Friday, May 11, 2012

"You raise me up" script in English and Português

"You raise me up" script in English and Português
Sung by Aled Jones

Slideshow - song "You Raise Me Up" - Aled Jones

Canção "Tu Me Levantas"

Lyrics in English:

When I am down and oh my soul so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
And I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit a while with me

There is no life, no life without its hunger
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
But when you come and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

And I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

Em português:

Tu me levantas

Quando eu estou abatido e minha alma tão cansada
Quando os problemas vêm e meu coração fica carregado
E eu estou imóvel e espero aqui em silêncio
Até Tu vires e sentares um pouco comigo

Não há vida, vida sem anseio
Cada coração inquieto bate tão imperfeitamente
Mas quando Tu vens e eu fico cheio de admiração
Às vezes penso que vislumbro a eternidade

Tu me ergues para que eu possa ficar sobre as montanhas
Tu me levantas para eu andar sobre mares tempestuosos
Eu sou forte quando estou em Teus ombros
Tu me ergues acima do que eu posso ser

E eu estou imóvel e espero aqui em silêncio
Até Tu vires e sentar-se um pouco comigo
Tu me ergues para que eu possa ficar sobre as montanhas
Tu me levantas para eu andar sobre mares tempestuosos
Eu sou forte quando estou em Teus ombros
Tu me ergues para mais do que eu posso ser

How is the righteousness of God revealed to Christians?

Romans 1:16-17 (ESV)

[16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [17] For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

You Are My Hiding Place / As The Deer

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
(Psalm 32:7 ESV)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.(Psalm 56:3 ESV)
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
(Psalm 42:1 ESV)
As the deer pants for the water,
So my soul longs after You.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You.

You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You.

I want You more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy-giver
And the apple of my eye.

You're my Friend and You are my Brother,
Even though You are a King.
I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything.
Psalm 42 (ESV)

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
[2] My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When shall I come and appear before God? [3] My tears have been my food
day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
[4] These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
[5] Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, [6] my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
[7] Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves have gone over me.
[8] By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
[9] I say to God, my rock: “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
[10] As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”

[11] Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Lead Me, Lord by Samuel Wesley

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety...
...Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me."
(Psalm 4:8, 5:8 ESV)

473. Lead Me, Lord

Text: Psalms 5:8, 4:8
Music: Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Tune: ---, Meter: Irr.

Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness;
make thy way plain before my face.

For it is thou, Lord, thou, Lord only,
that makest me dwell in safety.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Alice's* story

The personal experiences of Alice* as a refugee.
Permission granted to publish this information on this blog. This information is the copyright of 1 of 8 / 1 de 8 ninos please do not copy.

Introduction; about my people

Alice's written words:
The person who facing on poverty such as war, flooding, abuse, homeless, civil conflict, political strife natural disaster or gross human rights abuses so they become a migrant people. Refugee people who from Burma are such as, Karen, Chin and Karenni are almost facing a war.

They have to leave their home to be escape or safe them life because of the Burmese soldier burn them house, take them money or animals. The most important things are if Burmese soldiers see Karen people or Karenni, they will killed them and abuse the women and children as well. Sometimes Karen soldier and Burmese people are fighting so Karen people have to leave their place and run away to another country.

How I became a refugee and came to Australia

Interviewer: Tell me about your experience as a refugee…

Alice: “I became a refuge because of the Burmese soldiers burn my my village and kill my people so my family and me we have to run away to escape with [from] the Burmese soldiers. Then we have become a refuge people in Thailand refugee camp, because of the war. I can come to stay in Australia, you know, because of the government give opportunities for us to come. We have to fill in the forms and we have to write about ourselves and government sign it for us and we allowed to come in Australia.”

Settling in Australia

Interviewer: Would you tell me about how you settled in Australia…

Alice: “When I live in Thai refugee camp we not aloud to go anywhere we want to go, you know, because we are not Thai people and we don’t have ID card. If you go to Thailand you must have ID card, it’s like a passport, you know. If you don’t have a ID card or passport when police see you they can arrest you an’ put you in a prisons. If you don’t want to stay in prison you have to pay a fine. In Thailand refugee camp we didn’t study English a lot because we don’t have enough money to spend to learn English. Like, a student who graduate year twelve they cannot speak English. So if we continue stay Thailand our life is not improve and it’s difficult to find a job. Because of this reason my family decided to come in Australia.”

