No story has moved us more than that of a boy named Mhlelisi; A six-year-old special needs child from Vuvulane, a nearby rural community not too far from where the Kudvumisa clinic is located. Mhlelisi’s mother delivered him and his twin brother just 7 months into the pregnancy; with doctors saying there wasn't enough space in her womb for both babies to thrive. As a result, Mhlelisi was born with a combination of disabilities including blindness, being unable to walk as well as autism. His twin brother, however, was born able-bodied.
Mhlelisi is now part of our regular home visits and our nurses Clara and Hlobi have been visiting his family to help with his care and to share support. The family’s livelihood is dependent on his mother's small and informal business of selling food to a nearby bar. She does this every evening, leaving the children with her husband, who is also paralyzed.
When we first met the family, Mhlelisi’s mother broke down in tears, overwhelmed by the exhaustion and sadness of having to take care of her family on her own as her husband cannot work. Sadly, Mhlelisi’s autism doesn't make it any easier, as many with this condition are often very misunderstood; more so in rural communities where information on such conditions is often unattainable. “She feels she has no life of her own and is always exhausted and stressed.” said our nurse Clara, “We are trying our best to give her hope through the word of God and to empower her. We have also assured her of our availability to help where we can, and we’ve made it our mission to help her to understand the world of someone living with autism.”
Unfortunately children with disabilities in communities such as that of Mhlelisi face a number of challenges. These include lack of access to education, Stigma and discrimination as well as Lack of support services as they often do not have access to the support services they need, such as specialized teachers, therapists, and assistive devices. This is why we’re so passionate about bridging the gap. These challenges can make it difficult for children with disabilities to reach their full potential and experience a good quality of life.
Understanding the challenges his family is facing, we would appreciate any form of generosity either through the donation of clothes, food parcels, or money to help make their lives easier. If Mhlelisi’s story has moved you just as much as it did us, visit https://www.kudvumisafoundation.org/donate to share your support.