"It felt like some sort of miracle: seeing hope rising on her face like the sun."
When our ECD home mentor started visiting this home in February, the mom explained that she kept her disabled child inside all the time. Having been told that he can't hear or see, won't be able to use his left hand, and will never walk or go to school, she could see no future for him. "When they later gave me exercises to do with him, I didn't even try. If he was not going to improve, what would be the point?"
But our mentor wasn't going to give up. She convinced the mom to bring him outside and dangled keys while pointing out how he turned his head in the direction of the sound. Holding toys from our toy lending library (homes get a new toy bag to use every month including Six Bricks) just out of reach, they saw him reaching out to grab it, even with the hand he almost never uses. For the first time, he tried crawling movements to get closer to a ball that caught his fancy. "I couldn't believe what I was witnessing", said the team leader that joined in the visit. "The child was so excited and happy, and the mom's face just lit up as she realised that her child can do so much more than she'd imagined."
During every visit since, our mentor is blown away by the improvement she sees. This little boy's mom comments:
"Ever since iThemba started visiting me, I could see the difference in my child. Before, I was ashamed to take him to Fundanathis, as I didn't think he would fit in. Now, I take him outside every day. I do exercises, let him feel the grass, we play and I talk to him all the time. When I think about his future now, I think he'll be OK. I've seen that he CAN learn and improve."
This is the point of our work with caregivers in their own homes: to empower caregivers to understand, care for and stimulate their children at home. To bring hope.
Care for Education works with iThemba to support Early Childhood Development (ECD). The above newsletter has been shared with permission from iThemba.