Interviewer: Did you feel isolated from friends and being part of the Australian culture when you first arrived and how has that improved?

Alice: “When we first arrive in Australia we feel scared to start our life in Australia because, you know, we cannot speak English, we don’t know how or where to go anywhere, we don’t know how to buy the things in shop, you know, then we don’t know how to use electric (like cooking, watch movie). When I live in Australia maybe three months I feel better and I believe myself that I can go and do everything like other people do. And then my education, I can speak English a little bit.”

Experience with friend/s or relative/s who are refugee/s.

Interviewer: Would you tell me about a friend or relative who became a refugee?

Alice: “One of my Uncle, when he work in the farm the Burmese soldiers come to catch him and kill him directly. And Burmese soldiers abuse his daughter. So his daughter and wife have to run away and become a refugee people in Thailand. Only one reason Karen people become refugee is because of the war Burmese soldiers hate Karen people an’ if they see any Karen people anywhere they kill all the persons.”

*Name changed for confidentiality reasons

The Story of Akoko*

The story of Akoko* and her experience with a friend settling in Australia as a refugee.
Permission granted to publish this information on this blog. This information is the copyright of 1 of 8 / 1 de 8 ninos please do not copy.

Experience with friend/s or relative/s who are refugee/s.

Interviewer: Would you tell me about a friend or relative who became a refugee?

Akoko: “I have a friend, who’s a refugee. She had just arrived [in Australia] and a new student. We met at primary school back in the days and yeah, we became good friends after all an’ we share our personal experience and background. She said she came to Australia because she wanted a better education and future and she just wanna have a safe place to settle in ‘cause there was a ware back in that country [Liberia]. Before that the came here because someone wanted to kill their whole family and they were wanted. Because back then they thought they had money and everything, they were rich so like, yeah, they were actually wanted that’s why they came here. And I don’t think they wanna go back because if they go someone might still want them and kill them.”

*Name changed for confidentiality reasons.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The LORD is my Father! (selected Psalms)

The LORD is my Father! (selected Psalms)

Psalm 68:5   Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

Psalm 89:26  He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’

Psalm 103:13  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Scripture taken 28-04-2012 from the ESV bible at

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Patience in suffering (James 5:7-12 ESV)

[7] Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. [8] You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. [9] Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. [10] As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. [11] Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. [12] But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Praise the Lord, for the darkness cannot contain you

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.
- God, Psalm 139 in the bible

I have been going through a period of deep thoughtfulness and sadness in dealing with things in my life and family situations. It has surely felt like the 'darkness' has been trying to hide me. Unfortunately I have been using aviodence stratagies (something I learned about for Community Services this week) and have realised that I need to 'wake up' and seek God's face and bravely face my hardships head on instead of trying to aviod the pain of confrontation. Please pray with me that I will see the 'light' as it says in Psalm 139 "...the night will shine like the day, for the darkness is light to you". I wonder? Does that mean this is only how God sees our lives or do we sometimes get a measure of his viewpoint and 'glory' on earth as we long to be closer to His presence walking with Him, waiting on Him, searching His ways, and obeying Him even when or if it hurts? Any ideas or comments on this?

May the Lord bless all who read this. It is my prayer that you would continue to "search the Lord while He is still near", and "draw near to Him so He may draw near to you" and if you haven't started doing this already that Christ's love and compassion would set you on a quest to find the One who desires you to be closer to Him.

Psalm 139

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. 1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.
 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand—
   when I awake, I am still with you.
 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
   Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
   your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
   and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
   I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.
  1. Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Monday, April 2, 2012

Support available for choosing life...

"I believe that life is more precious than money will ever be able to be" 

So don't abort your baby to keep your job or peer pressure your girlfriend, spouse or daughter to do so, it is murder.

Why is it murder?
 " Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And this is nothing but murder.

A great many different motives may lead to an action of this kind; indeed in cases where it is an act of despair, performed in circumstances of extreme human or economic destitution and misery, the guilt may often lie rather with the community than with the individual. Precisely in this connection money may conceal many a wanton deed, while the poor man’s more reluctant lapse may far more easily be disclosed.

