trouble. The welfare, courts and systems that should protect you don’t give a shit and you need to know how to survive until things get better

The one overriding thing that nobody seems to understand is this: You don’t have any money. School books, clothes, transport, lunches, shoes, projects etc costs money. Money that can best be spent on rent, electricity and food. I told you there are small loopholes you can slip through, and there are. And they are legal. And no, you dont get locked up, the welfare doesn’t take your children, and your children wont suffer. In fact, they will bloom! Its hard work, and you have to be totally invested, especially if you have a day-job.

First off, take a look at this page:

http://www.education.gov.za/Parents/HomeSchooling/tabid/406/Default.aspx

Also on that website, you will find links to some of the grades and the DBE books you can use, as well as teacher lesson plans and what the children need to achieve in terms of learning for the year.

There are other South African websites, also free, that do the same thing. I’ll find the links and post them here.

Register with Pestalozzi Trust, the South African legal defense fund for home schooling in South Africa. Their fees were very reasonable, about R90 a year.

The law is on the side of your child’s best interests!!!

http://www.pestalozzi.org/

Free resources, information and curriculum guides can be found here:

http://www.homeschooling-curriculum-guide.com/homeschooling-South-Africa.html

And here:

http://www.tuisskolers.org/

There are thousands of home schooling websites out there, and more than a few in South Africa. DO NOT listen to what everyone else says. Follow the guides on the curriculums on the websites that link to the Dept Education curriculums, and your children willl simply fall back into the schooling system when you are back on your feet. One of the great sites I found is either Pinterest, or even try this one:

http://e-classroom.co.za/

Once you start looking, you simply wont believe the incredible resources you can find – in English AND Afrikaans

Once you have done this, go to the welfare and tell them your story. This achieves 2 things:

1. It makes the welfare aware of your plight. You can ask them for food – they have a hamper that they give to needy families. Its not wonderful, but it WILL fill tummies for a day or 3.

2. It gets nosy, interfering neighbours and community members off your back. As soon as people find out youre in trouble, they like nothing better than to report you so they can feel high and mighty. Going to the welfare will take away this problem, and ease some of the stress.

Take any job that you can get, even start up something or sell something that can generate income. If you are homeschooling, you don’t have to worry about transport and how far the schools are. You do, however, have to be ruthless in setting up a routine for your kids, or the homeschooling wont work. Set up rules and frame them on the wall so every child can see them. Link your rules to rewards, no matter how small they are. I taught my kids 7 days a week, 4 hours at a time. Set up a small classroom, and make sure that the kids have worksheets so that you can split your attention between them. The age gap is a huge problem to teach, but it IS doable. My son (now 7) sat and listened to me teach my daughter (now 13) while I was teaching him. Now that he is in grade 2, his maths is off the charts. His vocabulary is equivalent to that of grade 4.

You will need a lady to help you watch the kids if you are working. Conduct interviews. Don’t take women that work for other women in your area. Explain to the women you interview what your situation is. Tell them you cant afford huge wages right now. Ask them if they’re willing to work for less for 6 months so you can get on your feet. The kind of woman you’re looking for will say yes, because its all about the kids

You can find hundreds of people needing work on Gumtree and even a few pages on FB. One of the pages that I go to frequently is:

https://www.facebook.com/www.DAMESinAKSIE.co.za

Dont listen to scare stories!!! Its those comments that make you more afraid of doing what must be done. Scare tactics and vague threats keep you down. If you are registered for home schooling, and the legal defense fund is on your side, and you have a job and a house, and youre actually DOING SOMETHING, the welfare couldn’t care less. You’re one less family to worry about, and they pretty much ignore you unless you stay on their case for food’

Now that you have all of this in place, you need to go to the magistrates court in your district and lodge a case for maintenance for the kids (and yourself, if you qualify). It takes FOR EVER so don’t expect a quick turnaround. Its been 6 months since I started this process, and its still a section 6, and in investigative status. If your children are from different fathers, dont stress. You then only claim for the child or children of the man you’re suing for custody. This page will give you all the info you need to do this, and its all free: http://www.justice.gov.za/services/apply-for-maintenance.html

It takes a very long time, and you will be emotionally exhausted at the end of it all. Some days you simply don’t know how to do it – any of it, but you MUST. Let the tears come. Accept the tiredness. Do what you must do to make this work.

