Pinkie* was born in an ambulance in 2002 on the way to hospital, where her mother abandoned her. She was placed at our Maria Kloppers Campus in 2005 and was later moved to our specialist campus in Langlaagte.
“Three years ago I met Pinkie, a low-functioning 14 year old with Down syndrome. Pinkie had a fear of climbing up and down a flight of stairs. She would burst out in screams and I would look on helplessly. She could not communicate effectively and was unable to explain what was wrong. I could not console or reassure her”, says Pinkie’s Social Worker, Lu-Juan Esterhuizen.
Until recently, Pinkie would only interact or talk with her Barbie dolls and housemother. She could spend endless hours a day, sitting in a corner with her dolls. Pinkie had a strong bond with her housemother, tannie Mary Jonker, who had worked at Abraham Kriel for 30+ years. They were inseparable – wherever you saw Pinkie, tannie Mary was right there beside her. Tannie Mary has since retired and Pinkie had to be moved to another house on the Langlaagte campus; a move that changed young Pinkie’s life forever.
Pinkie has gone from a shy withdrawn child to being the center of attention. She dances, plays and interacts with her sisters. She attends a special needs school and seems to be enjoying it very much. Although she is not able to do much at school, she clearly understands her teachers. Pinkie is a hard worker and although her school work is not always 100%, her housemother and social worker are always motivating and encouraging her. “Pinkie has come out of her shell and it is beautiful to watch”, says housemother Gladys Lecholo. “She sometimes gives us a hard time but she is such a joy to be around. She is outspoken and will put you in your place if she feels that you are out of line. She doesn’t play with her dolls that much anymore. I guess she has found a sense of belonging”, adds Lu-Juan. Pinkie is about ready to go out into the adult world, but will still remain in a protected environment.
It takes a village to raise a child – an African proverb. Abraham Kriel Bambanani is such a village, but YOU, as the donor have given Pinkie the opportunity to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Without your support, Pinkie’s story may have had a different ending. Pinkie is unique and there will never again be a child like her, but there are many more special and unique children that rely on your ongoing kindness and care.
*Not her real name