"Family stories"

These are just some of the stories brought to us by our learners.

For safety and privacy reasons we are not sharing their photos or names, but to understand their need we are sharing their stories. (We are telling the stories the way the learners shared it with us. So sometimes there are some grammatical errors. Please read it with compassion. These stories are often out of the perspective of the children who cannot be held accountable for their parents' actions.)

When you read these stories you will also find out how special our students are. They don't care if it is a South African that needs a special Christmas or a foreigner, they only see a family in need and wish to help them. We are so proud of our learners. They are good people. They even went so far as to find out the shoe sizes of everyone in the family, as well as their ages and what they wish for under the Christmas tree. Believing we are going to hit our target with the sweepstake and really be able to help these families. Their trust and faith are something to behold. It truly humbles me to have been given the privilige to be part of their journey in life. Jacqueline

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The M Family

The M Family consists of five people. The Gogo (grandmother), three grandchildren and a mother. Gogo cannot work anymore and the mother cannot find work. They live off grant money. Gogo has swollen feet, she has sugar diabetes and she cannot walk anymore. They all live in a one-room shack in the squatter camp with no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing. They live in one of the Germiston squatter camps. The grandchildren find this time of the year the most difficult, and gogo and mom finds it hard that they cannot promise the kids a good Christmas.
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The Family of Four

I met a family of four. Originally from Maputo. They stay in a small shack, on land they are renting. Only the husband is the breadwinner.
The family have went/experienced so many tribulations, during the lockdown and even now. Where they were living they got evicted and the husband lost his job and no one is earning. To add on top, they do not have ID for them to receive food parcels help.
The wife said they came here to better their life,  but you can imagine how hard their life is as a foreigner in a foreign land with no ID and no money to get the ID.
The husband was retrenched from work and the wife does people's hair for survival of money.
The family stays in Graceland
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The Story of K's Family

In K's family there are 8 members of which is a mother and her children and also one granddaughter. They live in a RDP house. In that house there is no one who is working, as the mother got retrenched during lockdown. However, they survive with SASSA money of four children. They live in Tembisa.  K is very sad and say she don't like Christmas, because she will be hungry and never get a present. She wants school things for Christmas.
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The Mb Family.


I went to visit the Mb family in extension ___ in Germiston. When I got there I found a lady with her two kids.
The young one is still at school, she is the last born. They are surviving from the money the father sent when he can and the mother is also making money from recycling of tins and bottles. That is what they are living off. The oldest has been looking for work, but there is no work for her.q
They live in a small room behind some ones house and have to pay rent to stay there. The mother says she makes enough to pay rent, but they have to stay there as it is safer for her children than living in the squatter camp.
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The Z Family

I went to the Z M Family in Katlehong and met the family. A family of 8 members, there are 6 boys and 2 girls. There are not parents in the house and the children look after each other. They live in a shack they built themselves. And only one member of the family is a breadwinner, others survive on piece jobs, and during lock down there was no work for them.  Some of them are still studying or going to school. There is very little in their house and they will not have any Christmas as the money is used to survive every day.
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The 7 Family

I met a family of seven people who live in a house for four people. They are both parents and five children, three girls and two boys. The father work a garden boy and the mother works to clean people's house three times a week. And on weekends wash and iron people's clothes. The five children are all in school. This family is the Z family. Life become hard for them as now it is Covid people lost their jobs and the Z family are one of them. Life become hard for them as they now have no work and no money. They live in extension ____ in Germiston. The children do not have things for school and the father said he is sad as he cannot give them food every day and he cannot give them Christmas. Before Covid they lived good.
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M's Family

M is an unemployed mother who has 4 kids. But one of the kids passed away in June or July. The deceased baby was born in May 2020, unfortunately he lived only 2 months. M could not get help from the hospital because the baby was not sick from Covid. The father of the children has abandoned them and does not give them money. I do not know why he left and why he does not help, maybe he also lost his job during Covid. M is currently living with her 2 kids who are still schooling around town. She is unemployed and does odd jobs sometimes. Her kids get child support grants which helps her with groceries and other necessities. They live in extension ___ Germiston in a room.
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The Mp Family

The Mp Family is a mother and her two daughters. They are struggling because all of them are not working, there is no income at all. Their mother wakes up every morning and make fatcakes to sell to make some money. She could not sell anything during Covid as nobody went to work and walked past her stall on the road. They do not have any family members who can send them money every month. They live in Katlehong and life is very hard for them.
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The Grandparents Family

