His story has been shared more than 4000 times and inspired people around the world.
“It’s stories like these that make me fall more and more in love with my kids,” wrote Dane Cassisa.
In his Facebook post on 11 January, he introduced the world to Yazeed Losper, a 14-year-old boy from Tafelsig.
“[He] is one of the standout players in our sports programme. Yesterday morning, after picking him up for church, I asked him how his Christmas school holidays were. His response absolutely wrecked my heart,” Cassisa continued.
The teen had worked as a packer to earn money to buy school supplies.
“No, I don’t have any money left. I worked so that I can buy myself new school shoes, schoolbooks and stationery,” he told Cassisa.
This inspired Cassisa to help Losper any way he could.
“He’s taken up the responsibility to go out and work while most kids are swimming and playing and enjoying the summer, just so that he can afford – of all things – school shoes and books,” Cassisa wrote.
“As a boy who doesn’t have a father and lives with his grandma, he could so easily take the easy route and drop out of school like the majority of the young men that face financial challenges in his community, yet he’s decided to be different – to show the world that your background shouldn’t determine your destiny.”
Cassisa tells People’s Post he had developed a special bond with Losper since he started the programme.
He is a coach and volunteer for Hillsong Africa Foundation, which teaches life skills to children in Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu, among other areas.
He and Losper were instrumental in starting a soccer club after he joined the programme three years ago.
“We offer life skills and mentor these children because many of them don’t have fathers. This is one of the biggest reasons they get involved in gangs – because there isn’t a role model,” Cassisa says.
He adds that he regularly posts about the boys in the programme to create awareness about other communities.
Since the post was published, Cassisa has received several messages on Facebook from people who are interested in helping Losper.
“Because Yazeed is underage I have opened an account for him and donations have been coming in. I will sit down with his mother and we will discuss what he still needs,” he says. Cassisa says he will also look into covering Losper’s school fees to ensure he does not drop out.