The founder of Molweni Zimele, Bongi Miya, was moved to provide support for her sister’s physically and mentally disabled child, Ncamisile. In 1997, Ncamisile was 12 years old and had nowhere to go while her mom was at work. Bongi decided to take care of her and invited others to join. “I knew there were a number of children and adults in the area with disabilities who didn’t have caregivers as well as the opportunity to learn a skill and socialise,’’ explains Bongi.
Word spread and before Bongi knew it, she was caring for six children in her garage. She joined the Community Forum in the area and presented a motivation to use the Counsellor’s office for her ever-expanding care centre. In 2002, Mr Strydom, the Counsellor at the time organised three potential properties for her to use and Bongi chose the current location. In 2013 Bongi received a grant from Lottery and expanded the school by building a classroom and a toilet block and renovating the existing building.
She was joined by Zama Zulu in 2017 and the care centre can now take up to 68 children and adults. “Our pupils range from 4 to 44 years old,’’ explains Zama. “It is difficult for adults to integrate into society if they are severely handicapped so coming to the school and participating in sewing, beading and gardening is the best place for them to be.’’
The pupils are collected from Molweni, Kwangcolosi and Kwangetho in the morning and dropped back in the afternoon. They receive a cooked meal at lunchtime and are given food parcels to take home. Many are living in child-headed or Gogo-headed households and so the food parcel is their only source of food for the family. They are grateful to Food Forward for their regular donations and to NCT Forestry who donated seeds and garden equipment through Community Chest. The vegetables grown in their garden are used for these daily meals and food parcels.
Currently, the biggest expense for the care centre is petrol and maintenance on their minibus. As a result, they are not purchasing fabric and beads to create products to sell as income generation. If you are able to donate fabric, beads or funds to cover this, please phone Fadeela on 031 303 3890 or email email@example.com. Any donation would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks to Bongi and Zama, Molweni Zimele, is a safe haven for those in the area living with physical and mental disabilities, and it is a huge relief to their families who know that they are being properly cared for and stimulated.