An Inspirational Story: Supporting the Welfare Needs of a Vulnerable Child
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Debra Ngondonga, a dedicated nurse and CBF volunteer, shared this story with us at Out of Africa 2014 after she had met Precious on a trip to Zimbabwe. Precious was very vulnerable due to her severe disabilities…
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“I have always wanted to give something back to the community. Although I come from a poor background, education transformed my life and has helped me transform a lot of people in my circle of influence and in my community, not only through financial help but through positive influence and being a positive role model to many.
I decided to sponsor a child through Creating Better Futures to bring a change to a child, to a family, to a community, to a country and eventually to a world to through education and to break the cycle of poverty which follows generation after generation which associated with lack of education. I choose to sponsor a child through CBF because their goals and vision really resonated with mine, helping to educate and empower orphans, vulnerable children and their communities.
Debra with some of the children from Cheza Primary School, Zimbabwe
When I visited Zimbabwe on holiday, I asked CBF if it was possible to meet Yeukai, the child that I sponsor. All the necessary checks were done by CBF to protect the children and was overjoyed to have that opportunity to meet Yeukai. During my holiday in Zimbabwe I spared hours each day to visit the school and to meet Yeukai and her guardian, her 80 year old grandmother.
New classroom blocks were being built and Yeukai has now progressed to Secondary School. All the teachers and the general community commented on the good work that CBF is doing to transform the face of Cheza (Zimbabwe) and it’s community. I sat in the class with Yeukai and you should have seen the smile on her face! The confidence it brought her, knowing that there is someone who had travelled all this way to come to visit her. Meeting Yeukai was such an emotional moment for me. I now write to her and she writes to me through CBF and she updates me on the excellent progress of her studies!
Debra and Yeukai
Whilst in Zimbabwe, I also met Precious who lives in the same community as Yeukai. Precious is a 16 year old girl who has severe learning and physical disabilities, which she was born with. She lives with her mum who is also not very well.
Precious is epileptic and on several different types of medication. She cannot walk, she cannot talk and she has never been to school due the lack of special needs schools in the rural setting where she lives. She can’t sit on her own but lays on the floor most of her time. There is no wheel chair or bed available. She is incontinent and being 16 she has started her periods. Her mother cares for her, but she is under very difficult conditions. She uses pieces of clothes as nappies and as sanitary pads that she needs to wash in borehole water to reuse again and again.
She carries her on her back to go to the local clinic to get her medication or to have her medical needs met. She is now a big girl so she is very heavy for mum to carry. Precious’s mother is dependent on farming and gardening to look after Precious and met all of her medical needs. She has to lock Precious in the house at times so that she can go to the garden, sometimes she carries her and lets her lay in the sun while she works in the fields. Her mother explained to me that she fears Precious will be abused since she is a very vulnerable child. It is very hard to see it, but Precious is well protected.
Debra and Precious
When I left I could not stop thinking about Precious and what I could do to make a difference or to make her smile or how I could make the situation better for her mother with this already difficult situation. Precious has many complex needs, but I thought that if I sponsored her for £30 a month this could help with her monthly sanitary needs and general welfare and medical care.
I decided that the thing that would make the biggest difference to Precious and her mother would be a wheelchair. I wanted to run the Reading Half Marathon, aiming to raise £1500 for a wheel chair for Precious, so that her mother can wheel her around. I have not done a half marathon before but with this desire I have in my heart to bring this change to Precious, and with the support of CBF, I am sure I will manage.
It has become very clear to me that sponsorship is not just for the one child that you’re connected with but the whole of the Cheza School and community.”
Debra pledged to run the Reading Half Marathon, however the guests from last year’s Out of Africa Ball managed to raise £1500 for the wheelchair that same evening. Immediately after the ball Debra was able to buy Precious a wheelchair. Precious and her mother are now living a much happier life, her mother is able to take Precious with her when she goes out to the garden and fields. Precious is a lot more comfortable and enjoys being mobile and out and about.