I went to another family in our community. I found that there was no one working. There are 4 family members, one grandfather and one grandmother and also two grandchildren. One is the girl and one is the boy.
They are not working. They are old, they have old pension and the social grants for the grandchildren to pay rent, feed themselves and to clothe themselves. The grandmother cried when I talked to her. She did not tell me where her children are and why she is looking after the grandchildren. Maybe they have AIDS or they lost their job.
The children asked me if I can bring them a present for Christmas. The boy wants a car and the girl a dolly.
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Moloi's Family

The Moloi Family have been suffering for a long time. Since they scam their house and they have been renting ever since. They are a family of 4. It is a granny of 77 and she stays with her grandchildren who are twins, a boy and a girl of 18 years. Their mom left them at a young age and she is smoking drugs, whenever she shows up she steals something and she also beats up the granny. The twin girl gave birth at a young age of 15, she has a boy child. The shack they are staying in is too small for them all. They stay in Katlehong and they depend on social grants. The boy has been looking for work, but he cannot get a job, especially now that it is Covid.
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Family of 8

I went to a family of eight people, which include gogo, her children and grandchildren. No one is working there, they only survive by the grant money.  They live in a shack where there is rain falling, they don't sleep. Lots of time they sleep with empty stomachs. They are very poor. Thye live in extension ___ Boksburg. Gog says that the children had jobs before March, but now they don't have jobs anymore. The grandchildren are still in school, but sometimes they cannot go to school as there is no money for taxi or they are sick because they are hungry. The place their shack is, they have to pay R150 rent every month. The boys try for piece jobs, but there is a lot of people sitting on the corner for the job.
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Ndebele Family

I met a family of three in Benoni. They are from Zimbabwe and came here looking for job. They are Ndebele's and their family is Moyo. M is the single mother and she has a daughter and a son. The mother is no longer working, and life has become hard for them. She lost her job in May. And the kids are not even getting social grants, and the son must go to a private school because she cannot get him into a public school because he is from Zimbabwe. When she can't pay school fees, her son will be sent back home. So they really need the Christmas lunch more than us.
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FM Family

I went to visit a family in Soweto, extension ___. FM is a breadwinner and lives with his daughter (3 years) and his girlfriend (wife), they are both unemployed.
They live in a small shack (shelter) without electricity, water and most of the basic needs and wants are scarce for them. However, for a living, FM washes up in the morning and hustle for the family by picking up bottles for recycling. FM says he really wants to give his daughter a nice Christmas, she is so young to understand why he cannot give her presents like they see in the flyers on the street.

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The Mo Family

I met a family of five members, they are called the Mo family. They live in extension ___ in Germiston. There is a grandmother, grandchildren (two of them, a boy and a girl), they are a sister and a brother. The grandmother's children, a sister and a brother, are unemployed. The grandmother is also unemployed. They are living with the grant of the grandchildren. They are looking for work, but sometimes they don't have the money to pay for the transport to go and look for the work. Sometimes, they go hungry and it is hard to keep the children in school, because they cannot buy the stationery and clothes.
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Struggling Family

I went walking around to speak to families and find out what is happening in my community. I live in an Indian area. As I walked I found a family consisting of 5 people, they are all unemployed. They depend on their mother's grant and since they lost their father, things at home are unpleasant. Hopefully, the struggle to get to the top never stops. There are 3 brothers and 2 sisters, the one sister is married and the smaller sister has one child, a daughter.
They have been looking and some of them had jobs, but the economy meant they lost their income and now it is very hard to find a job.
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b's Family

In B's family there is a young couple that are suffering to survive. Thye have two kids, a four years old girl and a newborn boy. The couple is not working, the father goes out every day to try and find work, but he is not lucky to find anything. They live on SASSA money to survive and life is not easy on them. They live in Matausi. They did not plan the 2nd child, but they could not get the medicine at the clinic one month and then the baby came. They are really battling and don't know how they can give a Christmas to their little daughter.
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Esther's story

She stays alone. She is a gogo and every holiday her grandchildren come and stay with her when the school is finished. It is saver for them to come to her during the holidays. This coming holiday she will not have any food to share with her grandchildren because of the Covid pandemic. Before the Covid, she used to go to church and they would give her food and clothes, but now she cannot go to church anymore. This Christmas lunch would help her a lot and her grandchildren can look forward to getting something for Christmas.
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A&S's struggle

