“This is Themba.
Themba came to us when she was three months old. She was abused by her mother and the social workers removed her from the care of the mother and put her into our safekeeping. The social workers are trying to rehabilitate the mother so that Themba can be returned to her, but in the meantime she stays with us and she has grown and improved like a normal little girl, and as you see the scar on her leg has almost disappeared now. She is one and a half years old now and a very happy normal child.
So, this is a picture of Themba when she came in. As you can see she has a burn on her leg, which is from an iron for ironing clothes. This was the abuse that her mother imposed on her
and as you can see, we have healed the wound and she is now a wonderful little girl.
Mxolisi is now nine years old. When he came to us he was eight years old. He is a very bad epileptic. He had a brain infarction when he was born and so (he has) he is badly mentally retarded. His mother has died of AIDS, but fortunately he is not HIV-positive. When he came in he was badly malnourished and he was not treated either for his epilepsy. He had had no medication and so he was fitting four to five times a day.
When he came in, this is what he looked like. He weighed twelve kilos at eight years old and as you can see, he was badly malnourished. Mxolisi has been with us for more than a year now and after only a few weeks of being here with good feeding and constant medication we got him to a stage where he was responding to us. When he came in he was totally unresponsive. He wasn’t laughing, he wasn’t crying, he never got cross, he was never happy. He showed absolutely no emotion and if you waved your hand in front of his eyes there was no response. As you can see now from the pictures, there has been a vast improvement in his development. He has put on a lot of weight, he is happy. He is eating properly and mostly we have managed to control his fitting.
Together with the government hospitals they have helped us an aweful lot. So, as you can see, Mxolisi is also very happy and will go on to grow into an adult.”
O.k. This little boy, Thembinkosi, he is four years old. He has been with us for just over a year. He and his mother were both here together, both of them in full blown AIDS. His mother died here in our hospice last week and he remains with us at her request. The father is nowhere to be seen and there are no other family relatives and so he is truly what we term an AIDS-orphan and we will look after and nurse Thembinkosi until the dear Lord calls him. These children normally don’t live past the age of ten years and so we can give him a least a good few years still that he can grow and have a happy and peaceful life with us.
“Right, these children in our children’s home have various social problems. Some of them are social orphans. Some of them are AIDS orphans and some of them are HIV-positive themselves. We have several children who have been abandoned by their parents and they have been removed by the government social workers and placed in our care. We have for instance one child who was abandoned at three months old in hospital. His mother took him there because he was sick. She never came back to fetch him and he grew up in the children’s home of a bush hospital for four years until the social workers heard about Blessed Gérard’s Children’s Home and then contacted us and asked us if we would look after him until they could find either an adoptive family or permanent foster care for him.
There is another child who has a very sad story. He was abandoned three times, first of all by his mother to his father and secondly by his father to the mother of his estranged wife, who was obviously not a blood relative of his. This lady then abused the child. She neglected him and eventually abandoned him to us. We took him over. The poor little child was far behind in his development. He was malnourished and he had wounds all over his body.
He is now well adjusted. He is going to the local pre-primary school and mentally he is coping very well at school. His physical development has improved a lot and he is fitting into society as a well adjusted child. We have another couple of children who have been abused by their parents, of alcoholic parents.
The social workers have placed him into our care for safekeeping until such time as they can find a permanent solution for their problem, more than likely a foster home.
It is because of all these social problems, many of them resulting from AIDS,
that the parents are dying from AIDS that the children are being abandoned for financial reasons
because the mother or the father has died of AIDS
and left with the granny.
The granny dies and the children are being brought up by maybe eleven or twelve year old brothers and sisters.
These children need a home. These children have been placed in our care, not only by the social workers, but also by parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
people who don’t know any more which way to turn.
They themselves can’t cope financially with their own families and now they are being asked to take on the responsibility for other people’s children
We feel that as Christians we have a responsibility to the society, to the community that we take these children into our home that we try to give them as good a start as possible in life and I think that through this film maybe we can raise the funds to do just that. I think we can see what the children are like. We can see that they are being looked after well. We work mostly with volunteers who come here of their own free will and help us to look after the children.
We have in the meantime employed two caregivers permanently so the children have some continuity. They have people that they can relate to on an ongoing basis as a normal family would be.
So they have two mother figures, perhaps a mother and a father figure, in the caregivers that we have employed. They have the security. They have the continuity. They have the discipline that they want.
They have the love that they want from these two people including and over and above the two caregivers.
This page is part of "An Everlasting Brotherhood" - Video film about the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard
This page was last updated on Monday, 01 April 2013 01:17:00.