Jo-Anne Schermeier on February 21, 2018
"A baby is born with a need to be loved - and never outgrows it." - Frank A. Clark

“A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it.” – Frank A. Clark

Our “Granny Programme” has been running for just over two years. It has filled a critical gap that existed between the care being provided by our Child Care Workers and the added stimulation of our volunteer programme.

PAAH was the second South African Children’s Home to implement a formal Granny Programme and some inevitable tweaks were made to adapt it to our unique environment. Happily, this could be done.

The pilot phase of the Programme was implemented in partnership with The Ububele Educational and Psychotherapy Trust and has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) which provided stability during the start-up period. The grant will soon come to an end and we are seeking alternative sources of funding to keep the programme running uninterrupted.

But, what is the Granny Programme?

The Granny Programme concept (which was originally the brainchild of Spence-Chapin in the USA) is a simple but highly effective one.

In a nutshell, mature women (“Grannies” or Gogos as we know them) from the local community are paid a small monthly stipend. Each Granny is allocated two young children and spends two hours per day with each child five days a week. They follow an organised routine during their time with them.

The Grannies have become trusted, primary caregiver figures to our little people, giving them a real opportunity to bond and form firm emotional attachments which can then be transferred to their future parents or caregivers. During their time with the babies and toddlers, the Grannies also offer the type of individual stimulation that is important for their healthy overall development.

Handpainting with my Gogo

Handpainting with my Gogo

The consistent stimulation and attention from a loved caregiver is hugely significant  because, all too often, children in institutional care (like PAAH) do not have this type of experience and that, in turn, has a lifelong, detrimental impact on all areas of their social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.

We celebrate the fact that most of our babies now demonstrate age-appropriate developmental behaviour, and this is usually after quite a short period of being matched with their own Granny.

The Grannies have all been trained to ensure a good understanding of how children develop (as well as the central roles played by attachment/bonding and stimulation in Early Childhood Development). They are also able to record the progress of their babies on a regular basis (following the guidelines of the Early Learning Accomplishment Profile or E-LAP). These records of early development are passed onto their adoptive parents.

No man (woman or child) is an island

The Granny Programme doesn’t stand alone in a vacuum. Research in the field of human development has influenced the national and international policies that drive the implementation of Early Childhood Development (ECD) practices. Most notable is the growing emphasis on the findings that a nation’s future development depends on its success in unlocking the potential within its youngest population! [1]

This includes evidence that the key to unlocking human capital lies in the quality of the environment in which the foetus, infant and young child develops, especially during what is commonly referred to as ‘The First 1000 Days” of life (which includes in utero and the first two years after birth).[2]

I trust you to hold my hands Gogo

I trust you to hold my hands Gogo

Isn’t it a bit mind-blowing to realise that if, in the very earliest days of life, the foundational development of the brain and skills is hampered, ALL future development will in turn be limited?

The First 1000 Days has thus become recognised as a unique and invaluable window of opportunity to secure the optimal development of the child[3].

In fact  this is the exact time period that children are typically in our care and therefore the time during which the Grannies can make a world of difference.

In addition to the benefits to our babies and their future adoptive families, the Programme also ensures that the benefits of training given to the Grannies reaches back into the communities where they all active in raising other children either in the own family groups or through civic organisations.

Future Plans

PAAH and Joburg Child Welfare are absolutely committed to continuing our Granny Programme and sustaining the value that it adds to our children’s lives, not just for now but throughout their growth.  Achieving this, however, does depend on our ability to secure new funding and we are therefore embarking on an energetic campaign to raise the support that is needed.

The path ahead will be challenging but oh so worth it.


[1]Republic of South Africa. 2015. National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy. Pretoria: Government Printers

[2]Republic of South Africa. 2015. National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy. Pretoria: Government Printers

[3]Republic of South Africa. 2015. National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy. Pretoria: Government Printers

Jo-Anne Schermeier on July 31, 2017

“Mandela Month 2017” has come to a close and we’d like to thank the angels –  both individual and corporate  - who have shared their time and resources with us over the course of the past few weeks. They have peeled, chopped, scrubbed, donated and painted. And yes, there was just a touch of playtime with the little people as well.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your generosity, compassion and for continuing to live out Madiba’s legacy.  These are just a few of the pics of the activities that took place and some of the people who visited.