A family of 4 people, a grandfather, grandmother and two brothers.
These two young brothers live with their grandparents. They are still doing their studies at a nearby high school. These two brothers, A & S, struggle to meet their demands,  due to lack of rand to support their family. Most of the time they struggle to get stationery, food and uniform. They only get food parcel from the government, and some months they get nothing. They live in extension ___ in Germiston. The brothers want a cell phone, but they say they need food and stationery more for the holiday and school.
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Gogo and her 3 grandchildren

I found a family in extension ___ in Germiston. It is a grandmother of 68 who care for her three grandchildren. They are 7, 14 & 1 years old. The grandmother is not working and the children's parents have passed away. They survive from the children's grant to buy food. They also collect bottles and tins from the street to get more money, so that they can have enough food. The grandmother says it is very difficult to keep the children in the school, as she does not have the money for their taxi or their books, but they must go to school to learn and find good jobs.
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A student's family "adopts" this family

I found a family that I would love to invite to the Christmas lunch.
It is a family of six, the husband and wife with their 4 kids.
Only the husband works and he works in Congo. They do not have enough finances to survive on a daily basis.
So I have spotted them before and after talking to them, we as a family have decided to help them once and then with food parcels. The husband and wife are 24 adn 28 and their 4 kids are still small. They are a very loving family and deserve to come to the lunch.
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T's Family

The T Family consists of a father who lives with his two sons and a younger brother. The father is currently unemployed and depends from selling sweets and the social grants of his boys. The older son is 15 years and the younger is 7 years old. The father was so touched when I told him about this project we want to do. He said they would really appreciate any help they can get and this December be happy like other families. His sons deserve to have a good Christmas. This family touched my heart, as it is a father looking after his children and in our culture that is very special.
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Mashudi's Family

Mashudi's family was born in Zimbabwe, and they came to South Africa in 2010. While they were here they lost their father and the same year they lost their daughter, leaving them as a family of two. The daughter and her grandmother were left as a family. The grandmother is 65 years old and the granddaughter is 5 years old. The family needs help because the grandmother does not have a job and she helps other people to clean their house. They must get something to eat and the little girl should get somthing nice for Christmas as she has lost so much in her life already.
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Mankie's Family

This is a family of two. Mankie is 28 years old and has a son of 2 years. They live alone, only the two of them as mother and son. The mother does not work as she was retrenched last year June and has not been able to find a new job yet. Especially this year with Covid. Their only source of income is the special grants which do not cover their expenses. The food that they buy does not last them till the end of the month. They live in a one-room shack. The father has left and does not support his child. The mother wash people's clothes when they ask her, but this year it does not happen a lot. They live in Goodhope Squatter camp and she really wish they could also have a nice Christmas.
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The M Family of 5

In Dukathole, Germiston, we have a family of 5. It is a grandmother of 60 years, a grandfather of 68 years and their three grandchildren aged 14, 12 & 6. The children's parents died and that is why they are now living with their grandparents. They are surviving on the grant money from the children as they are not getting pension because their shack burned down and their IDs burned with the shack. They have been trying to get new IDs but it is hard as they don't have the money to keep on going back to the department and since they have no proof of other documents. They asked for food and clothes for the children, as they cannot afford it. They were so excited when they heard about the lunch and the food parcel and toys for the children. They had tears in their eyes.
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The x Family

The X Family also live in Goodhope is a single mother of 5 children. The family lives in a one-room shack and they survive on the grant money of the children. The mother is unemployed and three of the children are in school. The taxi money for each child is R300 a month and the 2 youngest children are in a creche which she must also pay for every month. She put them in the creche as she goes out every day looking for a job. They have no electricity, so she must buy paraffin to cook their food on and the money is not enough to cover all their expenses. The children always need clothes and things for school, plus it cost her money to take the taxi to look for a job.
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The Z Family

The Z Family has only 4 people in the house. It is the grandmother (55) and three grandchildren (5, 7 & 11) as they were left with her by their mothers who are irresponsible and alcoholics.  They are schooling at a government school and they don't have money for lunch, but they get food at the school. This year they did not go to school much and they did not get the lunch at school. The grandmother is very sick, she has diabetes and has no one to look after her. She always has to wake early in the morning to prepare the children for school. The only income they have is the grant money they have to live off. The grandmother's wish is for food and some nice gifts for the children for Christmas.
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A Family of four boys

