I mentioned in the last blog that we met an amazing girl at a school. We met through our good friend Janette of Global Community Rising in Swadini. Athalia is 21 years old. She was born with extreme deformities in both her arms and legs. She never could walk, but she trained her arms and hands to do what she could around the home to help her poor family. Janette gave her a wheelchair about a year ago. Athalia’s sisters Zelda (13 years old) and Refilwe (14 years old) carried Athalia on their backs to get the wheelchair.

Athalia never attended school, as she had no way to get there. Their home is about 4 miles from the school. Athalia said “I always wanted to learn to read.” She cannot move the wheelchair alone, but fortunately she has a very loving family and community. Her sisters and friends push her back and forth to school every day.
Athalia started first grade, and has advanced to fourth grade already. She showed us how she learned to hold a pencil, using both her hands and arms. Slowly, patiently she forms each letter of her name; the result is beautiful. She was so proud to show us samples, a full page of her name, written many times in neatly formed letters. The page must have taken hours to complete. Her teachers were so proud of her.A few months ago she was able to go on a field trip with her class to Kruger National Park. Athalia got a chance to see the animals that are so special to her country.

Laurie asked her what she wants to be when she gets out of school. “I have many dreams,” she said, “but right now I want to be an executive secretary.”

Friends, see what your support can do!


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