HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR HERMANN GMMEINER’S SHILLING!
I am a 27 years old girl, born in Nhlambeni, Manzini. I was told that my birth brightened my parent’s life hence I was named Khanyisile. However sometimes I wonder what happened to that “Light” because I was eventually raised up by my father single handedly. Did I mention that my father was not only just raising me a girl up alone but I had a younger sibling, which naturally made me turn into my brother’s mother when my father was away or when the was need to.
As if the misery of being raised by a father alone was not enough, disaster struck us once again when our father died just as I turned seven years old. The responsibility of bringing up me and my younger brother immediately fell on my grandmother. My grandmother tried all she could to take care of us, and she also took us to school all by herself as she would sell food at the markets. Later when I was ten, my grandmother was hit by stroke as she could not bear the loss of my father. But honestly was God there, was he watching over us and did He really love us, why were we suddenly losing all the people that were raising us, how were we supposed to grow up now. How on earth does a ten-year-old girl like me deal with all this now, what was happening to me and my brother, as young as he was, he looked up to me during nights when we had no food, he would ask me why we were suddenly not going to school and tell me how much he missed his friends at school.
Our life was such a roller coaster as the community would throw in what they could whenever they could. Difficult as life was we are grateful that the community was there for us, hence they alerted the Social Welfare Department about our plight and our journey of admission to SOS Children’s Villages began. We were engulfed with so much fear of being in a new place and with new people. But the mother we were given treated me and my brother lovingly. For the first time we felt love, we saw love and everyone around us seemed to be full of love, our new SOS mother introduced us to our new SOS brothers and sisters. I felt at home after a long time and started crying but this time it was with joy. We were a total of ten brothers and sisters in the family. My brother was also in the same house. One of my first memories is about my mother teaching me how to bake muffins. The love with which she helped me prepare the dough perhaps made the muffins more delicious. My SOS mother was a caring and loving person. She could somehow feel the trauma I had been through. She would spend long hours with us in the house, telling stories, encouraging and motivating us. Gradually, I started opening up and began interacting with other children in the village. On weekends and week-days after school, I would play with them; skipping, volleyball and soccer were my favorites.
Over the years I started doing well at my school. It was surely because of the motivation on my mother’s part and the help I got from my SOS family. In the year 2008, I passed Grade 12 and later went to the University of Namibia for my first degree (BSc Hons in Agricultural Economics). Now I work for an organization as Assistant Project Coordinator, in which I am responsible for projects like youth employability capacity building, capacity building for CBOs on project management, and working directly with young people to improve their “soft skills”. Yes, I am happy, it all feels like giving back what was given to me. On the other note, I am looking forward to my admission for my Master’s degree as I am applying in various institutions. Oh Yes, for as long as there are people called Professors out there, Who Am I Not to Be??? Hahahaha…
I am very happy and thankful to SOS Children’s Villages for giving me a loving home and a bright future. I confidently confirm that I received love and care that a child needs to blossom into a responsible adult. Contributions from donors like you helped me in receiving a happy childhood and secure future. When I learnt that SOS Children’s Villages launched a fundraising campaign which calls every Swazi to support SOS Children’s Villages with at least ONE LILANGENI, tears streamed through my eyes as I remembered that had it not been for a man called Hermann Gmeiner who started a similar initiative so many years ago to assist children who had been in my situation, I would have not been who I am today.
You can be that chance today that a child in a similar circumstance and situation like mine gets a chance to life and education. Support SOS Children’s Villages today, donate ONE LILANGENI or more by simply dialing, *007*03*04*032# and sending the donation through Swazi MTN Mobile Money.