Children in care are hard hit during lockdown
At 16, Sibusiso was not happy living at our Maria Kloppers Campus, so he set out to make as much trouble as he could in the hopes of being sent home. He succeeded in getting permission to go home just before lockdown.
Read about his experiences in his own words below. Home was no fun and it took some time and effort before we managed to bring him back.
“At first I was very unhappy to be in the children’s home. I felt that the people working here were keeping me away from my family and being unfair. So I came up with a plan of getting into trouble as often as possible and in that way I might be sent home, and surprisingly it worked. It seemed like a great idea back then.
“The first few days at home were quite nice and I thought life was great. I started seeing old friends, but then I realised that most of my old friends were doing bad things. They had dropped out of school and were smoking, not only weed, but even worse things like ‘cat’ .
“After the first week at home, things started getting hard. My mom and her boyfriend were fighting because of me and eventually I was kicked out of the house and stayed at my grandma’s house, where there was no water, no electricity, and even worse, the place she stays at is owned by drug lords. Prostitutes, drug dealers and worse people were in and out on a daily basis.
“I was getting scared so I stayed away from the shack for most of the day and only came back home around seven o’clock at night.
“But coming home late every day was not such a good idea, because one fateful night, as I was walking home alone in the quiet streets at around eight o’clock, I was ganged up on by two men who held a gun to my forehead and started searching me, saying I should hand over my phone. Luckily I didn’t have my phone. I’d left it at home because the battery was flat and there was no electricity to charge it.
“As I was being searched, I started panicking and screamed, but that only made things worse and the men started beating me. By God’s grace, they decided to let me go.
“As I limped home with a headache and bleeding lip, I realised that no-one even tried to help me. I finally got home and told my grandma everything and she told me that people are too afraid to help. She also told me that she too was afraid of talking to the cops about all the illegal things happening in our yard because she is scared they might kick her out, or even worse, ‘bust her brains out’ (her words, not mine).
“But that was only the beginning of all that happened. I also started needing money which I had to work for (unlike in the children’s home where I got it for free). And I am embarrassed to say this, but I started collecting plastic bottles and taking them to the scrapyard for 50 cents per kilo to buy food. Luckily my mom allowed me to eat and bath at her place sometimes. I was very dirty. I think cats were cleaner than me.
“So, every night I would cry and pray to the Lord to end this struggle. My so-called friends turned against me and my grandma was too busy drinking to help.
“Just as I lost hope, I received a message from Magogo, an old lady who is a neighbour at my mom’s place. She told me that people were there to collect me. I knew exactly who they were and I didn’t hesitate to take my bag and leave.
“So, I have learned that life out there is no joke. Life is not fair and I must use every opportunity I get. Coronavirus is nothing compared to what I have seen in these few months.
“I am grateful to be back home. And yes, when I say home, I mean Maria Kloppers Campus.”
Ernesta, Manager at Maria Kloppers Campus, will tell you that Sibusiso’s behaviour has been exemplary since he returned from his horrible Covid-19 experience.
Sibusiso and children like him are the reason you should help.
So many children in care have stories of heartbreak and suffering. They are extremely vulnerable and their lives have to be rebuilt with love and patience.
You can help restore the hope of a boy like Sibusiso by donating R20 towards a new pair of socks. It will be a small step on his long road towards self-respect and living up to his potential.
Sibusiso and children like him need you to share this message widely among people who care about children like you do.
- colleagues, and
Please donate R20 towards restoring the dignity of a boy like Sibusiso. And be sure to tell the world by posting what you did on your social media.