Different children also blessings

Botshelo Selogilwe

Botshelo Selogilwe

Having a disabled child is regarded as a shame in many families.

They are often hidden and locked away. But to Pastor Orina Thindisa, a disabled child is still a blessing.

After observing the treatment that disabled children go through in their own families, Thindisa decided to open a day-care centre which is now called Tumelo Home for Disabled Children.

The home, opened in 1990, cares for the disabled children of Tembisa and the Ivory Park squatter camp. It is based in Ivory Park, has eight caregivers and looks after 32 children.

Social workers and police started leaving abandoned children with Thindisa.

As the number of disabled children grew, she needed more help with their basic needs.

"We had to find a granny to stay with the children overnight," Thindisa says.

When Mama Angel visited Tumelo Home earlier this year, she donated food and other goodies that the children needed.

Thindisa says: "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.

"He says their neighbours were tired of helping the kids because disabled children need a lot more attention.

"The children suffer because the youngsters who give birth to them are in denial. They do not believe they are blessed when they give birth to such a child. We gave the children names, assessed their ages and obtained court orders so that we could act as their guardians.

"The children need fruit and vegetables. This is the kind of food that will keep their immune systems strong, because most of them are sick," says Thindisa.

The home is subsidised by the Gauteng department of social welfare and also receives help from the corporate sector to improve its premises.

The children receive donations from the public while some of them receive social grants.

The children suffer because the parents, who dump the children at Tumelo, keep the money they receive.