Miguel’s mother, Alima*, cares for Miguel and his three siblings alone. There was barely any money for food, let alone school fees. Even the barren soil around her home seemed to be against her, preventing her from growing a garden and on many days, the family went hungry.
A relative of Kayin’s took advantage of his already vulnerable situation, using him to work for far too small a wage which proved insufficient to provide the family with enough food and basic necessities. Morufa Taiwo, a Care Worker from the Apatuku CBO, who lives nearby to Kayin, was quick to involve the other Care Workers when she recognised the extent of the challenges that life was throwing his way.
In February 2017, Emerance, a dedicated local volunteer Care Worker, from the Maisha Community Based Organisation (CBO) was passing by the fields and noticed four young children working in the field and Liu laying lifeless in her great-grandmother’s lap; helpless and severally malnourished. Emerance acted out of compassion and urgency and took the children directly to the Care Point, so they could receive a meal that day. She knew that if they did not eat, there was a possibility that they would not survive.
The most significant photos to us are not always the most professional or even most beautiful images. They are the ones, however, that take us back to a moment that changed our lives.
In the mountainous area of Swaziland, nine-year-old Nolwazi leaves her house at five am to make the long two hour trek to school. Now that it is winter, it is very cold, and dark; often Nolwazi cannot even see the road in front of her. She walks alone in the dark for the first 45 minutes, and is gradually joined by other children along the way. Nolwazi does this walk every day, with nothing to eat or drink, Monday to Friday. By the time she gets back home after school, it is dark again.
When Nicholas* was just five years old, both of his parents tragically died in the same year, leaving him in the care of an uncle. His uncle was emotionally and physically abusive but with no one else to turn to, Nicholas was trapped in his home. His uncle refused to pay school fees so Nicholas was unable to attend school. Nicholas’ Aunt Mildred* visited the family and was appalled by Nicholas’ physical and emotional state.
Today I met Sarra*. A mother of three, who lost her husband sixteen years ago. Left as a widow, her husband’s brother came in and “claimed her”. He used her solely for sex, and she bore two of his children in the subsequent years. He took no responsibility for her or her children, and has now completely abandoned them.
Moses’ life is a miracle! His very existence speaks of the faithfulness of God and the loving compassion shown by the Care Workers of Zimba Community Based Organisation (CBO). Hilda, the Zimba coordinator, together with Charles, a local volunteer Care Worker, call Moses ‘the first child of Zimba CBO’.
Just a few weeks ago, Blessings had the opportunity to return to the DRC and visit Praise again. He shares an update about him and says, “This year Praise turned three. Last year when I met him, he was very sick – at two years old he was not able to stand on his own. I had very little hope that he would make it in life. We surrounded him with prayer and interceded, but I still had little hope, and doubt overwhelmed my heart.
150 children like Siyabonga* have daily experienced the love of Christ through a group of 15 dedicated volunteer Care Workers in the community of Welverdiend since 2009. These Care Workers not only understand the necessity of access to lifesaving services such as basic heath care, education and food security; they see the deep need for each child to know their Heavenly Father.
Zwelisha, South Africa
When Nkosenhle and Innocencia’s mother abandoned them, they were left with their father Ringo who married a second wife, Gabisile. Gabisile and her children are from Swaziland. Refugees face many challenges if they do not possess South African identification or birth certificates from their own country.
Praise’s grandmother Bertha began caring for him, but she was desperately poor and trying to survive. Praise was hungry - continually crying. People in the community said he would die and tried to put ritual charms around him but Bertha refused and knew God would provide. After her husband passed away many years ago, she said she learned to trust God throughout any hardship.
For the past four years, Chumai has suffered from epilepsy. His mother decided to return to her family because she could not deal with Chumai’s illness or those of the rest of the family, including Chumai’s father. A few months after leaving her children, Chumai’s mother remarried. Tragically Chumai’s father, Joaquim, died after falling from a platform used to dry maize cobs.
Ama is a 10-year-old girl from the community of Ilaje, Nigeria. When she was young her father passed away, leaving her in the care of her paralysed mother, Esther. At a very young age Ama was forced to become the breadwinner in order for her family to survive. As a result, Ama has not had the opportunity to be a child.
After losing her father, Trina* was sad and confused. She struggled to cope with his death and her pain became deeply entrenched in her heart. When a new step-father came into her home, he rejected Trina as a daughter. This further loss created more inner trauma and Trina withdrew from those around her