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Gloria Bodibe was at home one weekday in the late nineties when a knock on her door changed the course of her life. The knocker was there to see her son – a football coach. When Gloria told him that her son wasn’t home, the boy’s eyes shot full of tears.
Her son had been giving him money for lunch, he explained. Without it, he wouldn’t be having a meal today.
Gloria – or Tony, to friends – had a tough upbringing herself, and knows what hunger feels like. So she gave the boy money for lunch and told him to come back the next day with his parents.
Though it is easy to ignore hardship when it isn’t knocking on your door, turning away from it when it stands on your doorsteps with tears in its eyes is impossible. Gloria ended up helping the boy’s struggling family back onto their feet.
From there on, her home in the Tshaiwelo district of Soweto became a haven for the hungry and hopeless. These days, Gloria has a team of 36 staff members, which includes social workers, counsellors, and caregivers.
Tsogang Sechaba – wake up nation. Because Soweto, in all of its vibrant beauty, needs to wake up and heal itself, Gloria says.
Their aim is threefold: They want to support Soweto’s children holistically; they want to strengthen the family unit as a provider of care, and they want to provide awareness of HIV and support to those who suffer from it.
By feeding students from 10 of Soweto’s schools and helping them with homework, by providing counselling and guidance to their caregivers, and by creating widespread awareness of HIV/AIDS, Tsogang Sechaba Community Project is changing Soweto from the ground up.
Despite a quarterly Social Development grant, the team often struggles to make ends meet. The number of Sowetan families in need is growing, and Gloria does not turn the hungry away.
Photographer: Sakhile Dlamini from Quality on Demand Photography | Voice Artist: Thulisa Mayalo | Writer: Ané Breytenbach
Type of Cause:Children and Youth, Community, Counselling, Education, HIV/Aids