“I will miss walking to Rocky Street to buy amagwinya (vetkoek) for you girls; the family beds we begged aunty Esther to have; the iingedo (game played with stones) we played under the tree and the endless hide and seek games we played in the evenings”. These are the memories shared and cherished by Catherine (20), a young lady YOU helped raise.
Eight years ago, an anxious 12 year old, was moved from the Emdeni Drop-in Centre programme in Soweto to the Maria Kloppers campus in Observatory. The transition was not easy for her. “One could always see the hurt in Catherine’s eyes as well as the longing for her family. She was a loner and did not really engage in any conversation”, says Ernesta Snyman-Teessen – manager at the campus. Although reserved, Catherine showed a lot of potential and was focused and committed to her school work. When a child shows potential, our job as Abraham Kriel Bambanani is to make sure that potential is developed and nurtured. That was the case with Catherine and with your help, Ernesta was able to gain access to resources that helped develop her language and mathematical skills. With that, she gained confidence and did well at school.
Catherine’s commitment and focus in her school work has paid off. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor’s degree in Education at the University of Johannesburg. The second year student is thriving in her studies, so much so that she has been elected as a mentor for the first year students. Ernesta is not surprised at Catherine’s academic progress and her choice of career. “The one thing I can say about Catherine is that she really cares about others. She is always willing to help and always took care of the smaller children in the house. She was always the housemother’s right hand and big sister to the rest of the girls. Her ability to negotiate for special privileges is also worth mentioning. She was always able to justify why she should get special treatment”, shares Ernesta.
Catherine’s education is funded by NFSAS and the Phumelela Trust. The Phumelela Trust is 100% behind Catherine and has funded her with R25 000 towards her studies this year and are so proud to see how she develops into a dedicated educator.
At our recent Turkey Festival celebration, Catherine stood proudly at the podium and spoke of how Maria Kloppers was the place she called home. A place where she gained sisters, brothers, friends, mothers… a family that accepted her for who she was and never judged her by her background. “I have made memories with all of you that I will cherish forever. We have all grown to become individuals but we still remain a unit. So many events have taught me the true meaning of love and sacrificing. Thank you for accepting me. I love you and your pretty faces will forever be engraved in my heart” – Catherine.
Dear donor, you’ve done well with helping to raise Catherine. Dylan, Emma, Thandi and Sipho still need YOU. They know no other form of love, care, warmth and sense of belonging to a family other than the one they have at the Maria Kloppers campus. Thank you for being an anchor of hope to our children. That is what family is about.