Pippa Jarvis

Programme Director, Children's Affairs, The Love of Christ (TlC) Ministries

Pippa Jarvis was 16 when her mother, Thea, adopted two babies abandoned at Baragwanath Hospital in 1993, in addition to her five biological children. Seventeen years later, and the number of people on the Jarvis farmstead in Bronkhorstfontein, South of Johannesburg, has ballooned to 90, including Pippa's six adoptees and three foster children, 40 babies, six staff and 28 volunteers. The Jarvis farmstead turns out 100 meals three times a day, excluding baby food, guzzles R25 000-worth of petrol and costs R250 000 a month to run. Jarvis oversees the household, orders and monitors consumables, and interfaces with local and international donors. The Jarvises have rescued, fostered, adopted or found homes for 720 babies since the early 1990s, when Thea was once spat at and punched by a neighbour who accused her of bringing property prices down by rescuing black children. Sitting at a worn kitchen table, the smell of coffee and freshbaked apple-cinnamon pie flooding the air, Jarvis is the picture of serenity. "Loving and caring for babies and young children is an imperative. If they don't feel they belong somewhere, or to someone, then they grow up with no sense of responsibility towards society,� she says. Some of the babies brought to TLC are at death's door, often owing to complications arising from being HIV positive. "If you love and care for a child, it has a reason to fight to stay alive, and most babies do.� TLC finds adoptive parents for most of the children, but some are so mentally and physically scarred that the Jarvises have no option but to adopt them themselves. Pippa's fifth child, Jerome, is both deaf and HIV positive. She spent two years learning sign language so she could communicate with him. Her 20-year vision for TLC is to turn it into a completely selfsufficient, ecologically sustainable children's home. � Lionel Faull

Lunch spot : Mugg & Bean