Pay it Forward

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SOS Children’s Villages South Africa builds families for children in need and in doing so, we help them shape their own futures. We have cared for over 24,000 children since the opening of our first village in 1982.

I have the privilege to be a sponsor for a little girl at the SOS Children’s Village here in Cape Town. Her name is Aphelele, and she is 11 years old. She looked after her two baby brothers all by herself for a long time, while no one in the community knew that their parents weren’t there anymore. No one cared enough to help the little girl who would frequently beg for food from neighbors. Until one afternoon, when one neighbor thought it strange that this young girl was wondering the streets asking for money and food.

So she followed her home, and there she found her and her two baby brothers, ages 3 and 5. She had been taking care of them—cleaning, bathing, washing, and making sure that they had food to eat and could still go to school.

It broke my heart when I was told this beautiful little girl’s story. I have a little sister, and for me, it hit home, thinking how I would have felt if my little sister had to face this kind of hardship.

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“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth who care for and protect our people.”                         – Nelson Mandela

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Children do not get to choose the cards they are dealt in life. Children are supposed to be able to trust an adult, their family, be loved by their parents. No child should have to feel cold, hurt, alone, or hungry. No child should have to become a grownup unnaturally.

But the SOS Children’s Villages all over the world make such a huge difference in the lives of children, giving them their security, love, kindness, and dignity back. Teaching them values to guide them in the future. Giving them education opportunities to build a better future for them.

The Villages are, however, dependant on funding by people like myself who can spare a few rand to save a child’s life.

I am glad that I can be a blessing to this beautiful child with the brightest smile I have ever seen.

So I do Color Runs for charity, I bake cupcakes for Cupcakes 4 Kids with Cancer, I go and wash oil covered penguins, I do breast cancer runs, and now I get to spoil little Aphelele who loves to read, color, dance, and take care of her friends and family. She reminds me so much of myself as a young girl, and if I can have even a small influence in the strong, beautiful, and independent woman she will become, I will be blessed beyond life itself.

I was raised that you must always PAY IT FORWARD, because you never know when someone might be out of hope. And a friendly smile, a hand up, a hot plate of food, a cold drink on a warm day—it costs you nothing.

Have you found someone to help out yet? It doesn’t take a fortune to assist someone in need, just a warm heart and some time to show them that you care.

So go on…PAY IT FORWARD.

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About Author

Leatitia Coetzee, RN

Leatitia Coetzee is a practicing nurse in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She is 30-years-old and fulfilling a lifelong dream of helping those in need and making a difference in the world … or at least the world she knows and lives in. She has always been a caring and passionate person, always wanting to help those less fortunate or in need. After graduating from high school, Leatitia went overseas, living and working in nursing homes in the UK and Scotland, and it was there she fell in love with nursing, knowing that she was in some small but significant way touching and changing the world.

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