Hazel and Hiayisani, Africa
When 18 year-old Hazel and 13 year-old Hiayisani’s mother died after a sudden illness, they were left to fend for themselves and cope with their devastating loss alone.
With no other family, the girls remained in the small shack they had shared with their mother in Tembisa, a large township in South Africa with dire social problems including high crime rates, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, prostitution, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Hazel found herself solely responsible for her younger sister and, with very little means, they were highly vulnerable to abuse. It is common for orphans in Tembsia to be offered food in exchange for sexual favours or involvement in criminal activity. The sisters were also in danger of being split up with social services putting Hiayisani into care.
Fortunately, Hazel found out about the Bishop Simeon Trust - a project that works in the township, providing vital support to young orphans. The girls now receive a small childcare grant and, with the support of a project worker, who visits every two weeks with a care package of essential household materials and food, Hazel is now able to look after herself and her sister. In addition, the sisters attend activities days at Bishop Simeon where they can relax, have fun and spend time with other young people.
The project has also helped the girls receive free schooling and Hazel hopes to go onto university one day, where she would like to study civil engineering. With continued support from the Bishop Simeon Trust and her staunch determination, her dream might just come true.
Hazel and Hiayisani
“Without Bishop Simeon there would be nobody to help. When I’m here I feel better, we know we’re not alone.”