Ayanda Sfundo Dlamini lives with his mum, Prudence Dlamini in the Madoni squatter community on the outskirts of Osindisweni near Verulam in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Dlaminis’ small shack is constructed out of mud and pieces of used timber and built on uneven ground. This one-roomed home is used for everything – cooking, eating and sleeping. The shack has little ventilation, trapping the fumes from cooking on an open fire. The home has no electricity, sanitation or running water. When it rains, the roof leaks severely. The Dlaminis are surrounded by families in similarly built shacks.
The sight, sounds and smell of Madoni squatter community are a living picture of poverty and hardship. The people who live here are sad and drawn, a clear reflection of the struggles they endure daily. Many have taken to consuming crudely distilled alcohol to help them hide from the harsh realities of life and to provide temporary relief to physical pain.
Prudence tries her best to eke out a living by doing odd jobs in the neighbourhood. Working long hours is a strain for her as she is HIV Positive.
Despite the depressing reality of life at home, Prudence sees a brighter future for her son, Ayanda, thanks to the care that he receives at Crossroads Educare Centre. Most of his day is spent in a safe, clean and wholesome environment, wearing a warm uniform in winter and a cool one in summer. His teachers are laying down a strong pre-school foundation for him.
Thanks to JAM SA’s partnership with Crossroads, Ayanda Dlamini lives with hope. He knows that he will have a meal of JAM porridge every morning. His teacher says that since being introduced to JAM porridge, Ayanda has so much more energy and life. He is happier and more attentive in class. He has more energy in the playground and is better adjusted with his friends.
For Ayanda and the 44 000 other beneficiaries of JAM SA’s Nutritional Feeding programme, a little Red Bowl of hope is all it takes.