All these considerations must no doubt have a quite decisive influence on our personal and pastoral attitude towards the person concerned, but they cannot in any way alter the fact of murder."

(Quoted in Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 472, )

'Bonhoeffer on Abortion'

Consider your (and your relatives) Mental Health...
"Often presenting as a cocktail of self-destructive behaviours, relationship problems and replacement pregnancies,abortion trauma is a serious mental health issue that health professionals are routinely dealing with, but for reasons both political and related to the trauma itself, it is not being recognised.

Learn more......and you never know......the one you help, may be one of your own."
- Abortion grief & pregnancy crisis

What can friends do?
‎"What can friends do?
It’s nerve-racking to figure out the right thing to do or to say when your friend is facing an unplanned pregnancy. But the most meaningful way you can support her is simply to be there.

Keep calm.
Suggest help.
Let your friend speak when she wants, and calmly listen. She will be grateful for an open ear as she processes her emotions and the difficult choices ahead of her.You, however, might rapidly feel overwhelmed if you’re her only resource. Remember that Option Line is available any time, day or night. We offer free, caring and confidential help and can quickly connect your friend to the local assistance she needs."
- Retrieved from
 ‎800-712-HELP Option Line

What can guys do?
"If you think your partner might be pregnant, you are probably worried and scared too. Try to be sensitive and remember it’s not all about you.

Let her know she's not alone.Remember, it's not all about you.Ask for help.Try to clear your mind so that you can calmly listen to what she is saying and try to understand her feelings. Gather information about your options, and talk to family and friends you trust. Option Line is also here to listen, and to provide caring, free and confidential help to both of you."
- Retrieved from
 ‎800-712-HELP Option Line

What can family do?
"It can be shocking to find out that your daughter, niece, sister, granddaughter or cousin is pregnant. And once the shock wears off, you’ll probably experience a wide range of emotions. But this life-changing experience is an opportunity for you to make a huge difference in the life of someone you love.

Encourage her dreams. Research pregnancy help centers. Make sure she's healthy. Try to set aside your feelings so you can truly hear what your family member is saying. Observe her emotional and physical health as pregnancy affects her. Remind her that this is not the end of her future. You can be a positive voice for her dreams, even if those dreams are changing."
- Retrieved from
 ‎800-712-HELP Option Line

Your family does not need to face this situation alone.
"Option Line can connect you to a local pregnancy center that provides many helpful services for free."
Retrieved from
‎For help phone:
Option Line at

Need Help? ...Support Available for those living in Queensland:
 "Need a little help? Plenty of organisations exist to help you in your time of need."
- Cherish Life Queensland' (Quote retrieved from )
Priceless Life Centre Inc (24 Hours)
Brisbane: 3219 4288
OR 1300 363 550
Country: 1800 090 777 

Pregnancy Counselling Link
Ph: 1800 777 690

Pregnancy Crisis Inc
Ph: 1300 777 777

Abortion Grief Counselling (24 Hours)
Ph: 1300 363 550
  • Need a little help? Life Queensland all life is special cherish it - not abortion. Formerly ...See more
Need Help? ...Support Available for those living in Australia or internationally:

If you need support in pregnancy parenting (mothering or fathering) just ask me or someone you know can help that you trust , I’ve got some website links...)

1300 363 550
Abortion grief & pregnancy crisis
Abortion Grief Australia Inc
"abortion trauma is a serious mental health issue that health professionals are..." See more

Option Line
 Option Line
"If you are wondering whether or not you’re pregnant, your mind is probably racing..." See more 

Website Links:

LIFE | Caring for mothers, children and young families
"LIFE provides help and support to thousands of women and men each year, with free..." See more

Heartbeat International - Holding Each Life Precious

‎'Reclaiming Fatherhood, A Multifaceted Examination of Men Dealing with Abortion'
contact us (email):
"There is some recent research from Canada that might shed some insight into why men do have feelings about abortion losses."
Men And Abortion : Home