Mandela Day Collage


Companies who spent their 67 minutes with us and/or who donated to the Home included:

  • Carte Blanche Make a Difference Team
  • Century 21st
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Transaction Capital
  • Broadreach
  • NBC
  • Hello Conversations
  • Clyde & Co
  • Provantage
  • Sternlaser
  • Barker Insurance
  • Stonehenge Fleming
  • Parkview Police Victim Support Unit + Parktown North & Craighall Community Forum
  • Lemon Pebble Design



Jo-Anne Schermeier on February 23, 2017



Join us for a vibrant show that will get your feet moving and your hips swaying as we move to, and are moved by, the greatest music from the greatest shows to ever hit the Silver Screen.

All proceeds will go towards Princess Alice Adoption Home, caring for 30 babies and toddlers.

The music will inspire you to put on your boogie shoes and dance with John Travolta in the 70s classic Saturday Night Fever, with anthems like Night Fever, Jive Talkin’ and You Should Be Dancing. The 70s were responsible for the all-time classic Grease and who could ever forget, You’re The One That I Want, Greased Lightning and The Hand Jive? Movies from the 80s produced some of the greatest theme songs ever, if we think back to Flashdance, Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Purple Rain, Top Gun and Fame – all featured in the show. And the list goes on……..

Whether you’re a professional dancer or the owner of two left feet, The Hollywood Walk of Fame will get you moving in 2017!

The show starts @ 20h00.

Doors open @ 18h30 – bring your own food or order in. A cash bar is available.

RSVP  and Enquiries – 011 646 5641 OR OR speak to us in the Reception Office



Jo-Anne Schermeier on December 10, 2015

2015 produced its fair share of changes and challenges, internally and  Newbies    externally, and it seems to have passed us by in the blink of an eye! We’re pleased to have achieved some of our short term goals for the year, like initiating the Granny Programme and installing appropriate toilets and basins for the toddlers.

As always, we are immensely grateful to our donors (who provide support in-cash and in-kind), volunteers, social workers and pro bono partners who make it possible for us to do what we do.

The well-being, health and happiness of our babies is always at the heart of everything that is done at PAAH. It’s them and their future lives that bring smiles to our faces and ignite new energy in us every day.

When we look back over the year, we can only smile and think of all the little ones who have joined us, those who are in our nursery now and those who are already in the arms of their forever families. We are priviledged to be able to love such little characters, each unique and special in their own ways.

While our service is about the quality of care and not the quantity, we are happy to be able to report the following numbers for the year:

Summary of Beneficiaries – 1 January to 31 December 2015

Infants/toddlers cared for


New babies admitted


Babies adopted


21 Local adoptions

  8 Inter-country adoptions

Babies placed in unrelated foster care


Babies placed in related foster care


Babies reunited with birth moms/biological family


Birth moms accommodated



Thank you for being a part of these happy stories.

Jo-Anne Schermeier on August 2, 2015

Invitation to Comedy Night with Princess Alice Adoption Home

“A day without laughter is a day wasted” — Charlie Chaplin


Laughter is always the best way to cope with life’s challenges and so, Princess Alice Adoption Home will be hosting a Comedy Night at Parkers Comedy Club, Monte Casino on 18 August. Join us as we laugh together to raise the funds that are needed to support the babies in our nursery.

The talented line-up is guaranteed to keep us in stitches for the whole evening – starring  Joe Parker, Kedibone Mulaudzi, Robby Collins and Dave Levinsohn.

Pre-booking of seats is essential. Drinks and meals can be ordered separately on the evening but it is advised that groups pre-order their meals to avoid delays during the show. (Menus will be provided at the time of booking.)


