Growing up in poverty, kids face tough challenges: hunger, limited access to education, gang violence, social discrimination, isolation and medical services, but it does not have to be that way; the journey to end poverty for good begins with a child.
Itumeleng Boshielo from Mathukuthela village in Pokwane said she had never enjoyed her childhood as her family had a lot of financial difficulties. Itumeleng said she was raised by her mother’s aunt until she passed away.
“My mother’s aunt took me while I was only eight months old to stay with her at Ga Mashabela village. She was looking after me, she paid everything including my school fees. Unfortunately she passed way, I had to go back to my parents,” said Itumeleng who said her mom’s aunt left her with dark days since both her parents were unemployed.
“In my younger years I didn’t have someone to buy me school uniforms. There were lots of things my family could not afford,” she remembers.
A second born of Dikoko and Kgope Boshielo said her family survived on a social grant of her three siblings. She said her unemployed parents used arable land to plant vegetables to make a living She continued, saying they also sell firewood to support family of five.
“Our parents introduced us to assist them to sell their products,” said Itumeleng.
Itumeleng said she didn’t have a school uniform; I was the only child to attend school wearing casual clothing.
“I remember well that I completed my grade seven without school uniform and my teachers were always exposing me in front of other learners. I didn’t have courage to tell my teachers about my underprivileged circumstances,” she narrated.
Phokwane lady said she had to wake up earlier in the morning during weekend to sell her parents products. “It was a must because I had to sell to generate income so it could pay for my Saturday school fees. While during the week I was selling Mahlatswa at school.
“We were a laughing stock of the community. One day I walked pass an elder woman and heard her saying that I do not change clothes. It broken my heart but it was true because I only had a few outfits,” she continues sharing her history.
She was quoted saying “mere talk is mere talks, bring it on, poverty, and my actions through schooling will bring my richness”. Itumeleng in 2018 completed her matric at Moreko high school and she is currently studying mechanical engineering.
“I don’t classify myself as disadvantaged anymore,” she concluded.