Fatherhood Forever

"Excellent resource for men dealing with abortion loss and those who care for them. From the web site: The truth that men have been ignored in the abortion issue has only recently been realized, even within the pro-life movement. And for many men, the idea of speaking out about their feelings can be quite intimidating. If you are a man who has been struggling with the emotions of a past abortion experience, then you've come to the right place. Fatherhood Forever Foundation, Inc. was created to address the issue of abortion and men and to provide inspiration and restoration to these forgotten fathers. We are accomplishing this by creating public awareness to the fact that men are hurt by abortion, by providing men with the resources and tools necessary to heal, and by encouraging and assisting other organizations to address this issue." for more information see

Site gathering research data on the impact of abortion. List of helpful links.
for more information see

"National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing. Section on aftermath in men."
 for more information see

"Web site of Tom Golden on Crisis, Grief and Healing. This author is an expert in masculine grief and the web site offers many types of support and information. Tom spoke at the first conference on men dealing with abortion. He is a grief expert dealing with everyone. The web site has a Place to Honor Grief where people can write and post about a loved on lost." For more information see

Resource for materials dealing with other father losses, like miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, child loss from illness or accident or coping with sick children or infants. Also many resources for grief of all types. They also have a Remembrance Book that allows parents to memorialize lost children.

Visit Site

**Please note that is a pro-choice site. The author (Dr. Shostak) did some of the very early research on men after abortion, but this is a very confusing site which seems to support the need for abortion. It may not be helpful to the man who is suffering after an abortion loss. Men have told me they find it very confusing.

*If we have missed any outreaches, we apologize. Please share the information with us so we can continue to augment this list."Retrieved from

 'Abortion Legal Support; Assistance for Woman Harmed by Abortion'
TELEPHONE: 1800 768 833 to speak with a member of our qualified staff.
Calls are free and confidential.

Abortion Legal Support
Supporting women who have been unfairly injured by abortion

Saturday, March 24, 2012

'For every storm, a rainbow'; An Irish Blessing

For every storm, a rainbowAn Irish Wedding Blessing
May God give you...

For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer .


For every storm, a rainbow

Retrieved from

Sunday, March 18, 2012

"...By the grace of God, I will do" by John Farese

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do." - John Farese

"...O that God would make us dangerous!" By Jim Elliot

"We are so utterly ordinary, so commonplace, while we profess to know a Power the Twentieth Century does not reckon with. But we are "harmless," and therefore unharmed. We are spiritual pacifists, non-militants, conscientious objectors in this battle-to-the-death with principalities and powers in high places. Meekness must be had for contact with men, but brass, outspoken boldness is required to take part in the comradeship of the Cross. We are "sideliners" -- coaching and criticizing the real wrestlers while content to sit by and leave the enemies of God unchallenged. The world cannot hate us, we are too much like its own. Oh that God would make us dangerous!"

- Jim Elliot ( )

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Please pray for these children (especially at Easter)

Most of all...
~ Thank you for your prayers! ~
Please let me know if you would like to give an Easter donation to Boanerges Deaf Initiative Boanerges Deaf Initiative is a non-Governmental, non-profit making registered Christian organization that was established to provide basic services to the deaf people of Uganda. My friend works there and I will ask her if I can pass on the account details if you are interested. Go to the website for more details. 
Pease go their official website and another blog website with more photos at 
  But most of all...
~ Thank you for your prayers! ~

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks to God and please pray for me...

Hi, friends and family!

After hard work phoning, and handing in resumes at many many childcare centre's the whole of this month and finally having several interviews I have finally got a casual relief job, yay! Recently I have worked at two centres as a relief early childhood educator in the Group Leader role so far and for the main centre I go to today was my fourth day. It is in the 3-5's age group (Pre-School) and now that the children are getting more settled with me and are starting to develop some connection with me as a new person at the centre I am starting to really enjoy the challenge of working in that room. I am extremely grateful to God for these things!

For those who follow what I am up to these days and who like to pray for our family please continue to pray that I would get a permanent job so I can start the last bit of my studies as an existing worker on the job. When I have completed this I will have done my Diploma in Children's Services (Early Education and Care 0-12 years). I see my job as a ministry but please also pray that God would give me the grace to be more patient at work during the busy times of the day (there can be anywhere between 14 and 22 children in the room for the 3-5's age group at one time) and that when I come home tired for work I would also be patient and kind with my family.

