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Tshega’s Orphaned & Vulnerable Children’s Program

I look in her eyes, guess she is 5 years old, a pretty little girl. Eyes bright and shiny. She is very dirty. Her unattended hair caked with dirt. Her flowery dress, as dirty as she is. Her skin is ashy grey and it is apparent that she needs care, nutritious food, and a loving mother’s touch. I look at the mother, hope is long gone, in her eyes something has settled in. I don’t have words for it… She looks as lost as her situation. I cannot imagine how hopeless she must feel with no means to provide for these children. She has nine children to take care of, 5 of her own and 4 that is her sisters children. Her sister left to look for work but she has not heard from her for over a month now. She has no income just the grant that the government give out. She can not go to look for a job because besides her 5 year old daughter she has three younger ones that needs constant attention. I ask her if I can look in her house, a one room place. She turns her head away as to overthink it for a moment and then nod her head in consent.

It only has one room. It has one big mattress on the ground that all 9 children and the mother share. I wonder how they all fit in it. To one side on the ground in the corner lies a bunch of tomatoes that some community member donated, probably with a favour in mind.

Being the Basadi manager for the past four years and active in missions I have been to many such households. My heart is for these people. We have to make a difference. Starting with one family at a time… Nothing has a quick fix besides you have to get a permanent solution therefore Basadi was established to bring transformation to a society in crises.  Flies gather around it and I think by the smell of it that most of it has already gone bad. She has no other food, no mieliemeal, no nothing. She has no soap for her and the children, no washing powder for their clothes that also lies in a stinky pile in the opposite corner of the stuffy room. I swallow with difficulty when I think of people complaining about food, about clothes, about petty things all the time. I feel ashamed. My heart wants to break. I know that what I have seen here today will haunt me for many days to come. It is now six years later than that day when I met the women with the nine children.

The above mention program has 56 children and their caregivers who falls under this outreach program in Tshega.