Hi, I’m Mandy, Director of the Durban Child and Youth Care Centre. I hope that you will become a regular visitor to my ‘desk’. Over the many years that I have worked at the Durban Child and Youth Care Centre I have had the privilege of experiencing some amazing moments and often thought afterwards that I should capture them so that they are not lost…….I now have that opportunity!
So yesterday I heard from our social worker that one of our 18 year old boys had been writing up his CV and when she had asked about the purpose of this he had said that he needed to find work because he was leaving the centre at the end of the year. This was not the case and she cleared up the misunderstanding with him.
Later in the day he came into the office and I used the opportunity to check that he understood the process of disengaging from our programme and to reassure him that he would, together with the child care team, be involved in the process from the beginning of the year that he leaves. During our conversation he said that he would still like to find a job. I assured him that we encourage and support part-time work. He then said very softly, ‘aunty I need a job so that I can save my family’. In that moment I felt my heart freeze, then slowly splinter, feeling this young man’s pain, sitting there with the weight of ‘saving’ his family on his shoulders.
In moments like these I often feel so inadequate; what to say….what can be said, how to relieve this precious being of this weighty burden? And so I said, ‘you can’t save your family. A family is made up of more than one person and everyone in the family needs to take responsibility and work together. One person shouldn’t have to do all the worrying and all the work in a family”.
Its moments like these that make what we do so worthwhile……….for this child………..and which bring me to my knees, with a heart grateful for the chance to be present in this child’s time of need and hopefully offer some encouragement……