Sunlight Safe House

Tebogo - 9 years old.

Tebogo, meaning Gift in his native Tswana language, came into the SSH when he was just 3 months old from the Johannesburg General Hospital where he had been abandoned by his mother who took him there after his father had hit him with a beer bottle.  He had 36 stitches across his fontanel.

We prayed that he would return to his spiritual home recognizing that his pathway on earth would be a very troubled one with possible brain damage.

He was placed with our mother, Cindy whose love for children and practical mothering skills is phenomenal.  She nurtured him with the best possible care: medical assessments, speech therapy, occupational therapy and ongoing investigations and therapies to ensure he had the best possible chance in life.

Tebogo is now a lively young boy and the apple of his mother’s eye.  Cindy took him to the Cape Flats to his foster home’s family of origin for a holiday.  He returned speaking language that got him into serious trouble with his Sunday school teacher, but he passed grade 3 and the miracle of his life has been a gift to all of us.

Themba (14 years old)

We estimated that Themba was 2 years old when the police brought her to Childline Gauteng on a very cold winter night after having found her in a park in Hillbrow, her tiny body, a mass of bruises and cigarette burns.  Our hearts broke when she was diagnosed HIV+ but Themba’s heart and inner strength blossomed with the love she received from our Sunlight Safe Home mother. Today she is a happy teenager who has just passed primary school and is doing her first year of high school.  Her SSH parents have applied to adopt her and this will be a very happy ending of Themba’s life story.

Thando (15 years old)

Thando (meaning Love in Zulu) was 4 years old when she came to our SSH after being raped by a community member in the informal settlement where she lived.  Her parents were unable to protect her and we believe that her father took money from the perpetrator to not to open a criminal case.  Both parents have subsequently passed away and she remains the favourite child in her SSH home. Thando was diagnosed as HIV+ but our prayers were answered when she sero-converted and is now negative.  She is in grade 8 and is winning awards for her most beautiful singing voice which brings joy to us all.

Thuto (aged 12)

Thuto (Learning) first arrived at the age of 7 having been found living in a railway coach after he ran away from home.  He was a fully fledged street child at the time and found our homely atmosphere too difficult to manage and he ran away from SSH.  We implemented an extensive hunt for him and he was found back in the train siding. We managed to reunite him with her maternal grandmother where he stayed for a few months, before he ran away from her, back to SSH.  He came back as a partially trained Sangoma and only stayed for a little while before running away again.  He returned a while later, in trouble with the law.  This time he remained with us, for 3 years now and despite the fact that he is a very mischievous young boy, he has stablised in the SSH, plays soccer and in currently in grade 7, now a reborn Christian.

Themba (Hope) 17 & Mandla (Strength) 18

Themba and Mandla were abducted from their homes when they were still infants and abused by their abductor who forced them to beg on street corners, do all the house hold chores and sexually violated them regularly.  Whilst in the process of stealing another child, he was caught by the SA Police Service. The children were brought to SSH and the toddler was reunited with his mother immediately.  Extensive searches for their biological families have been completely fruitless and the boys have remained with us.  Themba caused great concern when he started abusing substances in an attempt to deal with his emotional pain. A programme of support has helped him back onto the straight and narrow pathway.  Mandla is a quiet young man, who prefers to stay at home but has shown great maturity in supporting his younger SSH brother. 
Lebone (Light) 6 years old

Arrived at the SSH just 1 day old, abandoned in a carrier bag in the inner city Johannesburg public restrooms.  The umbilical cord was still visible on this beautiful little boy.  He was placed in care immediately and has been adopted by his new (SSH) family in 2010 who fought to keep her child in SA rather than allow him to be sent to a family in Finland which was considered.  The SSH family had no children of their own and Lebone has brought much love and light into their lives.

Victoria (aged 13)

Vicky was found by the SA Police Service alone at home in a flat in the CBD at the age of 5 bleeding profusely from her vagina.  She was medically examined and immediately admitted to Charlotte Maxexe Johannesburg Hospital for reconstructive surgery where she had to return for numerous operations.  When she was 10 years old she insisted on knowing her history and was taken back to the hospital to assist her to come to terms with her life story.  Today she is a beautiful young girl who enjoys school, but still shows signs of her trauma.

All names have been changed to protect their identity.