Help line

Lebo* (18) first phoned Childline’s help line in March 2008. During the counselling process, Lebo revealed that she is blind and faces many difficulties, including rejection and prejudice, in her community. She became a regular caller to the help line and built a close relationship with three of our counselors. While visiting her sick granny at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, Lebo met Lwanda* (7). Severely disabled and suffering from cerebral paralysis, Lwanda is kept locked away in a back room in his parents’ home due to the stigma his illness carries in his community. Understanding what it feels like to be ostracized, Lebo was very concerned about Lwanda’s welfare. His family is under severe strain because of his medical expenses and for reasons unknown, they don’t qualify for a disabled grant. Lebo called the Help line looking for help in securing a wheelchair for Lwanda as his caregiver piggybacks him to church and physiotherapy. Lebo’s plea reached Anette who head’s-up the help line and several weeks later, on Saturday, October 10 an anonymous donor handed over a wheelchair to Lwanda, who was surrounded by his parents, his brother, Lebo, Anette, and the Help line counselors.

*Not his real name