Every child, regardless of their background, should be given an opportunity to receive an education. Children who suffer from severe life-threatening illnesses find it difficult to assimilate to ‘normal’ school environments. They require extra care and attention, and not the disapproving stares of other students. Sizwe Primary School in Edenvale, Johannesburg, has been a sanctuary for children afflicted by Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV, and has been aiding the ill for over 110 years.
Members from Ashraful Uloom paid a visit to the school in early February 2018, bringing with them a few necessities to benefit the kids. They kindly donated a wheelchair which is life-sustaining to some of these chronically-ill children who are too weak to walk on their own. The Marlboro-based NGO also presented the students with new school shoes and a few toys that will certainly lend joy to their days.
The current situation at Sizwe Hospital School, as it’s better known, is dire. The issue of TB and HIV is still a huge taboo in traditional homes, with families refusing to acknowledge the existence of these diseases. As a result, these kids – from as young as a few months old to some in their teens – are dumped at the school, and most have never received any treatment. The conditions in which these vulnerable children are brought in are devastating; some TB-sufferers are multi-drug resistant (MDR) or extensively-drug resistant (XDR). Most of these susceptible adolescents come from poverty-stricken areas and are barely visited by their families due to lack of transportation and funds.
Sizwe Hospital School offers a loving refuge for these children; a place to live, wards to be treated in, food to eat and classrooms to learn in. The school also has psychologists, social workers, an audiologist and occupational therapist on board to assist with medical-related needs. There are currently 12 children of all ages staying on-site; nine girls and three boys.
Principal, Tahira Seedat and school administrator, Glynis Hirschfield attempt to do their best at giving these children optimum care and a quality education. While they are funded by the government, the critical needs of the ailing students exceed the provision that they’re allocated. They accept any form of donation that could better the lives of the children, including fresh food, which is vital to their recovery. Unfortunately, due to the ill health and low immunity of the youngsters, as well as the possible spread of infection, community volunteering is sadly out of the question.
We may have not been familiar with Sizwe Hospital School before, but thanks to the generosity of Ashraful Uloom, we are now aware of their despairing situation. Most kids these days would do anything to skip a day of school. The children of Sizwe Hospital fight with all their strength and will just to have a normal ‘healthy’ school day. We take our hats off to these young survivors who’ve shown us that hope lies in the hearts of small children fighting big battles.
To find out how you can help, contact Glynis Hirschfield on 072 292 6774 / 011 531 4409 or email firstname.lastname@example.org