I appreciate your prayers or thoughts! May God richly bless you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The 30 second orphan rate in South Africa and "I'll Stand By You" sung by Carrie Underwood

"I'll Stand By You" sung by Carrie Underwood 
Every 30 seconds a child in South Africa is orphaned due to AIDS

Note for parent's of younger viewers: This video clip has a scene that shows children visiting the graveyard of a family member or friend and also one that includes a grown man lying in bed suffering from AIDS. Please do not let your children watch until you have previewed this video yourself.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Photographs - My 20th Birthday, October 2010

Opening Presents:

Blowing out my candles:
"Will there be any candles left over? How many boyfriend's do you have? None? Phew!"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Give me eyes so that I may see...

Check out this slide I created of the Unakho Children's Home, it's really cool! I will be presenting it tomorrow in class with the 'Brandon Heath Give  Me Your Eyes lyrics' as background music for the topic 'Advocate for  the Rights and Needs of Children and Young People - My Early Childhood  Passion Is...' Can you guess? Yes, that's right! South Africa's many  orphans. Did you know South Africa has the highest HIV rate in the  world?

 Please put this music from YouTube on as I have not yet figured out how I can embed the music in the slide. Please also read the story or article below and give me feedback whether it is clear enough or brings across the point I want (as I am hoping to use it for the October fundraiser if it is good enough), thanks! If you have any editing suggestions please paste it into word insert the suggestions in bold or highlight and email it to me, thanks heaps!

P.S. You might be interested to know that the word Unakho means 'God can' .

My Early Childhood Passion is:
Doing Ubunto (see definition below introduction) by Raising Awareness for the Many Orphaned or Abandoned Children Effected Either Directly or Indirectly by HIV in South Africa. 

More commonly mentioned is the fourth stage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection being AIDS (that is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Not only is Aids a killer, but unknown to many people a person can die from various common illnesses if they have HIV because their immune system does not work properly. Having the highest recorderd rate of HIV infection per population, South Africa is the number one country concerning this issue.

“What is ubuntu?”

“The Zulu word "ubuntu" translates roughly as "humanity towards others". But it means much more than this. The spiritual foundation of African societies, ubuntu involves a belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all of humanity, a unifying worldview best captured by the Zulu maxim umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu - "a person is a person through other persons".    ”
Read more:

“Hang on how, on earth does this affect the early childhood environment?” you say.

My response is very easy; just close your eyes and listen to this very real story. Although made up, it is modelled after the reality of thousands of children in South Africa. I’ve first decided to tell you a story to help you understand how this relates to the early childhood environment in South Africa instead of blasting out the many statistics right at the beginning as it is just as easy for you to read or look up the statistics at a later time.

So here goes… but don’t forget to close your eyes or look at the wall and…

“Imagine that a few years ago you were a child living in 2009 and both your parents were one of the estimated 310,000 people in South Africa that died to infections related to HIV (not including those alive with HIV related infections). I say ‘related’, because due to HIV being a virus that affects the immune system, a person can more easily die from things such as the flue or pneumonia but the underlying cause still being that the person was not able to recover because his or her immune system was not strong enough.

Now imagine that your parent’s died within 6 months of each other. You then had to move off the land where your home was, without you or any of your relatives receiving any of the benefits from the sale of the land because your parents did not realise that they needed to write details like this in their will or maybe they didn’t even know what a will was. You had Gogo (the word you use for Grandmother) who took you in. Since Gogo had so many other ‘children’ (grandchildren) that she was looking after who were orphaned too, you are grateful for her taking you in, but it makes you feel a bit bad.”

“Why?” you simply ask blinking out of the story. “Well, now let me explain, just remember this is potentially ‘for real’ story…”

“…Since you came to live at your Gogo’s place, she has had to share the already bare minimum out with you as well rather than buying more to feed the family. Despite Gogo’s cheerful attitude, you can’t help but feel like you should blame yourself, at least a little bit, for the fact that meals are slightly smaller than they were before. So when a man who is a stranger to you, but has had contact with your Gogo, offers to take you to the children’s home that he works at, your Gogo is grateful for the help. Although she finds it hard to part with you Gogo knows all too well it will be for your best. You not only will be provided with adequate food, nutrition and clothing but you will be given a workbook or two, pencils and school supplies to take with to school and use for your homework. Although this might seem like basic necessities, to you it is the most wonderful gift ever.

