Jewish Child & Youth Centre

PO Box 1204 | Cape Town | 8000

Contact: Lynette Shapiro
Phone: 021-465-5009
Website: www.oranjia.com

Our Goals

We provide child and youth centered services as well as residential care to Jewish children who have been found in need under the Child Care Act. Our philosophy of care is based on the core principle that children and youth at risk need opportunities for competency, development and personal growth.

Our emphasis is on the development of the whole child in a context that actively promotes personal growth and development by building trusting and safe relationships between professional staff and residents. These meaningful relationships are characterized by concern for physical and emotional needs, and understanding and awareness, of the child as an individual in a social and communal context.

Our History

The Oranjia Jewish Children’s Home was established in 1911 as an orphanage. Since then thousands of Jewish children from Cape Town (most of them orphans) have been cared for at Oranjia and brought up in an environment sensitive to Jewish traditions and values.

One of the most remarkable events during Oranjia’s history (which today few people know of) is that of the “Ochberg children” also referred to as the “Immigration of the Ukranian Orphans”. In the wake of the collapse of the old Czarist regime in Russian and the ensuing civil war, hundreds of thousands of Jewish children were orphaned in brutal pogroms which terrorized the Jewish communities of Russia and the Ukraine. Epidemics of typhoid and other diseases caused even more deaths and increased the number of orphans. A desperate cry for help went forth from Jews who were suffering terribly in the affected areas. And the call was heeded, initially by Cape Town Jewry and later by South African Jewry as a whole. The idea of rescuing Jewish orphans from these areas quickly took form and gained support.


Isaac Ochberg, a philanthropist who had been involved with Oranjia for some time, took the initiative and proved to be a key participant in the rescue of 200 Jewish orphans from the Ukraine. At great personal danger he visited towns and cities, which included Minsk, Pinsk, Stanislav, Lodz, Lemberg, Vladowo and Brest-Litovsk and filled his quota of 200 Jewish orphans. In 1921 they were brought to Cape Town (via England) where they were cared for at Oranjia while awaiting suitable adoption placements with Cape Town Jewish families. The quantity of children was so great that some had to be send to Arcadia (the Johannesburg equivalent of Oranjia) where they too were cared for while awaiting adoption. The Ochberg children represent a proud period in the history of both South African Jewry and Oranjia.

Oranjia's Guys and Dolls fundraiser at the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town last November was a huge success. A sushi dinner was followed by a silent auction and the legendary Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls. R160,000 was raised which went along way in covering the deficit of R400,000.

Past Updates

Oranjia's wish came true! Thank you to our friends and family. In June we reached out to you to fulfill a wish for Oranjia. Your response was overwhelming!
We received enough to provide a beautiful new wood play structure. Because of you, Oranjia's children now have a safe, fun play area.
Read Admin Director of the Oranjia Jewish Child Youth Centre, Jean Mausenbaum's, thank you letter here.

Oranjia's wishlist!

Currently there are 10 children living in the Oranjia House benefiting from the wonderful support available to them. These children are fortunate enough to attend matric dances, University, participate in soccer at Herzlia, and even get to go to camp.
Remarkably, the 10 current residents range in age from a 5 year old all the way through to a 21 year old. With limited funds it is challenging to meet their growing needs. Wouldn't it be great if we could sponsor something from their modest list?
You can make a difference in a child's life! Once you KNOW their needs, you can THINK about which one you can help with, and then you can ACT by making a tax deductible donation.
Brand new soccer poles would only cost $100.00!
Brand new educational toys would cost only $250.00!
Why not underwrite one of these items in honor of your children or grandchildren? Teach them about helping thoseless fortunate and remind them that WE ARE TRULY BLESSED.
Having gone through so many decades and challenges, Oranjia child and youth centre has a wealth of history to be enjoyed by all.
Renovation at Frank Avenue!
Oranjia’s new house at Frank Avenue is now prepared to provide 10 children with sufficient space to accommodate them in comfort and dignity. The additional space now also allows for a day care service specifically catering to children who have been identified as “at risk” for removal from their homes.
This preventative service offering educational, counseling, childcare and parental support is a much needed addition to an already fragile situation. While there will always be a need for residential care, the daycare program could possibly prevent the removal of some of these children from their current homes, and provide an alternative to both them and their families.
Oranjias biggest need at the moment is a new van to transport the residents to several schools daily, doctor appointments and extra curricular activities. Their present van holds 8 people all together and they currently have 10 children plus a driver and an assistant for the younger children. The van costs R200,000.00.