Most of all, you will need counseling. The Randburg SAPS have a trauma centre. I dont know if other SAPS have? LifeLine also works through some SAPS. The welfare have counsellors too. And its all free.

DO NOT expect any friends and family to hang around or to help you. You are simply setting yourself up for devastation. Find a counselor to talk to, and start a blog about your experiences. All of the above is REAL advice that you wont find written down anywhere. Your blog and experiences will help someone else come to terms with the realities of whats going on and how the South African system is destined to fail you. Im sorry, but that is the harsh reality of it all

Now, and here is the tricky part …………all of the above will take you about a week to set up, if you can get to where you need to go. I couldn’t, and it took me months to do.

Now you start approaching agencies for help for food and grants. The child grant takes a month or more. There are other grants you can apply for, and I will explain the feedback I got from asking about each and every grant.

Once you have done all of the above, you can PROVE that you have followed as many steps as you can to try and figure this out. It doesnt mean much in the grand scheme of things, and people will always have advice and criticisms about this and that, but stick to your guns.

The agency to approach is SASSA – The Dept of Social Development.

The child grant is minimal, at best. Its worth R270 per child.

The SRD – Social Relief of Distress grant is worth about R900 in total, and is only granted IF your application for a child grant is denied. Its only available for 6 months.

Food Aid is a food parcel that you collect at SASSA offices. Its not wonderful, but it IS food You cannot get a food parcel aid package if you have a grant in place.

A housing subsidy is available to apply for BUT its an RDP subsidy and the waiting list is YEARS long. The RDP houses are in locations etc so its simply not practical.

Approaching places like POWA etc for help is also not an option. Im sorry, but that is just the way it is. You will be placed in a settlement or a shelter, and will lose everything.

In a shelter, you are in by 6pm and out by 8am. Every day, weekends included. You stand in a queue and wait to see if they have beds. Your male children are put in a separate compound/building, unless they are still small. You and your children sleep on mattresses that thousands of others have slept on. You simply dont sleep. You watch your kids to make sure they are safe and unharmed and untouched.

Now find the kids birth certificates and immunization records. Make 10 CERTIFIED copies of each (no-one will accept normal copies). Build a standard pack of documents that you take with you to each point of help. These documents MUST include the following:

1. Your ID
2. Kids birth certificates
3. Kids immunizations
4. Kids last report cards
5. A statement you wrote that details all you have done to date. Update it every time something changes

Additional documents you can take:

1. Rent statements
2. Electricity accounts
3. Maintenance documents
4. A copy of your CV (if looking for work)
5. A pamphlet or business card with your contact details and your needs on it. You can hand them out at places advertising for work or at any agency you go to. Its fast and effective. Government employees are slow and dont write down details. For some reason, people keep those!!!

As far as formula for a baby goes, any local government clinic will give you formula, even if your baby is lactose intolerant. Again, its not much, but it WILL feed your baby!

Get your kids to the local clinic and register them. Get cards for them. And get them checked out anyway. If your kids have chronic needs (my son has asthma and my daughter is on Ritalin), the clinic does that too

Find out where the nearest government hospital is and what the numbers you need are. Have all of that info so that you arent caught unprepared in the event of an accident. My son broke his leg while we were homeless. We ended up at Kalafong, 80kms from where we were, simply because I was unprepared.

Ask for help everywhere you go. If you pass a place and your gut feeling says go inside ……then you go inside. NEVER EVER be too prouod or too unsure or too scared to just ask. They can only say yes or no, and if you dont ask then the answer will ALWAYS be an automatic no anyway