Looking at Thoko today, it’s hard to imagine how life started out for this beautiful little girl. Coming into Mangochi on the day that she was born, she was a vulnerable bundle in desperate need for someone to care for her. She’d survived a traumatic birth, but sadly her mother didn’t, and Thoko was left as a tiny orphan with brain damage.
Doctors diagnosed her with Cerebral Palsy and also found that she was HIV positive. Following the diagnosis, even though the staff did everything they could to encourage her family to stay in touch, they very quickly stopped visiting.
As Thoko grew, it was clear that she needed even more medical help so, despite the fact that she had settled well into her Open Arms home, the difficult decision to move her from Mangochi to Blantyre was made, so that she could access better medical facilities and benefit from regular physiotherapy at the Sandi Rehabilitation Centre.
You should see her now! She is loved so much by everyone at Harrogate House. And with one of the most infectious smiles you have ever seen, it’s not difficult to see why. While her Celebral Palsy is not curable, she has a full and busy life with her little buddies and carers.
Thoko has two physio sessions a week to help her move as easily as possible, and you can see the freedom she feels. Her determination to keep up with her friends is heart-warming. And her huge smile is full of spirited charm.
Thoko has been sponsored since 2013, and this has helped us to ensure she has the specialist equipment she needs to join in with scribbling pictures and walking with her friends. You can see the confidence this has given her because she achieves more and more each day.
Take the last few months; she has learnt how to take bread and move her head down to eat it from her own hands. You can see her trying to join in with song and prayer time, and she uses every sound and movement she makes to communicate with her friends. These little milestones would be nothing to your average five year old, but they have truly transformed her life. One day, we would love to see Thoko attending school.
As her little fingers cling onto the reassurance of her carer’s hand, that determined glint in her eyes and beaming smile tell us that this is still only the beginning of her journey. With the help of Open Arms, and in particular the support of her sponsor, the future is looking bright and full of excitement for Thoko.
Child sponsorship is a way in which supporters can provide a regular monthly gift for a child at Open Arms, and it is this kind of reliable income that gives us the confidence to go beyond the day-to-day; to make decisions and plan for their future.
If you’d like to find out more about sponsoring a baby or child at Open Arms for £25 a month, please contact Judith Rudolph for further information.