Well, I am a bit late with this newsletter but hopefully none of you noticed!
We have been greatly blessed in that we have received financial assistance for our work with the community creches. Greenlight Solutions from Durban has committed to sponsoring this work for a year and because of that we were able to increase from the original 7, to 11 creches that Dolly is visiting and guiding, on a regular basis. We have also held a very basic workshop when we brought the teachers in and simulated a day in the life of a crèche with the teachers role playing as learners. In this way they have learnt the importance of learning through play, hands on art activities and how the child feels when he is either praised or discouraged. And then as a great bonus Rene from Atlas Plastics once again donated lovely sturdy and colourful chairs and tables and so the four new creches were outfitted with these and what an amazing difference this makes instantly. The pride and the joy on the faces of teachers and children is something to be experienced.
This is Sthobile, a young mother with two sons who used to work at the local supermarket. She suffers from painful varicose veins and has had to resign and stay at home with her boys living only on the child grants. Every time she feels a bit better she goes back to work and they take her on immediately which shows what a good worker she is and she also speaks English well, which is rare in the rural areas. When she is not working we assist her with a food parcel for which she is hugely grateful.
These two boys (above) are part of a family of four children who are orphaned and whose granny died last year leaving them with no income. The wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly to get their grants sorted out but in the meantime we help out with food parcels.
At the centre we “work” on two frontiers. On the left is little Wandile who loves two things: his walking ring and looking at books. Our carers expose the children and young adults to as many different stimuli as possible. The other behind-the-scene work that happens all the time, with no fan fare, is the maintenance and repairs that a place like HNO needs all the time. Our maintenance “go-to person” is Nkosinathi without whom we might as well close our doors. Here he is on our roof repairing roof tiles after a particularly nasty wind storm, with me having ants on the ground, although he is as surefooted as a goat, and has a better view up there anyway of our beautiful Bulwer mountain. Mary and I “fight” over this young man regularly because not only is he practical he is also very good with the young adults and works closely with Sibusizo who is blind.
I want to tell you a story…
Perhaps you will remember young Nondumiso whom I wrote about at the beginning of the year? We came across her on our community visits and brought her to HNO just to get her out a bit. She has Cerebral Palsy and suffers from severe dystonia. She is 22 years old and was able to sit in a wheel chair up to about 18 but since then is only able to lie on her tummy with her neck severely extended to be able to eat and see a bit. With Phillipa and Jacqui’s guidance we have been doing exercises for her neck and shoulders and we now have some hope of getting her back into a special wheelchair eventually. Because of her condition she was unable to use public transport to attend clinics or physiotherapy. Even now we have to make a special trip to fetch her because she cannot fit in the vehicle with our other children. Her dystonia results in her getting injured if she is not well supported and safe from hurting herself on hard surfaces. We have now also ordered a special positional trolley which is being tailor made for her. Although this is an expensive outlay we believe it will be worth it to try and improve the quality of her life. Just to be able to eat in the normal semi sitting position and to be at same level as others, would make all the difference to her life.
She is very intelligent and loves listening to stories and the theme teaching and being with the other children. Because of their disabilities there is an atmosphere of acceptance and love and she is enjoying being part of our team.
However her granny, who has been her sole carer at home is getting old and unable to take care of her . She has tried to employ people from the community but it is hard work, as Nondumiso is unable to do anything for herself and so the R700 a month that the granny can pay, simply has not attracted anybody for the post. She has now been talking about trying to get Nondumiso into an institution where she can get 24/7 care. For us, this would be a tragic situation as this young lady’s needs are so unique and she is intelligent and sensitive. Coming from a loving home she would be in a place where the care will always be questionable (to put it mildly) and unable to defend herself or even communicate adequately. She would be permanently separated from her family, as the only places that might take her would be far away and so she wouldn’t be able to visit home very often, if at all. Her physical and emotional suffering would be huge and somehow we just felt that we had to do what we could to prevent this happening. So HNO has employed a lovely carer, Cynthea who lives with the family during the week and takes care of Nondumiso. We have been doing this for about 2 months now on a trial basis and it has been extremely successful. The granny pays the R700 towards her salary but HNO is paying the balance. We trust God that we will be able to continue with this arrangement because it really is value for money in that there is a big relief within the family structure, Nondumiso is happy and safe and continuing to progress and this is employment for someone who herself was in need of an income.
Below is Nondumiso in a “side lie-er” specially made for her that has already helped to shape her body back into a more normal curvature, and the other picture is a sample of the sort of positional trolley that we have ordered for her.
If any one or more of you would like to sponsor this young lady’s care we would be so grateful and we would, as we do with other sponsored children, send you regular reports so that you can be personally involved in her life and progress. If you met her you would fall in love with her.
From the admin office
We sometimes receive donations deposited into our account with no reference or just “donation” and although we respect anyone who wishes to donate anonymously sometimes this can also be an error. HNO is registered with SARS Tax Exempt Unit and is able to issue tax receipts. So if you don’t receive thank you letters with the tax receipt please know that there might be a reference problem at the bank and please contact us so that we can rectify this. We recently received a very generous gift, but with no reference, and whoever you are, if you wish to remain anonymous please know that we are so so grateful and it has made a big difference.
Next stop……Christmas. Can you believe it?
Let us hope and pray it will rain well before then. The farmers are really in trouble. Spring planting in the communities has been in vain, and there simply is no grass for the cattle.
Lots of love from all of us to all of you.
Conny and the HNO team.