A better life at last

2019-06-12 06:00
Adversity makes Thabo thrive. Photo: Supplied

Adversity makes Thabo thrive. Photo: Supplied

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Through hard work, determination to succeed and sheer willpower, Thabo (20) climbed out of the pit he was placed in from the age of three.

He was abandoned by his family.

Thabo was put into foster care only for his foster parent to die. He then ended up under the uncertain care of an elderly neighbour. At the age of ten he moved into the streets, which is where Kidz Care Trust (KCT) found him.

He had joined a group of street children and had to beg during peak traffic times at the traffic lights near Mimosa Mall. He was specifically assigned to begging by his peers because he was the youngest in the group. In return the older child­ren offered him protection and a place to live in their “home” under a bridge.

It was in the company of these apparent friends that he picked up a habit of sniffing glue and smoking cannabis (dagga).

When Thabo was about 12 years old, he moved into the KCT Child and Youth Care Centre. However, he struggled to adapt to the rules and routines of the centre due to his past experiences of street living. The children’s court then ordered that he be sent to the Jimmy Roos School near Dewetsdorp.

Just as things were looking better, Thabo turned 18 and the system no longer had a place for him. He could not find work, so he had no choice but to go live with his friends in a township where he picked up his drug habit again. At this time Thabo slept on the floor of a single room shack with one piece of clothing and one blanket.

Eventually Thabo approached KCT as he could not cope with his situation.

KCT involved him in their youth programme and he was taught cooking, gardening and cleaning. KCT also signed Thabo up for an in-service training programme at the Kopano Nokeng Conference Centre.

He was taken under the wing of Andrea Bradfield, who gave him an opportunity to train and gain experience. Andrea was so impressed by Thabo’s performance and ambition to succeed that she offered him casual work helping with waitressing and organising events, with the possibility of a permanent appointment.

Thabo also started with adult education and distinguished himself as a natural leader. Last month he opened a bank account and KCT has been helping him with financial management.

  • Now, at 20 years old, Thabo lives at the KCT Centre, making his own money, receiving an education and is still hungry for more success. Written by James Steenkamp, a second-year student in journalism at the University of the Free State.
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