Street kid receives huge gift

Welcoming Owethu Mlilo (second from right) at Kabelo Primary School in Katlehong. From left: Rev Kellinah Khumalo of The Alliance Church of South Africa, Jabu Hadebe the principal of Kabelo Primary School and Nomusa Dlamini, Mlilo's teacher.

A good Samaritan, Rev Kellinah Khumalo of The Alliance Church in South Africa, came in time to save his life.

Owethu Mlilo (13), whose home country is Swaziland, spent every day roaming the streets of Katlehong. Now he has finally found a school – Kabelo Primary School.

He arrived in South Africa three years ago to stay with his mother who eventually disappeared and left him at home.

Khumalo said ever since his mother left him in Hillbrow he has been roaming the streets not knowing what to do with his life.

“His passport expired a long time ago and he has no birth certificates either. I began to notice in the middle of 2016 that the poor child was not attending school and was always on the streets while other children were at school.

“I decided to do something about it. I sorted out his passport issues and is now in the process of getting him birth certificates,” said Khumalo.

She said she bought him a school uniform with the help of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC).

“NLC funds my non-profit organisation – God Commanded Ravens. With the help I got from them I helped Mlilo and other needy children in the community,” said Khumalo.

She said it wasn’t easy to find a school for Mlilo to attend.

“I went to different schools but failed at many schools. It isn’t that they didn’t want to help him but they had problems with his registration as a citizen of this country,” said Khumalo.

She thanked the principal of Kabelo Primary School, Jabu Hadebe, for giving her child, as she calls Mlilo, a chance to learn at this school.

Mlilo told Kathorus MAIL that he was afraid at first.

“I am so excited and at the same time, I was afraid to come to school as I didn’t know how other learners were going to welcome me. But I eased up eventually as time went on,” said Mlilo.

He said he can’t thank Khumalo and the school enough for this opportunity of a lifetime.

“I saw myself as a child whose future is not bright and that my dream of becoming a teacher was slowly declining right in front of me. But the school and Reverend Khumalo restored my dreams,” said an excited Mlilo.

Hadebe said no child is supposed to be on the streets.

“For a child to be on the streets there must be a problem that is beyond everyone’s control. The issue regarding the childbirth registration is a minor issue that should not stop a child from going to school,” said Hadebe.

She said the first time she spoke to Mlilo she thought he was going to be a problem.

“The first time he talked to me his hands were in his pockets. I told him you don’t speak to an adult like that. He immediately removed his hands from his pockets.

“Then I realised that he is a good child that needs guidance,” Hadebe reflects.

What Hadebe liked most about Mlilo is that “he is full of life and puts on a smile when he talks”.

Aaron Damane

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