|Carryou Ministry Programme Manager, Brenda Naholo, outside the shack they built for Daniel.|
Daniel and his nine year-old sister lived in the bush on the outskirts of Randfontein with their father, who was unemployed and severely ill, as his HIV-positive status progressed to full-blown AIDS.
His body was covered in sores and he grew weaker every day, as his children struggled to care for him. When news of the family's plight reached the nearby community, a plan was made to get them into a shack where, at least they would have some protection from the elements. It was by no means Hollywood but was a rudimentary roof over their heads.
But life was still no picnic for Daniel and his little sister, as they struggled to care for their dying father and had to rely on hand-outs to keep them alive. A little while later their father died and, like thousands of other AIDS orphans in South Africa at the time, the kids were left to fend for themselves.
One day, while Daniel was away, a neighbour raped the little girl, leaving her traumatised and deeply emotionally-scarred.
"We got to hear of their situation and immediately decided to do something," says Brenda Naholo, Programme Manager at Carryou Ministry. "The little girl was moved to a children's home and we bought everything needed to build a new shack for Daniel, in the Elandsvlei informal settlement near the Carryou Drop-in Centre.
"That way he is able to get food every day, get help with school homework and receive the care that a 14 year-old boy needs.
|Carryou Ministry staff members and the Elandsvlei community begin the building of Daniel's shack.|
There can be no doubt, Daniel is far better off than he's ever been in his young life but he's been left scarred and hurt and is struggling to adjust.
"He's not doing well at school and says he no longer wants to attend school," says Brenda. "Though we make sure he sees his sister regularly, he is battling to come to terms with being separated from her. But we are going to make sure he doesn't fall through the cracks."
Because Daniel is a minor, we are prohibited by South African law from identifying him or showing him in photographs. This story is however, 100% true! No one really knows for sure how many child-headed households there are in South Africa. Some studies have put the number in the tens of thousands. But, according to Brenda, since the government introduced a monthly cash grant for families that take care of orphans, the situation has improved significantly.
|Five orphans are cared for in this shack.|