Dear adolescent and caregiver

Allow me to share my story with you. At the age of ten, my mother closed her eyes and left this earth due to kidney failure. At the age of 11, I became “n Ouma kind”. Financially life became too expensive for her to take care of me let alone I never knew who my father was. Therefore, when my mother passed searching for my father was not an option because he could be anybody. That’s when my application was approved, and my grandmother received support from SASSA.

Caregivers, let me tell you that although services were satisfactory the road wasn’t easy. Early mornings standing in a cue to be assisted hungry and in desperate need but in the end, it’s worth it. DON’T GIVE UP, KEEP ON TRYING. There was a time my grandmother felt discouraged because she applied for full legal rights regarding me, and the process seemed to be delayed. But it was our people, people like yourself who encouraged her to keep the case open and do inquiries regarding the process. Sometimes people would look at her and tell her that she’s not old simply because she looked good for her age. They would go as far as to suggest she finds work to help ease her financial problems.

At that point we were two mourning hearts trying to meet the bare minimum to survive. The journey to obtaining legal guardianship eats on you from the inside out. Because no one understands your struggle and even if you explain it to them the world shows no sympathy or empathy for you. BUT KEEP GOING YOUR BREAKTHROUGH IS CLOSER THAN YOUR THINK IT IS. Because it’s during those moments of struggling that you realize the strength you behold in your hands if you just keep pushing forward.

Adolescent, I see you I understand what you are facing not just are you trying to fit into the schooling system as an ordinary learner but in society, you are preventing all measures at cost to be labeled as the “SASSA CHILD”. Let me tell you that you are unique and a diamond. I had the opportunity to attend a leadership program through Badisa Tygerberg administered by a mentor from Brightstar. She reminded us that diamonds are made through compressing a rock. Life has its pressures, but you can choose to be a diamond. You can shine as bright as you want to and make informed decisions about your life do not choose the easy way out and get yourself involved in harmful substances or even people for that matter. Just because you are less fortunate doesn’t make you less than others. There are opportunities for you out there to know your worth and don’t let anyone else define you for being you. Be proud of who you are and where you come from. Be grateful for your struggles because it will only make you stronger. GET YOUR CONFIDENCE BACK. I’ve been through the same process you are going through. I became the Headgirl of my high school you could do it too. I was fortunate enough to study at the University of the Western Cape. It is my final year, and I will be bagging a whole degree at the age of 20. Omdat die SASSA kind het dit gemaak deur God se genade, daarom praat ek met jou. Jou toekoms is in jou hande en moet nie toelaat dat anders jou afkraak oor jou swaarkry nie. Jy is spesiaal.

In the same breath, I would like to thank the social workers of the Badisa Tygerberg branch who assisted myself and my grandmother through this process. You have surely made an unpleasant situation more bearable. You have showed me that not all kindness and hope is lost in this brutal world. May God strength you in continuing helping others.

Yours sincerely