Five-year-old Olwethu and three-year-old Anathi are brother and sister who have come from a broken and abusive home. Their father was never around and their mom, a drug user and alcoholic, never paid attention to them. The children were neglected and lacked the comfort of a safe secure home.
Their plight got the attention of a social worker and they were hospitalised for severe malnutrition for eight months. The social worker made contact with a family member and finally the granny took the children in, even though she could barely make ends meet.
When the children arrived at Future Stars Child Care Centre Kwa-Ngcolosi outside Hillcrest in KZN, they were severely under nourished, scared, and totally withdrawn. Their growth had been stunted due to lack of proper nutrition. Immediately owner, Hlengiwe Msomi put them onto JAM porridge and with just 50 grams a day over the last few months, these children have evolved into strong, assertive, healthy children. They have put on weight and continue to do so as the months pass.
Mama Hlengiwe started Future Stars Child Care Centre in 2009, caring for the vulnerable and abandoned children in her community. JAM’s KZN Regional Coordinator, Jeanette David’s attention was drawn to her in June last year. “I found her passion and commitment to what she does commendable and admirable, I immediately saw how JAM can be of benefit to her organisation,” she says, “I implemented the Nutritional Feeding Program (NFP) within the week of us meeting!”
Olwethu and Anathi participate in class and are bursting with energy. Mama Hlengiwe is also the kids’ Sunday school teacher and she jokes saying that she gets all the complaints from their grandmother about how noisy and talkative and overly playful the children are at home!
It’s stories like these that put the job we do at JAM into perspective, reminding us we are making a difference, we are changing lives and we are contributing in building a better brighter future for vulnerable children in South Africa. You too can contribute to change by committing R360 to feed a child for a year, R30 to feed a child for a month. www.jamsa.co.za