After two house ‘parents’ from the children’s home come to pick you up and spend most of the day visiting, talking and getting to know you; your Grandmother, or ‘Gogo’ as you call her, breaks down in tears when they eventually start walking out the door. It is just too much for your beloved Gogo to hold back the feelings inside of her. Hugging and kissing you, her precious grandchild of seven years, she reminds you and the house ‘parents’ from the children’s home to visit as often as time will allow. Gogo reminds you for the tenth time to work hard at your homework while, for your sake, she makes vain attempts to hold back the both sad and happy tears mingling down her chocolate brown cheeks. Your loving Gogo is both sad to part with you and overjoyed that at least one of her precious grandchildren will have, not only what she considers necessities that she is able to provide, but also what she considers ‘bonuses’ or ‘extra necessities’ that many other people in the world would consider everyday necessities. To your Gogo necessities are things like two meals a day and what she considers bonuses or in other words things that she scrapes, scrimps and saves in order to at least provide a little of these luxuries for her many ‘children’ or grandchildren are items such as more than one pair of clothes (which means a warm winter), pencils, a workbook or two and other homework supplies, and of course clean water and three meals a day including a protein meal for every day of the week. So now; hear you are in 2011 a healthy child of nine years old and you have been at the children’s home for two years. You also sometimes wonder how your family is doing and what it would be like to live with them, but you know that Gogo is too poor to look after you sufficiently and so even though you  would like to see her more often you are happy with what you have got.

Then one day your house ‘parents’ have an idea. Why not invite Gogo as a house ‘mother’ to help them look after the other children and in return Gogo’s many ‘children’ or grandchildren may live with her, only this time they will be provided with the same benefits the other orphans at the children’s homes have. You are extremely excited over this idea and happily agree to go with your house ‘parents’ to visit Gogo as they discuss this matter over with her. In two months you have to still pinch yourself to check whether all these things are real; living with your Gogo and seeing your cousins every day, knowing that they have enough to eat daily, clean water and yes even enough paper and pencils to do homework!

Further details…

Heavily mentioned in this article is the amount of orphans due to HIV related issues but it is worth remembering and noting that not all children orphaned for this reason have contracted HIV themselves and many, many more children in South Africa are orphaned for other reasons such as loss of employment, poverty, limited employment opportunities for the uneducated, limited employment opportunities for mothers who were not educated past primary school, Zimbabwe refugee issues such as job shortage amongst South Africans due to Xenophobia (which means fear of other races or tribes) and the fact that Zimbabweans work harder than the majority of South Africans, abandonment (not always due to rejection of the child but sometimes also due to poverty as many mothers think that ‘it is better that the child is cared for adequately’).

Besides the orphans in the country who are orphaned or abandoned due to issues such as poverty that are unrelated to HIV, unbelievable scores of children are left destitute due to either both their parents dying or their mother dying and their father is unable to provide for his children. This is because in many families in South Africa it is part of the long upheld traditional culture for the men to have various wives or partners without the often rejected practice of using condoms which are often thought of as part of the practice of the ‘white man’s medicine’ or ‘white man’s ways’. ‘How could a poor man, like me, be expected to provide financially for all my offspring if I have had so many partners?’ is how many men must think.

Despite raising awareness through knowledge for the plight of these children (especially for providing financially for those who are in children’s homes) being my passion, I never cease to be completely bowled over at the statistics every time I look up the numbers. Although I have only had a brief time to introduce you to this topic, I hope that you will be interested enough to read the hand-out later in your own time that I have provided for you.

Also please put your name down if you are interested in coming to my fundraising birthday party in October (it will be on a weekend so won’t clash with our practical work). All are welcome to come! Also just to let you know no one is obliged to donate any money as the idea is just that no one will give me birthday presents but rather only if they want to they may donate to Unakho children’s home in South Africa. Although not all children at Unakho were orphaned due to HIV related issues, Unakho has many children who were and some of them have also contracted HIV from their mothers.

Please also let me know if you would like a disk with photographs, video clips and more information regarding both Unakho children’s home and South African orphans.

For more information go to references used:

Definition of HIV                          

Clean water - a basic human right  

What is ubuntu?                          

HIV and AIDS in South Africa      

The Different Stages of HIV Infection