Thembi Shabalala, chairman and house mother of Bambisandla Care Centre, with some of the children.
Thembi Shabalala, chairman and house mother of Bambisandla Care Centre, saw it necessary to open an establishment that sees to the needs of orphans and children in her community who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The mother of four is now a mum to 30 disadvantaged children.
The former community health care worker said she was driven to opening the centre in 2003 after seeing the suffering of children whose parents were critically ill or deceased.
“When I was still a caregiver, it used to really break my heart when I saw a child with sick parents or having no one to take care of them. When I retired, I decided to take in these children and raise them as my own,” she said.
The 65-year-old makes sure that the children are fed and go to school. Shabalala also runs a daycare centre to generate an income since she cannot only rely on sponsors.
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“After I opened the care centre in 2003, I realised that just relying on sponsors wasn’t enough. I decided to run a day care centre to look after children whose parents are at work. The centre helps to generate an income to run to the centre,” said Shabalala.
The centre also runs a soup kitchen for children in the community. “Since we can’t take in all the disadvantaged children in the community, we run a soup kitchen for them,” she said.
Shabalala said some of the challenges she faces are a lack of sponsorships and having to take care of the children alone.