Caring for the children

2016-05-24 06:00
Siyabathanda Abantwana Orphan Organisation founder Fatima Mnxulwa. Photos: nosipho mkhize

Siyabathanda Abantwana Orphan Organisation founder Fatima Mnxulwa. Photos: nosipho mkhize

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SIYABATHANDA Abantwana Orphan Organisation's founder Fatima Mnxulwa started this NGO in 2011 after seeing how many children suffer from illiteracy in schools.

She said it all began when she visited her child's school for an assessment meeting. “I went to my child's assessment at Wyebank Primary School and I saw a child who came with his grandmother. I noticed that the child was crying endlessly. It was so sad that I approached the teacher to find out about the child. The teacher told me the child has difficulty with reading and writing. She also told me that a lot of pupils at the school have the same problem.

“I wanted to help these pupils to make their lives better so I wrote a letter to the principal. I told him to identify pupils that have a problem with reading and writing and to my surprise he sent about 21 pupils. At that time I worked closely with my daughter by helping these pupils with lunch after school and helping them with their homework. I realised that most school drop-outs are caused by not being able to read or write.”

She said after the organisation was registered it employed staff members which consists of a tutor; a child-minder and an administrator.
“We planned tutoring programmes that we believed could help the children. Besides checking homework, we also embarked on holiday reading programmes in conjunction with Wyebank library. From Monday to Thursday we teach them how to read and write then during the weekend we embark on a programme called the Kid’s Club where we teach them basic computer skills including typing and help with all the subjects that they do at school.
“Our weekend programmes are not just about learning, we also bring in the fun by letting them play computer games and sports namely soccer, netball and volleyball. The children love playing volleyball because it accommodates all of them. We also go on excursions for fun while learning about different things.

“At the moment we have 45 children under our care. We work closely with their teachers and analyse their school reports to assist with subjects that the child is lacking.”

Siyabathanda employees also do home visits to ensure that the child is living in a safe family environment.
“Home visits helps us tackle certain problems in a child's life because you find that most of the children who cannot read and write are being abused and raped. We speak to the parent or guardian and provide counselling.
“Some situations are tough because a child is being raped by someone who is a bread-winner at home and the family knows about the issue, but they keep it a secret because the perpetrator puts food on the table. But what they don't realised is that the child is affected as well as his/her future.

“These are the challenges that we face as an organisation because some families don't care about their children and they have turned rape into something normal. Some think its okay for a child to walk long distances to get to school. We need to enforce care. Parents should care and love their children.”

The organisation recently donated 150 school shoes to different schools namely Wyebank Primary Bazamile in Molweni and Tholulwazi Primary in Molweni. For more information, contact Fatima Mnxulwa on 071 326 4456 or 031 707 7469.

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