Tumelo Home for disabled kids struggling to carry on
Orina Thindisa, a pastor and the founder of Tumelo Home, introduced her charges to Sowetan's Lindi Obose when the Mama Angel team arrived. And one of the children, Khensani, demanded a hug from Mama Angel herself.
Sowetan was at Tumelo to donate food and other goodies to the only home that cares for the disabled children of Tembisa and the neighbouring Ivory Park squatter camp.
The home looks after 35 disabled children who have a surprising love of life and often get into mischief.
The home was founded in the early 1990s by Thindisa, the pastor of the Ivory Park Christian Fellowship Church.
"My husband, Dr Moses Thindisa, saw many people applying for grants for their disabled children.
"The parents told him that they locked their children in the house during the day while they went to work," Thindisa said.
"Neighbours were tired of helping the kids because disabled children need a lot of attention."
The Thindisas opened a day-care centre for the children. Then social workers and the police started to leave abandoned children with them.
"We had to hurriedly find a granny to stay with the children overnight.
"We gave the children names, assessed their ages and obtained court orders so that we could act as their guardians," Thindisa said.
The home receives donations from the public and some of the children receive grants. But it struggles to survive because the parents who dump their children at Tumelo keep the grant money.
"The children suffer because the youngsters who give birth to them are in denial. They do not believe they are blessed with such a child," Thindisa said.
The Gauteng Department of social Welfare subsidises the home and it has received corporate help in building its premises.