Discovering a new reality of hope

A group of individuals in Australia, led by the compassionate McLaughlin family, seek to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children in South Africa, and to the Care Workers who serve so sacrificially each day to build for a positive future for their community. By partnering with communities like Welverdiend, in Bushbuck Ridge, this group has seen transformation taking place in many lives. Here is just one story:

In 2009, 6 young children were devastated by the loss of their parents. The eldest girl, Busie, 15, took responsibility for their mentally challenged and mute brother, Robert, and an uncle offered to take in the four youngest siblings: Segney, Gertrude, Ronald, and Karimo. It wasn’t long before the children realized they were not going to experience the care and provision they had anticipated from their uncle. Their uncle began stealing the small government orphan grant being given to the four orphaned children. On many nights, the children went to bed without food and often went to school without adequate clothes.  One by one, the children fled from their uncle to their old home. 

In 2011, Busie became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl.  With no one to help Busie raise her daughter and siblings, and with repeated years of failing at school, Busie dropped out in Grade 8.  Motivation to continue attending dwindled and the hope for a brighter future became bleak. Housework and providing meals for the family became overwhelming.  The growing instability in this family’s life started to affect the other children’s school work and their teachers became concerned. Aware that the family was in need of support, the teachers asked Care Workers at Pfunani Community Based Organisation to help. 

Ester, a Pfunani Care Worker began to visit the family and look for ways to support them.  She helped the children to apply for a social grant which they are now receiving.  Each morning, Care Workers visit the family home on their way to the Care Point to ensure porridge is cooked for Robert.  During other home visits, Ester helps to ensure the house is clean, laundry is washed, and meals are cooked.  Although Busie still struggles with feelings of depression, the family are discovering a new reality of hope.  Not only are they fed physically, with a nutritious meal each day at the Care Point, but also spiritually and emotionally.  They enjoy interacting with other children at the Care Point and attend weekly lessons led by their older peers, where issues such as self-esteem, healthy relationships, and sexual education are discussed.

Ester desires to continue helping Busie and her family to experience brighter days, to understand that they are loved and embraced as family.

The McLaughlin family and friends desired to make their partnership with Pfunani Community Based Organisation personal. They wanted it to go beyond just the sending of funds. This group are getting to know the Care Workers and children by name, and they look for creative and meaningful ways to impact their lives and the community. In 2013, they formed a team and travelled to South Africa to spend time with the people they had grown to love. During their time in the community, they worked to make the Pfunani Care Point a safe, secure and fun place for the children and Care Workers to meet.

Children like Busie and her siblings, who have battled with so much loss and rejection, now find a place of acceptance and value. The McLaughlin family and friends work closely with Hands at Work to make a positive impact in the lives of these vulnerable children. And through it, they have discovered a new reality of hope for the children and Care Workers they know by name.  

Have you considered sending a team to visit Hands at Work, or joining other individuals who desire to bring hope to the most vulnerable? Find out how you could get involved with Hands at Work by sending a group of passionate people to serve on a short-term team. No skills are required, just a commitment to serve and a desire to care.

To find out more, contact your local Hands at Work office:





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