Healing the inner wounds of the most vulnerable children

Siyathuthuka, South Africa

One day Wandile was playing out­side in his community of Mafwam­bisa when he cut his foot badly on a broken bottle. His mother, Siphiwe has serious health issues and was not able to leave the house and take him to a clinic. She found some glue and tried to glue Wandile’s wound shut. For Wandile, 7, his sister Lungile, 12, and their brother Philane, 2, this story is one of many where they were in need of an adult who could properly care for them.

In South Africa, Hands at Work supports Community Based Organisations (CBO’s) such as Siyathuthuka CBO in Mafwambisa. Here, members of the local churches are volunteering to care for the most vulnerable children. Telma is one of these Care Workers. She has been visiting Wandile’s family since 2008 when their father died. Telma visits the family at home to ensure Siphiwe has taken her treatment. Lungile fears that without Telma, their mother may die also.

The children used to stay at home alone, trying to help their mother. Now, they are able to attend the Care Point at Siyathuthuka CBO. It was here that a Care Worker noticed Wandile’s infected foot and began cleaning the wound each day with salt water until it healed fully. The Care Point is also where the children can receive help with their homework each day. Lungile is in grade 7 and Wandile is in grade 2. Lungile says her favourite subject is English and she loves to practise speaking it. She also says one of her favourite memories is the day Thandy, a Care Worker, taught the girls traditional dancing at the Care Point.

 Each week, Hands at Work trainers visit Siyathuthuka to equip the local Care Workers. These local Care Workers are not only healing the physical wounds like Wandile’s foot, they are healing the inner wounds of the most vulnerable children. Wandile, Lungile and Philane were in danger of growing up with serious scars – both physical and emotional, but now they are able to be children and have peace knowing that they are surrounded by many mothers who love them.