Haven for kids in sad state

Af­ter 25 years, home’s founder still sav­ing lives

Go! & Express - - News - THAN­DEKA NTLONTI

DUNCAN Vil­lage res­i­dent Nonku­l­uleko Maneli, has been run­ning the Enkaz­imul­weni Ncedanani Life Care Cen­tre from her home for the past 25 years.

The cen­tre is home to abused, aban­doned and HIV-af­fected chil­dren.

“Many peo­ple come here, dif­fer­ent peo­ple of all ages come here each day. God di­rects them here be­cause He knows they will find a home and food to eat,” Maneli said.

She said she was only do­ing what God had in­structed her to do, which was to open her home to vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren, pro­vid­ing them with care and sup­port.

The 65-year-old prays that the Lord will grant her more years on this earth so that she can do more.

Chil­dren as young as two days old land up on Maneli’s doorstep, at times brought to her by their strug­gling and des­ti­tute young moth­ers who still need love and guid­ance them­selves.

Maneli said she had taken care of chil­dren who are now mar­ried and have their own fam­i­lies.

“I will not boast about what I have done and what I am still do­ing for th­ese kids be­cause it is what God wants me to do. He or­dered me to do this, there­fore I shall obey. His re­wards to me are price­less,” she said.

The cen­tre, ini­tially a four­room house, was ex­tended in 2009, courtesy of the Ro­tary Club, and is home to 14 chil­dren, with the el­dest in Grade 11.

Maneli said she would love the cen­tre to be ren­o­vated to pro­vide more and bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties for the chil­dren.

When the GO! & Ex­press vis­ited the cen­tre last week, Maneli was busy with her daily house du­ties and the chil­dren were play­ing out­side.

The house needs to be re­painted and the floors need to be re-tiled. In the yard is an old jun­gle gym that the chil­dren showed no in­ter­est in.

“The chil­dren would ap­pre­ci­ate some sort of recre­ational play­ground put up for them. There is just so much I can do with this place if I had the funds, but I know with God in my cor­ner, any­thing is pos­si­ble,” Maneli said.

East Lon­don Child Wel­fare direc­tor, So­raya Leeuw said: “Child Wel­fare has pro­vided a ca­pac­ity-build­ing and men­tor­ship pro­gramme where we as­sist with or­gan­i­sa­tional de­vel­op­ment in terms of pro­cesses and ad­min­is­tra­tion. We also as­sist by redis­tri­bu­tion of dona­tions” for the cen­tre.

A nearby res­i­dent, who did not want to be named said: “What Sis Nkuli [as she is fondly known in the com­mu­nity] is do­ing for th­ese kids is re­mark­able.

“Tak­ing in chil­dren you do not know from the streets and look­ing af­ter them as your own takes a lot of courage. We hope she will con­tinue with the great work she does.”

Pic­ture: DAILY DIS­PATCH FILE/ALAN EA­SON

HOME TO MANY: Nonku­l­uleko Maneli makes use of her very mod­est home to run the Enkaz­imul­weni Ncedanani Life Care Cen­tre that is home to 14 needy chil­dren

Pic­ture: THAN­DEKA NTLONTI

DE­PRESS­ING STATE: This old jun­gle gym is all that the chil­dren at Enkaz­imul­weni Ncedanani Life Care Cen­tre have to play with. The cen­tre was opened 25 years ago by Nonku­l­uleko Maneli to help aban­doned, abused and other vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in im­pov­er­ished Duncan Vil­lage

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