I would like to tell you a story about a very special lady. Her name is Bridgette Makhoba. She is a teacher but for many years has had a very special heart for children with learning problems and other disabilities. Last year she resigned from her job and using her own money she built a house on the outskirt of the RDP settlement in Bulwer and opened this home to disabled children. She was immediately overrun with applications and took in 17 children and had to turn many away. Residential homes for children and young adults living with disabilities are in great need in this country but it presents many challenges and is, without doubt in my opinion, one of the hardest ministries to undertake.
She is a small, energetic lady with a big vision. When we heard about her we went to visit. She and her children and her many difficulties immediately crept into our hearts and we believed that HNO could be of some assistance to her. We offered to help her with therapy for the children and she accepted gratefully. Our relationship with her has grown to a lovely friendship. She has many obstacles to overcome: from keeping the children warm in the cold weather, to adequate staffing, to administrative hurdles to get her organisation registered and funded, to keeping the rain out and so the list goes on.
We are assisting her by transporting the children to our centre for therapy and two meals a day. The little ones with severe physical problems come every day during the week and the older, more able children have been coming for lessons and activities twice a week and this will increase to three times as from the new term.
In the past our services to disabled children has been limited to those who were on our transport route but with the opening of this residential home we are able to extend our services because fetching and carrying them is much easier because of the proximity of the home. We also assist with food and clothes as much as we are able and it is amazing how God provides because we have recently received a lot of clothes, and track suits, especially from our dear friends in Umhlanga, the sewing ladies of “Loaves and Fishes”. The timing couldn’t have been better. On top of that we have received sponsorship for four of the children to help us cope with the increased costs of their therapies and meals and other, especially medical, costs. The lovely donations of dehydrated soup vegetables and dried fruit from Container ministries has also overflowed to this new need.
L to R:Discussing with Mrs. Makhoba (left) how we can help, the home inside and out, the children helping where they can and lastly, the cooking house.
We were visited by some of our friends and supporters and one group who touched us especially was a bunch of young teenagers and their mentors from America from an organisation called Small Village Foundation. The youngsters sang and made music for our children and then some of them helped with feeding and cuddling the little ones while others got stuck into painting our playground equipment with sealant, which was so overdue that it was embarrassing. One of the young girls, Mackenzie, who has a special heart for children suffering from Cerebral Palsy had single handedly collected R3000 from friends back in America to assist with the needs of CP children. We were so moved by this amazing gift and the love and compassion behind it. We will be using it mainly to help the children at Mrs Makhobas home, Sihlangu, many of whom are cerebral palsy sufferers.
No matter how disabled our children might be they will always respond to music and love and human contact. This music ring was hugely enjoyed by children and staff together.
The famous Sani2C race has also come and gone and this year we were once again commissioned to make the little bike bracelets for the riders. We use unemployed and disabled ladies in the community to make these bracelets and they are very popular with the riders as a momento of their great achievement (and believe me, riding the Sani2c is a huge achievement) and at the same time brings some much needed income to those who have no other means of earning money. We would also like to thank our very dear friends, the eight ladies who worked very hard in the kitchen to feed the riders, and who raised a whopping R30 000 for Hlanganani with their hard work. Sani2c and Joberg2c is very much a race by the people for the people. All the work gets done by volunteers whose labour is “paid” for by generous donations to certain schools and charities. We at HNO are so grateful to those ladies who worked to raise funds for our organisation. Big big thank you to all of you.
The picture shows two riders, Gary and Paul who have also supported HNO, receiving their bike bracelets at the Mackenzie Race village. It was a very cold day but they survived to tell the tale and we look forward to seeing them again next year.
NOTICE OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF HLANGANANI NGOTHANDO TO BE HELD AT BULWER ON FRIDAY THE 2ND OF AUGUST 2013 AT 09.30 HOURS.
Anybody who has supported HNO in the past whether in funds or in kind is regarded as a member of HNO and is therefore welcome to attend. Please contact us for the AGENDA should you wish to attend and RSVP for catering purposes.