Case Study: The gift of belonging
20 May 2015
Asive Mbokotyana is a bright, energetic young girl who dreams of becoming a teacher. But despite her love of books and reading, attending her local primary school had become a painful experience for the shy nine-year-old.
Orphaned when she was only a few months old, Asive is being raised by an ailing grandfather who struggles to make ends meet on a small government pension. As a result, Asive has not been able to afford a school uniform for the past few years.
Going to school looking looking different from the other children caused her to become increasingly withdrawn and isolated, says DWF Community Health Outreach Worker Zanele Mkwenkwe.
“She loves school, but it was hard for her to go because she felt so different from everyone else,” she says. “It was important for her to get a uniform so that she could feel like she belongs there.”
Asive is one of the hundreds of children in the Mbovana region of the former Transkei who is being supported by the Donald Woods Foundation through its Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) programme.
In addition to kitting her out in a brand new uniform, Zanele has also been working closely with the girl’s grandfather, Mqhuma Mbokotyan, to access a foster care grant with which to better meet Asive’s material needs.
“We assisted in in applying for the grand, and today the family is in a much better position as a result of that extra money,” Zanele said.
When the DWF team visited Asive at her hut in May 2015, the girl was beaming, proudly showing off her uniform. “I am very happy,” she said shyly, through an interpreter. “I feel right now.”