This is a family of four boys, two of the boys are still in high school while the other two boys are doing recycling. These four boys lost their parents in a car accident and now they are orphans looking after each other. They stay in Angelo in one small room.
The older brothers make sure that when the younger brothers get home from school that they get them something to eat from the money they make with recycling. The two brothers still in school is of the age of 16 and 17 years. The other two are 24 and 25 years of age. They are really struggling as no one is working and the money they make with recycling is just enough to get something to eat. These brothers have so much responsibility and it would be nice if they can be treated nicely by someone, like our lunch and the food parcels and maybe clothes for Christmas.
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A Family of four

The Z Family has only 4 people in the house. It is the grandmother (55) and three grandchildren (5, 7 & 11) as they were left with her by their mothers who are irresponsible and alcoholics.  They are schooling at a government school and they don't have money for lunch, but they get food at the school. This year they did not go to school much and they did not get the lunch at school. The grandmother is very sick, she has diabetes and has no one to look after her. She always has to wake early in the morning to prepare the children for school. The only income they have is the grant money they have to live off. The grandmother's wish is for food and some nice gifts for the children for Christmas.
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A very special Family

This coloured family has a very hard time. This is a family of three, a mother and her daughter and then the mother also looks after her brother's son, as he passed away. The mother is unemployed and she is an introvert, very shy and find it difficult to get a job. She does piece work jobs here and there to bring in money so they can survive. She also built a shack in the back of the yard where she cuts people's hair to bring in money. She does not get any grants, as she is still sorting out the legal guardianship of the young boy and her daughter is over the age of getting a grant for her. The daughter is very outgoing and wants to take singing and dancing lessons, but the mother cannot afford to give this to her. Reason why I chose this family is because I know the struggles they go through. I know them personally. (The learner's final comment)
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A Family that has a love bond

The family I have identified has five people in the household. Thye live in Germiston in Dukathole, their oldest son is 13 years old while their youngest is 4 years old.
The boyfriend works, though it is difficult for them as he is the only breadwinner. The children, two sons and one daughter, does not suffer from any illness.
Whats interesting with this family is that they love each other a lot, one can easily pick it up from their bonds and love that they share. They are very loving although they don't have much, they try by all means to make ends meet for the sake of their children. I mean, no parents would allow/let their children go to sleep/ bed on an empty stomach. Their story is maybe not as sad as the other stories, but this is a family that really struggles and deserve to be treated to a nice lunch and some gifts for their children on such a special day of the year.
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A heartfelt plea

This is a direct copy of one of our learner's submission for a family in need:
Good day, my name is *Rika
with the project or task given that we have to look for a struggling neighbour to assist and make their lives better this festive, it is really painful to me and I am not sure if it is fine to share this or even if it is ethical. I could not look further as I witness a sister really struggling single mother of three children living the condition and state their in. It is unbearable. I can assure you this is real and heartbreaking as poverty and unemployment does. But with extended hands hope shall be restored.
(* not her real name)
Sister does not necessarily mean a blood relative, but a sister in need. about
"Hands of hope" is people helping where there is real need.
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Baba T's family

I went to Baba T's household. A man who stays in a small shack with his family.  The family has been struggling but ever since Covid 19 hit, things got worse. Mr Baba was the sole breadwinner in his household and the wife used to sell snacks in town. With no sales during lock down there was no money to buy stock to sell, to add on top, Mr Baba was let go where he was working. Mr Baba says sometimes they eat once a day or every other day to save food. Live is a warzone for this family. They just need something to make them believe again that things will go better in 2021.
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A Family with disabilities

This family of four does not qualify for grants and assistance, because they are white. The father and the mother has a disability and have lost their jobs during the lock down. They have two beautiful children with some special educational needs, but with no income this family is really struggling to survive. Thye have been asked to vacate their house as they could not pay the monthly rent and are living with family for now. It is very hard to get sponsorship for this family because they are white and it does not give any company B-BBEE points. In this way, with the income from the sweepstake, it would be possible to donate money to the welfare organisation that has taken them under their wings, without the company losing on B-BBEE points. a win-win all around.
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A white squatter camp

The white squatter camp in Krugersdorp West had been hit really hard by the pandemic. They did not qualify for food parcels, due to their skin colour and many of the initiatives to assist them were blocked by the police. Through the donations we can make to welfare organisations who work in the area, it will be possible to put a smile on the faces of the families who really need it the most. Again a win-win situation all around.

There are many more stories, but if we can assist these families, we can make a real difference to some people. One seed at a time