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At-Risk Kids Find Their Families in South Africa

Abandoned, homeless or lost children in South Africa struggle to stay out of trouble and accomplish something positive in their lives. Where other methods have failed, the Johannesburg Applied Ancestry Program helps them find their families through the powerful combination of genetics and genealogy.

The Challenge
In the Ngingubani region of South Africa, many children are abandoned or lost, and end up living on the streets of Johannesburg.

One of the greatest ways to help these children is to connect them to their extended families, who in turn, can help move their lives in more positive directions.

The SMGF Solution
The Applied Ancestry Program, working in conjunction with SMGF, has been able to gather DNA samples and find matches in the Sorenson Database that have allowed these children to connect with their families.

DNA testing provides an invaluable link in searching for and positively identifying individuals who have been separated for some time, often from an early age. These results are combined with genealogical information, much of which is gathered orally as part of Applied Ancestry's program.

The Outcome
"One of the major objectives of our program is to build and strengthen family relationships," said Clive Haydon, a director of the Applied Ancestry Project. "This leads to an increased sense of identity and values, where each child gains greater appreciation for family values."

One young man was reunited with his family for the first time in 14 years. "This was a wonderful reunion with many tears, with the young man meeting a brother he never knew he had," said Clive. "This reunification was a direct result of his involvement in the program."

Note: All data submitted to SMGF are handled with strict confidentiality to protect the anonymity of our participants. Genetic and genealogical information in the Sorenson Database can indirectly help make new family connections.
"It is our hope that many others can enjoy the same sense of connection and belonging that SMGF has helped our extended family to experience."

Kevin Shepherdson, Singapore
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