Other important information that you should know:

Bookings and or 011 6465641

Arrival Time:    18h30 for 19h00

Tickets:             R140 per person  OR  Group Bookings of 6 or more: R135 per person


See you on the 18th…



Jo-Anne Schermeier on July 23, 2015

Paint Niite Collage

Proceeds from our Paint Nite on 28 July 2015 will go towards the cost of keeping the nursery warm and lit up this wintertime.

Join us for an entertaining evening as we each paint a masterpiece – Japanese Cherry Blossom – under the guidance of Master Artist, Lorin Edgar. The only skill that is needed is an appetite for trying something new!

The event will be hosted at The Baron on Main, Bryanston. Paint Nite’s motto is #DrinkCreatively and so it is suitable for over 21′s.

Tickets cost R350 per person, which includes all the materials needed to complete your masterpiece. Food and drinks are extra and can be ordered on the night.

Enquiries can be directed to

Bookings and more info at

See you there with your creative hats on.

Jo-Anne Schermeier on June 23, 2015


Mandela Day 2015With less than four weeks to go – have you thought about what can be done to honour the legacy of Mandela Day by making a difference in the community?

From our side, we welcome volunteers and donations but we also understand that not everybody can be directly involved. And as much as we love hosting volunteers it isn’t always possible for us to accommodate all groups of people in the nursery on 18 July.

If you would like to make a difference during “Mandela Month”, here are some simple suggestions for ‘doing your bit’:

  • Donate 67 minutes to volunteering during the month of July.
  • Sign a debit order to donate R67 a month (yes, R67 = 6 loaves of bread, 3 boxes of tissue or 6 bottles of allergex with change!)
  • Apply for a MySchool/My Village card and nominate Princess Alice Adoption Home as your beneficiary. The easy online application can be done here
  • Take one of our collection tins to your office/classroom/sports club etc and ask colleagues to fill it with their spare coins.
  • Get together with friends, colleagues or family and make a lasagne, vegetable soup or cottage pie that can feed babies or birth moms (these can also be frozen and used after 18 July).
  • Circulate our Wish List (please remember that every contribution makes a difference)
  • Donate Dis-Chem vouchers that will enable us to purchase nappies, medicines and other Wish List items.
  • Take on one of our small maintenance projects. Contact us on 011 6465641 or for more info.
  • Spring clean your cupboards and donate unused items to us. Anything that can’t be used will be passed on to other childcare centres or sold second hand to raise funds towards our monthly costs.
  • Clear your bookshelves and donate books to our book sales.
  • Have a cake sale at your work, book club, church or any community group that you are a part of.
  • Support one of our fundraising initiatives.

In whatever way you choose to get involved this year, we wish you a fulfilling experience and the knowledge that, in the end, it is the combination of individual contributions that make the collective difference.



Jo-Anne Schermeier on April 14, 2015

As part of Jo’burg Child Welfare (JCW), our vision is to create a caring community that protects all of the children, meeting their needs for love, safety and opportunity.

“The Granny Programme” is the brainchild of Spence-Chapin; a USA-based Non-Profit Organisation that has been offering adoption services for more than 100 years.

Spence-Chapin established the programme with an understanding of the critical impact that physical and emotional contact has during a child’s early stages of development. The programme came about based on the fact that children growing up in institutions are often deprived of basic human interactions: warm hugs and kisses, games, storytelling and laughter. Overburdened staff cannot possibly provide all the necessary and relevant interactions around individual attention and nurturing that the mentioned children so desperately need and deserve daily. Moreover, institutional care (no matter how high the quality) does not give children the opportunity to form consistent early attachments. Therefore, the Granny Programme mitigates against the mentioned challenges.

JCW initially implemented the programme at Othandweni Family Care Centre in 2012.  The programme paired children with “Grannies” who are retired local women from the community; the latter spends special one-on-one time with each child. Each Granny is assigned two (2) children and spends two (2) hours per day with each child for five (5) days a week. The objective is to provide individual stimulation and education that is important for the child’s healthy overall development. The programme introduces consistent stimulation, attention and love from a trusted primary caregiver adult, thus improving bonding and attachment skills of the child.

