It's yet another year, another chance to make a difference!
As we reflect on a wonderful year that last year was, we are focused on the great work ahead. Many children and families are counting on all of us for an impactful year. Everyone is excited to be back, our programs are running in full gear and we are all looking forward to what the year holds in store for us, our children with mental disabilities, their families and the community at large.
So far, we have a full house; 30 children in the three months group program, 18 children in the 6 months group on boarding basis and 7 on day scholar basis. With a new addition of an occupational therapist to our able team this year, we are more than confident that our services will only get better.
Although it is just but a few weeks into the program this year, we still have some very exciting news and stories at Sibusiso! 5 of our social skills children have been selected into the national Special Olympics team and are getting ready for Berlin in June this year. Augustino our teacher has been selected as the assistant national team coach for volleyball. This is such a great opportunity for our children to put themselves out to the rest of the world and show how great they can be when given a chance!
Meanwhile, Amani Steven, has beaten all odds to sit on his own, without support for the first time in his four years of life! Amani is a three-year-old boy, soon to be four, with cerebral palsy. Amani’s story is a sad one indeed. Just at 13 months, his father threw him out of their house for his disability and swore to kill them both if he ever set eyes on them. Amani’s father comes from a prominent family and neither him nor his parents wanted ‘shame’ to their family name. Stella, Amani’s mother, in her late teen age by then, resolved to seek rescue from an orphanage. While so distraught, listening to her favourite Christian radio station one morning, she heard of Sibusiso and the programs. After so many unsuccessful visits to several witchdoctors and pastors, she knew that this was her last chance.
Amani was registered in the program in August 2022, with no head control, no trunk control, neither could he roll nor move from place to place in any possible way. With a very determined, and angry mother who wanted nothing but to see her son develop to get back at the deadbeat father, Amani’s Sibusiso journey began. By December 2022, Amani was one of the most improved children in the program, he could control his head, and slight control to his trunk so he was put on a special chair.
This year, Amani joined the three months group program. Stella has received a lot of counselling and she is currently on a healing journey to forgive and forget ahead, and just when she needed it, heaven smiled down on her with so many rays of sunshine! On 12th January 2023, three days shy of his birthday, Amani put the whole centre on standstill when he sat on his own, with no support at all! Lots of screaming could be heard from his mother who called it a miracle.
“I am overwhelmed with emotions and am lost of words. I knew a day will come when my son will prove them all wrong, and that day is today! I have heard it all, I have been betrayed so much by the people closest to me and I know my mother is shining down on me from heaven today and she is happy for me. Whether on a wheel chair or not, my son will be someone one day and he will make me proud. The number of times I contemplated suicide, the number of times I cried and wished for this day, only God can tell. Thank you so much Sibusiso, we can only get better. To every overwhelmed mother out there, there is hope, therapy is real, ’said an emotional Stella, Amani’s mother.
We are very happy for Amani’s journey, we wish them nothing but the best, we hope to have as many Amani’s this year as possible.
We owe it to each of you, we are because you are. It is said, when you have more than you need, widen your table to create more space for those in need. Nothing is too small to make a difference. Thank you very much everyone for your undying support, cheers to a great 2023!