How well would you have done in school if it hadn’t been for your caring mom? Maybe she made sure you have your lunch box lovingly filled with sandwiches and snacks, drove you to school in the morning and waited for you outside when you finished in the afternoon. Not only did she buy your school uniform and stationary, she always had an open ear if you struggled with one of the teachers or fellow students in your class. Your parents were there to look up to, to support you morally and emotionally and to ensure that you wouldn’t get on the wrong track.
Now, how do you think your outlook on life and the world would be if you didn’t have that feeling of safety and security that your parents were able to give you while you were growing up?
What does it feel like not to know where your next meal will come from? How does one get through a night, if you have to share a bed with five other people? And how much attention can anyone give to
algebra homework or an English assignment if there is a terminally ill sister to care for at home after school?
The children I have met through Ikageng Itereleng had or still have to struggle through these and other curve balls life has thrown at them – on a daily basis. Yet despite this, they were kind and willing to spend time with me and to let me in on their lives, thoughts, feelings and struggles. They taught me so much.
They gave me insights into what it feels like to grow up in a broken home, without a home or no parents. In addition to the financial struggles, there is immense emotional pressure that makes it even harder to get through every day. Yet, these children have not given up. They push on and, thanks to Ikageng and Mom Carol, they have been given a chance to change the course of their lives. A precious chance to get an education that will open doors to a career and to becoming a contributor in society. It’s a chance to matter!
Without institutions like Ikageng, these children face a bleak future. Financial support for these institutions is vital. Unfortunately, the solution to many of the challenges that the children face, does not stop there and they are not solved with money alone. That is only the beginning. These children yearn for recognition, mental and emotional support and they are desperate to be heard and for people to share in their life-journey. I believe these children are a vital link in the chain to creating a brighter future. They are best placed to lead their peers by their footsteps
and focus on education. It is the alternative to coming off-the-rails and getting lost in the sad, sad world of gangs, street violence and drugs.
We need to support these children. They are on the right path to making a difference to their lives and also in the lives of their families. We need to ensure they stay on this path and fulfill their dreams. We also need to create ways in which to empower them to reach and win-over their peers too.
“…there are bright, strong, powerful children out here…”
Our nation needs children like these to build a strong and powerful generation. A generation fit to lead this country over the next decades. The world is crying-out for a different message from African nations. There are too many stories of suffering, corruption and crime that have made international headlines. It is long time that we show the world that there are bright, strong, powerful children out here who have what it takes to make a difference.
I believe this, and I believe in you, kids, with all my heart!
I received this letter from Carol Dyantyi a little while ago: