We have been so lucky to be able to pursue our love of making pictures, that we decided it was time to give back something to our community. When I first posted our request to do some work for a charity or NGO, we were inundated with requests from various organisations (many of whom we will be doing work for in amongst our ridiculous wedding schedule). This will be the first story of our series of giving back to our wonderful world and community through our lenses.
When I first heard about Sindy I knew she should be the first recipient of some pictures. Sindy Duma, runs the Tholuthando Childrens Home, by herself. Her home is located not ten minutes from where we live and overlooks the fancy Camelot Estate in Hillcrest. In 2004 Sindy’s sister died tragically leaving behind two young children. She adopted them despite already having two children of her own and their personal financial difficulties. Observing this, the local community began to inundate them with requests for assistance and reports of child abuse and they soon realised that there was a desperate need for a children’s shelter in the area. They approached the authorities and so Tholuthando Children’s Home was founded.
She looks after 45 children between the ages of 10 months and 19 years old by herself! Police and the community come to her and leave neglected and abused kids with her. Only 6 of the children she looks after have government grants, the rest she looks after with donations from people. Every one of these children has suffered abuse, neglect or abandonment at the very hands of those who should have provided them with love and guidance. Sindy treats each child as her own and is committed to providing rehabilitation and education for them, so that they may, one day, enjoy normal productive lives. They encourage the children to participate in school activities and church programs to stimulate and challenge them. They are particularly proud of their Church Youth Choir’s achievements.
Sindy gets up every morning before all her children to make sure they all have breakfast before they go to school, she then by herself makes sure they have lunch made and dinner, all while running the Home, getting supplies and making sure the children have enough love and feel special. In her words, if a child has love and food, they have a chance to have a good life. Sindy is an incredible woman and we were blown away by her warmth and that of her amazing children. They are desperately looking for any help, particularly food donations, but any maintenance work or other donations would be incredibly appreciated.
The girls and boys all have their own spaces which are impeccably neat and clearly filled with love and pride.
Most of these children have no photos of themselves, something most of us take for granted, we decided to do a series of portraits for them which we have printed and will give to them on our next visit to them. Some are quite causal and posed by the kids themselves.
Sindy and her boys. What an incredible group of young men! They were so friendly and positive and full of life!
Sindy and all her kids.
One of Sindy’s youngest babies, Junior had passed away the week before. Both Sindy and some of the little ones wanted a picture with him.
Sindy and her girls.
The incredible lady herself, filled with big smiles and the most amazing warmth.