The programme is now being extended for the benefit of the children at Princess Alice Adoption Home.  Our children will be exposed to a situation where they can develop meaningful relationships with their“granny” so that those relationship building skills can be transferred to their future parents or carers.

We are recruiting volunteers for the Granny Programme, based in Westcliff, Johannesburg.

Remuneration: A stipend of R1 350 per month will be offered to assist towards the cost of transport.


  • Be between 45 to 60 years of age;
  • Have working experience;
  • Have adequate proficiency in communicating in English and other indigenous languages;
  • Ability to write Reports in English;
  • Natural flair of working with and love for children;
  • Grade 10 pass (Minimum);
  • Good communication skills; friendly with good interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to relate meaningfully to children from 0-3 years old;
  • Be available to offer the 5 days that is required for the children;
  • Be flexible.
  • Conscientious; responsible; accountable; respectful; trustworthy and reliable.

 If you are interested in applying, please send your CV and a letter of motivation to .

Jo-Anne Schermeier on April 14, 2015
Join us on 9 May 2015

Join us on 9 May 2015

We all deserve a little pampering, just because we’re worth it. Join us for an early Mother’s Day treat – come along with your mom, sister, friends or just yourself for some down time.

100% of the proceeds will go directly to Princess Alice Adoption Home.

Hosted at Camelot International in Houghton, with refreshments catered for by La Vie and Rose restaurant, each Pamper Package includes a 30 minute Back Massage + an Express Mani and Express pedi + a Gift and light refreshments.

Pre-bookings are essential for the 4 available time slots – 09h00, 10h30, 12h00 and 13h30.

Pamper Packages cost R350 each + a packet of nappies

For EFT payments, banking details are:

Princess Alice Adoption Home

Standard Bank

Branch: Library Gardens, 001005

Account: 000788910

Reference: Your name

Proof of payment:

Enquiries and bookings – Jo-Anne at

See you there!




Jo-Anne Schermeier on March 26, 2015
Quizmaster keeping everyone on their toes

Quizmaster keeping everyone on their toes

 Our Quiz Night at The Wanderers Golf Club lived up to its promise of being a FUNdraiser. We had a good turnout of teams that were highly competitive throughout the night and more than up to the challenging questions posed by Quizmaster Brendan from IC Promos. The hearty food catered by the Club helped to keep the  brain cells awake and working.

The winning team

The winning team

Costs are being finalised but, provisionally, the evening raised just over R24 000 – thanks to our generous participants and supporters. Best of all, we had fun raising the money for a great cause.

Kim Leicher with Maria E. (raffle winner)

Kim Leicher with Maria E. (raffle winner)


A big thank to the prize sponsors who ensured that more of the entry fee could go directly towards the care of our babies.

Nicola Kirby (raffle winner), Jo-Anne and Sarah Flemmer from the team that clinched 3rd prize)

Nicola Kirby (raffle winner), Jo-Anne Schermeier, and Sarah Flemmer from the team that clinched 3rd place)

Our Sponsors: Photography by Inga (raffle prize – photo shoot worth R2000); Legacy Hotels & Resorts (raffle prize – R400 dinner voucher from Maximillien Restaurant); Sorbet; Lazzara Leicher Attorneys; The Wanderers Golf Club; Body Tech; La Dolce Vita; Justin Kramer and Kim Leicher.

The Winners:

1st Place

1st Place

2nd Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

3rd Place

Thank you to everybody who supported the event and to the energetic group of volunteers who helped to make it all happen.

Table 1 framedTable 2 framedTable 3 framedTable 4 framedTable 5 framedTable 7 framedTable 8 framedTable 9 framedTable 11 framedTable 17 framedTable 13 framedTable 14 blue

There is just one remaining question? When is the next Quiz Night?