Concerned social worker lobbied church groups to fund wheelchair
An 11-year-old New Brighton girl who had to be carried on her mother’s back for years was given a new wheelchair at the weekend. Social worker Thembelani Lesman came to the rescue of Asanda Mazele, who has never been able to walk or talk.
Asanda’s mother, Nontsikelelo, 47, said she relied on the grants she received for Asanda and her twin brother, Ayanda, to feed her family.
She said their father, Mbulelo, had died in 2007.
“No one works in the house. Asanda cannot walk or talk and I have to carry her on my back,” Mazele said.
“I used to carry her to Livingstone Hospital on my back for treatment, but I could not do it anymore. I can no longer carry her.”
She was extremely grateful to Lesman and everyone who had assisted the family.
“I will now be able to take her to the clinic and other activities. This makes me very happy,” she said.
At the handover on Saturday, Lesman, 26, said it was his own difficult background and circumstances as a street child that had inspired him to a life of assisting others.
“I grew up as an orphan. My mother left me at the Motherwell Clinic when I was a baby and for years I was passed from household to household,” he said.
Lesman said he had been a street child before his great-grandmother found him.
“I started becoming active in the community and I became active in many organisations and the church. I realised I wanted to help others.”
Lesman is employed as a child and youth care worker at the Department of Social Development’s Ernest Malgas Treatment Centre.
He said it was a member of his church, Narrowgate Prophetic House in New Brighton, who informed him about Asanda.
“I then approached the Umzi Wase Topiya Traditional Right Church. This is actually a partnership between our two churches,” he said.
“I also approached the Nelson Mandela Bay Gospel Forum and informed them about Asanda and asked if they could assist in buying a wheelchair.”
Umzi Wase Topiya Traditional Right Church social responsibility committee convener Nobengazi Nobebe said they had immediately agreed to assist.
“As the social responsibility committee we are always looking to assist families in New Brighton,” she said.
“We identify the poorest and the neediest families. It depends on the specific needs.”
The head of the church, vicar-general Mbulelo Beyi, said not only had the church managed to purchase Asanda a wheelchair, they had also organised groceries and clothing for the family.
“We informed the congregation about the need of this family and they came forward to assist.
“It is projects like this where everyone comes together that makes us happy as a church.”
Lesman said he would continue helping the less fortunate.
“This is going to continue. We are also looking at getting another bed for this family as they all share one bed. I am committed to changing even more lives here,” he said.