Embracing Zenande

May 15, 2024 | blog

In the heart of one of the villages where GCF operates resides Mrs Khumalo and her family. On a warm, sunny afternoon, we visit her to talk about her foster care journey.

Driven by a desire to make a difference in children’s lives, Mrs Khumalo who was working as a nurse at a local hospital at the time, reached out to us after meeting a neighbour who was already one of our active foster parents. Mrs Khumalo commends the organisation for moulding and training her and like-minded people who share a passion for helping children. “We gained knowledge. I have used what I learned and it has been very useful. I feel lucky.”

She fetches a photo album and smiles broadly when she flips through the pages to find photos from the school holiday when Zenande became a part of their family. Timid and close to tears, the boy arrived from a nearby children’s home. He received a warm welcome and the grandchildren Mrs Khumalo cared for made it easier for him to adjust. He was included in activities and outings and gradually found his place among them. When the time came for the boy to return to the children’s home, Mrs Khumalo and her now late husband agreed to welcome Zenande into their family on a more permanent basis. Mrs Khumalo remembers how her, now late, husband told their relatives “This is my child now, never exclude him” and they have followed his instructions since.

When asked where her love for others comes from, Mrs Khumalo explains that it did not come naturally to her in her younger years. She had a difficult upbringing with her grandmother, who did not treat her well. But, a short time when she lived elsewhere as a teenager with a family who included her and made her feel as if she belonged made her heart soft and she learned to love.

Today, Zenande is an adult, working as a supervisor in a shop in town, dreaming of buying land to build his own house. Despite some challenges along the way, he is fully included in the family and will always have a place with them. The young man hopes to meet his biological family somewhere in the future but has not had any contact with them since he was found wandering, lost, looking for relatives as a young boy.

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