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Lisa* was a lovely young mother of three when a gang of males decided to have their ‘fun’ with her and set about raping her for what seemed like hours. Her tears and screams did not stop them from continuing to have their enjoyment. Inevitably their crime resulted in a pregnancy. Nine months later Precious* was born.
Joyce Sebogodi, the lead carer at Ethembeni Children’s Home related the tragic stories of Precious and little Faith*. When precious was born, Lisa felt no love for the baby girl. She didn’t even want to look at her or hold her. She wanted to give her to someone who could love her as she could not. Understandably, she was still traumatised by the gang-rape. Her child would always be a reminder of that day.
Precious arrived at Ethembeni when she was only four weeks old and was immediately hospitalized: she had a massive growth on the side of her head which even deformed part of her face. The growth was removed and at six months she is now a thriving, healthy and happy baby. “We all love her very dearly,” Joyce claimed triumphantly.
“In November 2018 another distressed mother abandoned her new-born baby, Faith,” Joyce continued. “Her mother had abandoned her in the hospital where she was born, having shown no interest in her whatsoever, even refusing to feed or bath the wee mite.” Two months after her rescue, Faith started getting boils all over her tiny body – even on her head. Then she developed a nappy rash which turned into blisters! Even the hospitals doctor’s were puzzled as they had never seen anything like it. After numerous different courses of antibiotics she has healed and is now crawling and trying to walk and talk. “Soon she’ll be ready for our toddler section,” stated Joyce proudly.
Ethembeni, situated in a quiet corner of Doorfontein in Johannesburg, is home to 60 little ones from new-borns to four-year-olds. The name means ‘hope’ – which it is always full of. It’s easy to understand why Ethembeni brings prospects of a bright future into so many tiny hearts and why these little ones love Joyce and the rest of the staff. No child in the world asks to be born unwanted or unloved. The warmth and affection they get from our staff will be the closest most of them will ever come to having a real-life mommy and it’s nothing short of wonderful what the love of a mommy kind of person can do in the life of a little girl or boy.
The home works closely with child welfare. Many have been cruelly abandoned – in fields, toilets, shopping malls and on street corners. Many in the Home are fostered or adopted, strictly to rule to ensure that adoptive and foster parents are suitable.
*Please note: all the names in these stories have been changed to protect identities.