From squatter camp to private school to awards

Oct 20, 2021 | Stories of Hope

10 years ago I met a 4 year old shy, angry and physically abused little boy with a drunk aggressive mother.

About 10 years ago I met a 4 year old shy, angry and physically abused little boy with a drunk aggressive mother. *Pete’s mother would abuse him when she got drunk and this time she burned him with a candle. This has not been the first time she did such a cruel thing.

We tried to help the mother with parental guidance and enrolled *Pete in our new pre-primary school. He was the first child enrolled. His mother tried to cooperate but struggled with her alcohol addiction. Three years later she passed away and her family wanted to take *Pete back to Lesotho to look after sheep on the farm. He was such a bright little boy and cried he did not know these people and wanted to stay with his stepfather who cared for him since he was small.

*Pete was placed in his stepfather’s foster care and he stayed in school. Foster care with the stepfather went well until he became ill, *Pete had to be moved. One of his teachers was very fond of him and applied for foster care. It was a difficult road and the child struggled to get used to a ‘normal’ home and family. He ran away back to the squatter camp. He rejected the family, he physically attacked the foster mother and he was angry at me the social worker.

The foster parents refused to give up. Five years later I received this message from the foster mother. Email from a prestigious private high school. “*Pete is being acknowledged in today’s Assembly, as it is a senior Assembly and be awarded the trophy in the next junior Assembly, however, he is receiving this trophy for the outstanding speech he wrote as a contribution to our BLOOM Campaign for Public Speaking. Having only started at our school this year I was so impressed to see the strong values, maturity and integrity this young man has shown and I feel that he is one of the most deserving recipients of this award. I would like to congratulate him on this achievement. Kind Regards’’ The foster mother’s words: “If maybe you thought miracles don’t happen anymore!”