A day with Kgothatso

A day with Kgothatso

by Olwetu Mafutha

When I first laid my eyes on her,  l saw a typical happy girl child who in spite of her disadvantaged background, is determined to live life to the fullest.

She smiles at me and says “hello sisi (sister)”. The time is just after 7am, but this dark and lovely girl is already at school. It’s clear she has been expecting me. And even before I properly introduce myself to her, she quickly introduces me and my Sponsorship Officer Colleague to her school mates….and in English says to them “These are my visitors from World Vision that I was telling you about”.

She is very excited that she is the one who has been chosen by the ADP to represent her community.

As we walk away from her school, Makgwahleng Secondary, where she is doing grade 10, she shows me hawkers just outside her school yard. “These mothers benefit from WV’s workshops – where they are taught how to run their small businesses, ” says Kgothatso. Adding, their presence nearby is very helpful to them as learners as they no longer have to walk long distances to the shops to buy snacks during break time. “There are so many ugly things happening here. Children are raped and kidnapped, so we are sometimes scared to walk long distances,” she said.

Then a teacher from her school comes and joins us. She then introduces her as her best best teacher and tells us “I have requested that she accompanies me today as I’ll be showing you some of the WV projects here in Meltz (where Kodumela ADP operates)….and I know she will enjoy seeing them too. She loves to help people,”added Kgothatso.

“There are so many things that World Vision has done in our area, you will see, let’s go,” she says.

On our way to visit our first project, we started chatting. I then asked her to tell me about herself. To my surprise this girl has been on her own from a very early stage in life. “My mother never cared about me, it’s my grandmother who has always been there for me, and I’m grateful, because if she was not there, I don’t know where I’ll be today – maybe I would have died”, she says. This time her lighting face has totally changed. She looks very sad, and eventually cries.

“My life has been very difficult. Being abandoned and ignored by your mother is a very difficult thing to deal with – because the feeling stays with you all the time, “ she says with tears.

As she continues with her story, I realise this child has been severely hurt and carries so much disappointment towards her mother – who is currently in a critical condition in hospital.

However, after attempting to commit suicide, she through World Vision’s interventions has now found God and is a dedicated Christian, preaching Hope to other children and even adults.

So we get to our 1st stop – Mamokaile Primary school. Through Kodumela ADP’s relationship with the Cholsey community in the UK, the school principals visited the U.K. to learn amongst other things about the school models used in the UK. The school principal is now using this model at her school to improve the learning skills of pupils especially with regards to Mathematics and English language. As a result of this intervention, the pass rate has increased from 28 % to 58 %. Mamokaile has been receiving awards for being a good example of a school that practices poultry and gardening in the school, all for the benefit of children. “Imagine if many of our school were cooking healthy meals like the one the learners get here – there will be no child going to bed hungry,’ says Kgothatso.

Right after we visited Metz lower primary school. “Children at this school now enjoy clean water both for drinking and washing hands, thanks to Kodumela ADP for donating these fancy water containers, “ she says pointing at them.

“Water is a big problem in this area, but now World Vision has made it all easy. Now children can wash their hands before lunch, and we will have fewer cases of stomach aches amongst the children,” she says.

Also in the school premises there is a bakery women’s group. “Most of the people come here to get their breakfast at a reasonable price,”says Kgothatso. Adding that what she enjoys most from the bakery is the fried potato chips.

The profit made from deep-fried dough, bisuits and fried potato chips, close to ten community memebers are able to put food on the table for their families.

Now it was her favourate part of the day – a visit to Matshangwane lower primary. Her little sister attends at this school and this is also where she did her lower primary schooling. “I love this school, and I know I will always be attached to this school,” she says as we enter the school premises.

After introducing her little sister Miranda to us, she takes us to a 3 classroom block. “These classrooms were built by World Vision. It was the first time our school had proper classrooms..and we were so excited,” she exclaimed. World Vision there after advocated for the building of other classrooms, and now Matshangwane is a big fully operational school.

It is at this school where Kgothatso learnt to speak English. “These were my English teachers, “she says pointing at them. And we eventually take a photo of her with them.Then it was time to visit Moshate drop in centre where Kgothatso gets her lunch and assistance with school work from the care workers. On our way back, we’re unable to cross the bridge. There are road maintenance trucks blocking the road.“These are government workers, they are re-building this bridge. World Vision wrote a letter to the Municipality office telling them it was dangerous for us to cross this river more especially when it rains,” emphasised Kgothatso.

We end our day with a visit to Lafata Project. This is a women’s handwork project where they make beadwork, clothing and shoes. “From the profit they make out of this handwork and selling chickens, our mother here provide food for children who are disadvantaged like me,” she concluded.One thing for sure about Kgothatso, she is a Reporter. I truly enjoyed her community activities report.