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My Million To One Charity

The Young People

When I was first asked to help the disabled community by providing a home in Swaziland, there were 8 abandoned/orphaned disabled children and adults living in Mbabane Government Hospital.  Whilst establishing MMTO Swapsies, it became apparent that the adults were too conditioned within their current environment to benefit from being removed to an actual home of their own: we would be doing more harm than good.

 

There are 2 of the original youngsters there - Siphiwe and Mzolisi - who are still young enough to be fostered into the Swapsies Home.  I have also visited St Joseph's disabled school in Swaziland where they are experiencing the serious problem of youngsters being dropped off for school and never picked up again: they have become a rather involuntary home and are urgently looking for spaces to take them.  I would foster 6 of their young dependents (or alternatively any teenagers who might be abandoned at Mbabane Government Hospital in the time it takes to raise the funds) who are in most urgent need as soon as the home is built.  

 

Youngsters adopted by the Swapsies home will be between 16 - 30 so that they will safely benefit & not suffer from the move.  They will inhabit the home for the rest of their lives, to be secure in the knowledge that they will always have a home.

Since most (if not all) of the youngsters may be suffering from ill health due to neglect in their early lives - as well as mental/physical disabilities - it is tragically possible that they will pass away when in Swapsies care.  Should this happen (after an appropriate period for the Swapsies family to adjust to their changed circumstances) another age appropriate disabled person in need will be housed.

The Swapsies home will run for many, many years to come, always offering a home, healthcare, community & happiness to 8 inhabitants, for as long into the foreseeable future as possible.

THEIR STORIES...

A Wonderful Youngster in Need

Siphiwe (23 years)

 

Suspected down syndrome.  Club feet & mute.  She was abandoned on a bus: whoever was with her got off and left her behind to be found by the driver at the end of the bus journey.

 

[Needs special new shoes & a new school uniform urgently.]

Mxolisi (15 years - 16 at least by time of Swapsies home)

 

Cerebral Palsy - Sits on a blanket and rocks.  Spends most of his life in his wheelchair even though rehabilitation would help his physical well being enormously.

A Wonderful Youngster in Need

A Wonderful Youngster in Need

A Wonderful Youngster in Need

A Wonderful Youngster in Need

A Wonderful Youngster in Need

(The stories detailed above are true stories and represent the circumstances of the young people very well but the names and ages listed have been changed to protect the identities of those young people for whom MMTO Swapsies will soon - very soon I hope - build a home.  Whilst 2 youngsters will definitely be fostered into the home, the other 6 youngsters will be fostered from St Josephs Disabled School, dependent on the most urgent cases when the Swapsies home is built.  St Josephs have ended up housing a lot of disabled children whose parents dropped them off and then never picked them up and they are desperate for a safe home for as many of their children as possible.  The images have also been blurred and mixed with photographs of some local volunteers to further help prevent recognition.   It might seem a strange step to take but it has been very carefully considered based on my time spent in the area and on advice from various legal and social parties there.  Please read on to find out more...

 

There are a few reasons for such discretion.  ONE of the most important reasons is to respect the privacy & dignity of those I want to help.  In a society where fundraising adverts are full of close ups on suffering children this may seem a ridiculous whim - people do want to see where their donations are going after all - but having worked in human rights documentaries and other programme making for most of my career, I have seen the exploitation of vulnerable people and I don't think that I have a right to do the same.  I have since been convinced that protecting the identities of these 8 people is right because - as the SLC Centre in Swaziland told me, who foster abandoned children & follow the same policy - "You wouldn't want your life story publicised for all to see.  You have the right to tell the people who are important to you as they come into your life.  The children we look after deserve the same dignity."

 

ANOTHER equally important reason is for their own personal safety, at least until they are officially fostered.  They are already very vulnerable and situated in places with no security measures and if it was popularly known that they were due financial aid, there is a very real possibility that they could be harmed by those jealous of their potential good fortune.)