The many remarkable women who reach out to care for the orphans in their communities, in spite of having so little themselves, provide the inspiration for Mothers for All and thus embody the spirit of the organisation. Here are a few of their stories.
Catherine Makhubedu, an orphan herself, vowed that she would do everything she could to prevent children from suffering a similar fate.
"Growing up without a mother is growing up with your eyes full of tears every day, but you can’t explain why you are crying. You don’t even know that you are looking for someone to lean on. You need someone who can hug you, catch you and pick you up. But as a child you can’t explain what you are longing for."
Unemployed but determined to help, Catherine started begging for second-hand clothes which she mended, washed and sold to make money to help feed and clothe over 50 orphans whom she had taken under her wing. She also started a charity day-care centre for 25 children under a local thorn tree. Today she and four other full-time volunteer mothers now help to feed, clothe and support 135 orphans and vulnerable children within their district. They also run a day-care centre which is attended by 75 of these children. The organisation is called Re-lebile Kanana, which means 'from disadvantaged to advantaged'.
Catherine can be contacted on +27 83 691 0368 or by writing to PO Box 65, Temba, South Africa 0407
Sister Priscilla Dlamini
Sister Priscilla Dlamini is a Catholic nun and nurse. After starting the 40-bed Holy Cross AIDS hospice in rural KwaZulu-Natal out of some abandoned stables, she could no longer ignore the growing orphan problem in her impoverished community and started an orphan reach programme. The hospice now looks over 1,000 orphans from 500 child-headed households in the area. All of these households are given monthly food parcels. The children are also given help in establishing their own ‘door-sized’ food gardens so that they have fresh vegetables to eat throughout the month. In fact, all the children have to grow these food gardens in order to qualify for assistance. Sr Priscilla also gets them to help out at the hospice with a variety of chores such as sweeping the yard. She adds, “It is important that these children learn self-reliance and do not think that they can sit back and get something for nothing. They need to learn motivation and commitment or they will not survive”. This tough-love policy pays off and most of the older children continue to attend school every day while their younger siblings are collected to attend a crèche that is run at the Holy Cross Hospice. These orphans are lucky enough to have become part of Sr Dlamini’s vision for a brighter future, but she says she will not rest while there are still so many that have no-one watching out for them.