The Children of Bhekulwandle

It’s a common picture in Africa:

An 8 year-old girl with a baby on the hip…

A teenager taking his 11 year-old sister to the clinic to pick up her anti-retroviral medication (ARV’s), cooking for her – and then studying so he can pass high school exams and find a job…

Children raising children.

In the afternoons over a hundred 5-10 year-olds fill our classrooms. Because they must care for younger siblings, about twenty toddlers and pre-schoolers come to class with them.

“The harvest is ready…therefore pray to the Lord that he would send laborers”.

In February Lungi offered her afternoons to serve the little children. She was an unemployed member of our HIV support group who wanted to give something back to her community. Each afternoon, Lungi took care of the 20 little ones. She read them Bible stories and children’s books, and gave them paper and crayons to draw with. This wasn’t yet a fully-fledged program, but it was a starting point – a safe place where very young children could play and be kids.

And it enabled their older brothers and sisters to enjoy the freedom to be kids too, for an hour, while an adult watched over their “children”.

Then Lungi found a part-time job.  Her decision to volunteer with us was a step forward for her.  We’re proud that she is moving toward meeting her family’s needs. We now have a new volunteer posting open, and we hope to see another success story begin soon.