The saying goes: “No parent should have to bury a child.” But a Kensington mother had to endure the pain of losing both her children in just five years. She now does everything in her power to lend a helping hand to those in her community – her way of honouring her children’s memory whom she describes as “people persons”.Marian Kortjie (47) and her husband, Johannes, lost both their children at the hand of criminals. In 2013, their daughter, Keshia-Anne, was murdered and in 2018 their son, Justin, was also fatally stabbed. The mother explains that on some days when she is overwhelmed by grief, and feels like giving up, it is her passion to help others that keeps her going. “When my children passed away, my husband and I were distraught. I needed to do something to keep myself busy, so I started sewing.”Kortjie says she started sowing at the age of eight and never really paid attention to it. “My grandmother raised me and she always encouraged me to sew. When I reached Grade 10, I would sew things and my grandmother would take it to work to show to her boss.”She explains that she later became a machinist because she had good teachers who taught her. But her goal was to become a social worker. A fitting position because Kortjie says there are always residents knocking on her door, needing assistance.“I do community work, I volunteer at the local school. People come to me for counselling. If I am not able to assist them, I put them into contact with the relevant people.”As Kortjie continues to work toward her goal, her main focus is putting big smiles on a bride or matric girl’s face by sewing their dream dress. “Recently, I had a bride come to me with very little time left before her big day and I had to make her dress.”She says as Christians, the only thing that keeps her and her husband going is their faith and the memories they share of their children.Kortjie says while designing dresses and assisting others does not lessen the pain of her loss, it does make her happy knowing she can help fill someone else’s void.“It breaks my heart when I hear of all these children being killed in our communities. My message to those parents is let’s all unite and stand up against all the evil in our communities,” she says.