10-year-old Londi and his gogo live in a small, run-down mud hut in the rural village of Siphamandla in north-eastern South Africa. He is a friendly boy who says he loves his grandmother very much and hopes she will live a long life, especially because she has taken care of him since his mother died when he was very young. The grandmother cannot work, and the two survive on a meagre government child care grant.
Londi is in Grade 3 at Mpakeni Primary School, but because he has no one to help him with his homework, school is an uphill battle for him. Londi’s biggest concern, however, is the state of their home. The stick and mud shack is likely to fall apart when the heavy summer rains pound down on it.
Esther, a volunteer care worker from Siphamandla Home-Based Care, which is supported and trained by Hands at Work, is working hard to support and strengthen this family. She encourages them in tough times and helps them find solutions to their problems. She has enrolled Londi in the Siphamandla team’s afternoon programme, where he visits after school to eat a fresh cooked meal with his peers and can do his homework under supervision.
In 2011 Hands at Work introduced a nearby church to Londi’s family. Today the church is working in partnership with Esther and the Siphamandla team to rebuild the house and even construct a sheltered centre for Londi and Siphamandla’s other children to meet after school each day.