A message from Monica

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A message from Monica

Cotlands ceo

I am saddened by all the devastation and despair that took place in our beloved country in recent weeks. It has been a traumatic time for many families and especially for our little ones who may have been exposed to the violent and aggressive acts of protestors. During the protests, there was a video that went viral of a little boy returning from a mall. He was holding a plastic bag containing some clothes, socks, underwear, and a pair of shoes. It pains me to watch a child having to go through this for some of life’s basic needs.

Unfortunately, there are also sad stories of children in our playgroups who are affected by these protests. Njabulo is a 5-year-old child in our Baptist Meadowlands playgroup. On a fateful Tuesday, 13 July, Njabulo had no idea that he would never see his older brother again. The day ended on such a sad note. Njabulo’s parents lost their beloved teenage son, Malusi when crowds stampeded the Ndofaya mall. Njabulo’s parents are in shock and inconsolable. They cannot believe that they will never get to hold or speak to their oldest son ever again. We are saddened by the family’s loss. Through our social worker, we are offering counselling and support to the family. Our playgroup facilitator has also visited the family home to spend time with Njabulo, assisting with play therapy activities to help him talk about what happened and articulate how he is feeling.

Families have also been affected through loss of income. Thembi is four years old and attends the same playgroup as Njabulo. Thembi’s mother Lerato works for a big retailer in Ndofaya Mall in Meadowlands. This week Lerato received a letter from her employer explaining that she would be suspended from work and would not get paid until the retailer re-opened the store and resumed services. These are just some of the many stories that have been so destructive to the lives of the families that we support. What is even more heartbreaking is for young children to witness such terrible scenes of chaos. We are currently assessing how many families need support related to counselling and how many need food parcels to feed their children.

Our goal at Cotlands is to help create a more equal and prosperous society by giving vulnerable children the advantage.

 The irony that these events took place during Mandela month saddens me, however, I think we should continue to think about the great lessons Madiba taught us. Madiba once stated that “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.” These nine days of civil unrest have shown us that we need each other now more than ever. We need to unite and work towards investing and building in a future nation that we can all be proud of. Because of your ongoing support and investment in Cotlands, we can provide support to vulnerable communities and by working together we can help more children break out of the poverty trap by giving them a good grounding in early learning education.
Thank you, once again to our donors and sponsors for helping us prepare our children for a better future.