Every weekday for the past three years, 63-year-old Granny Keabetswe of Soweto, South Africa has spent hours each day at the Othandweni Family Center. She goes there to spend time nurturing and playing with two of its very young residents, ensuring they get the human interaction they need in order to thrive.

Keabetswe is a volunteer “Granny,” a participant in a volunteer program created by the non-profit adoption organization Spence-Chapin. Celebrating its 17th year, this early intervention program was developed to provide critical one-on-one attention to children living in institutions who are otherwise deprived of the opportunity to attach to a consistent caretaker.

Spence-Chapin trains and brings volunteer Grannies from the local community into the orphanage to spend time with the same child each and every day. Both research and anecdotal accounts have shown that these programs are extremely effective in bringing about better emotional, mental, and physical outcomes for children residing in orphanages. In 17 years, Spence-Chapin Grannies have made a dramatic impact on the lives of hundreds of children across 6 countries and 3 continents.

A snippet from Keabetswe’s Adoption.com/Fundraising profile provides a taste of how the program can benefit both the children and grannies:

“When she first became involved, Keabetswe remembers crying secretly, feeling so sad for the children who were removed from their homes and without families of their own. She was matched with a little boy who was disfigured from a terrible accident and at the time was covered in bandages, including a mask covering his face. Many of the children were uncomfortable around this boy, and Keabetswe is open about her struggle to learn how to care for him as his Granny, both physically and emotionally. Now, three years later, she shares that although scary at first, she believes that this experience gave her strength and bravery she never knew she had!”

Today, the little boy is a happy, active, talkative 4-year-old.

Each granny receives an annual stipend of just $1,500 to compensate for her travel expenses. Your donation can help Granny Keabetswe continue to make a difference.

Please note: If you donate today (April 2) or tomorrow (April 3) you can make double the difference because Adoption.com will match your donation, up to a total of $1000.