by Albert Gooding, Kereece Naidoo and Seetsa Kekana
On Monday 18 July, a group of VZLR employees visited the Botshelo Disability Centre in celebration of Mandela Day. The purpose of Mandela Day is to encourage citizens to spend 67 minutes of their time in service to others in need as a token of appreciation for the 67 years Madiba spent fighting for justice, equality, and human rights for all.
Botshelo means ‘life’ and the centre caters specifically for children living with Cerebral Palsy. Throughout the month of July, VZLR employees donated various items – including food, clothes an
d blankets – to assist these special children. One employee also offered to utilise one of his learned skills – cutting hair – to give the kids a fresh cut. The rest of the team decided to get their hands dirty planting vegetables that will one day hopefully grow and multiply.
Upon arrival at the centre, the VZLR team were greeted with beautiful warm smiles, joyful laughter and an abundance of gratitude. Granny, the selfless woman behind the development of the centre, shared her very personal inspiration for starting it – her own daughter.
Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was only 6 months old, she learned to walk at the age of six. Granny decided to enrol her daughter in a normal school, but soon realised that her own denial was detrimental to her daughter’s development. So, armed with the knowledge she gained by caring for her daughter and catering to her specific needs, she opened the centre and named it after her dear daughter.
Looking at what Granny has achieved with how little she had really inspired the entire team and reminded us that we can and should lend a helping hand to those in need, even if we think we don’t have much. Granny’s story serves as proof that a little really can go a long way.
We are grateful to Granny and truly humbled by our experience at Botshelo Disability Centre. For our team, the visit reinforced the well-known Setwana saying Botho ke motho ka batho – a person is a person because of other people. As legal practitioners, we need our community just as much as our community needs us and we are honoured to be able to offer our services to those seeking legal aid.