Orphans share their horrible experiences

Social worker, founder, volunteers and orphans at Dzulani Children Care Centre in Vosloorus Dindela Section, shared their experience at the home with Kathorus MAIL on Wednesday, April 5.

Dzulani Children Care Centre is a non profit organisation based in Dindela Section, Vosloorus.

According to one of the residents of the centre, Nonhlanhla Muhatsi* (24), she arrived at the home in 2012.

“Before I arrived here I was staying with my foster parents after the death of my biological parents. I was mistreated in the foster home. They had no love for me. They only wanted my grant money.

“Since I arrived here at the home, I have found the love I always wanted. I never felt the void of not having parents. Our parents and founders of the centre Gideon and Nelly Nelukau took me in as a child of their own.

“They bought school uniforms for me and paid for my school trips. I never missed a single school trip. Even my friends at school never believed that I was an orphan. They said I looked like I have both parents,” said Muhatsi.

Khethi Shivhambu (18) said she came from Mozambique to work here.

“I was brought to SA by one of my relatives. She told my mother she had found a job for me here. She took advantage of me because she knew that my mother, a single parent, was unemployed and we were struggling to survive.

“My mother gave me her blessings to come here and work so that I could support her and my siblings. It came as a surprise when I found out there was no job.

“My relative brought me to Thamahatsi Informal Settlement for a man (45 at that time) who was older than my biological father. The man sexually assaulted me a number of times until a neighbour realised what was happening and reported the matter to the police.”

Shivhambu said she was only 13 when the sexual abuse began.

She continued: “The police took me to the hospital for HIV blood tests and then brought me here to the home.

“Nelukau took me in like a child of her own and made me feel at home,” said Shivhambu.

Siphiwe Makhasana (25) said she didn’t know her real mother until her father died.

She said: “After my father passed away, I had to go and look for my mother, who was staying with my stepfather at the farm in Boksburg.

“One day, when my mom was away, I had to prepare food for my stepfather. After he finished eating I went to bath because I thought he had gone to see his friends.

“I was surprised to see him coming from behind. He grabbed me, put me on the bed and raped me. I told my mother but she didn’t do anything about it. Instead she threatened me. She said if I opened a case against her husband, I would be the one who would have to support her young children.

“As a result I had no choice but to run away from there and stay with my aunt in Spruit.

“What made me leave Spruit was that my aunt demanded money for rent. I did not have any because I was not working. My aunt told me to leave if I was unable to pay rent. I left her house with my bags, not knowing where to go. On the street someone found me and referred me to the home,” said Makhasana.

She said she was warmly welcomed by the Nelukau family.

Isaac Muhatsi (16) said he used to live at the home but is now with foster parents.

“I was ordered to leave the home in August 2016 because the home is good for girls only. I had to leave and stay with my foster parents. Life there is not good. They have no love for me. I so wish I could come back and stay here at the home full time. Because there is love and care here,” said Muhatsi.

Muhatsi said he always visits the home during the school holidays.

“When I am supposed to go back to my foster parents, it becomes difficult,” he said.

Nobuhle Dube, the social worker from the Department of Social Welfare, said she started working at the home in 2013.

“The Department of Social Welfare and the police are dumping children here at the home and never look back to help with food. Nelukau is the one who suffered the most because she has to do everything by herself.

“There are children who were brought in by social welfare here who Nelukau fed from her own pocket. Others died here and she buried them out of her own pocket without being assisted by anyone,” said Dube.

Dube said she would like the Department of Social Welfare to help the home because they are desperate.

Zama Sithole, a neighbour, said she started volunteering at the home in 2015.

“I saw that Nelukau was taking care of so many children alone. I felt the need to help, even though I am unemployed myself. I help with ironing clothes. I also bathe, dress and spoon-feed young children before they go to school,” said Sithole.

Lizzy Mofokeng, another neighbour and board member of the centre, said she doesn’t expect to be paid for her services at the home.

“I can only afford to offer my time. I help to hand-wash children’s clothes and also to do cooking,” said Mofokeng.

Frederick Zungu , another neighbour, said he has known Nelukau since before she started the home.

“I do garden maintenance and repair of everything in the home. I do everything voluntarily because I have love for kids. I help those male children (physically challenged) who are unable to do things for themselves, like Jabulani Shabalala, who is in a wheelchair.

“I help by bathing and dressing them,” said Zungu.

Nelukau said she spends about R10 000 every month to run the home.

“It becomes difficult to raise that kind of money every month. Sometimes we end up using food that is about to reach its expiry date just because we can’t afford to buy decent food with the money that we manage to raise in particular months,” said Nelukau.

*Note: Real names of the orphans have been withheld from publication but are known to Kathorus MAIL.

Also Read: Orphanage urgently seeking donations

Aaron Damane

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