Women’s movement celebrates birthdays of young charges

Siyanthanda Sentile, Siyabulela Sentile and Ovayo Sibetha are joined by parents and their mentors in cutting their cake.

To build self-esteem and a sense of worth in young people between the ages of six to 18 years, Abigail Women’s Movement in Bhongweni hosted a birthday celebration for young people born in May who are part of its educational programmes.

The movement aims to combat negative decision-making patterns which lead to risky lifestyles such as substance abuse and teenage pregnancy.

Every month they celebrate the birthdays, knowing that many children have never celebrated their birthdays and to make them feel worthy.

Last Saturday was not different when Ovayo Sibetha, 12, Siyabulela Sentile, 15, and Siyamthanda Sentile, 17, were hosted and their birthdays celebrated.

The organisation it does not only celebrate their birthdays but also mentor the young people to be better human beings and positive citizens of our country. The organisation prepares youth for life after school and going to tertiary education so that they have better careers after school, with a positive self-confidence.

Pearl Matolwana said the part of the organisation is to connect young people with their culture and restore their dignity.

She encouraged them to be active in their lives but to avoid being politicians’ stepping stones. “We are sitting with flowing faeces on the streets and no one cares for us until the elections. We do all these to encourage young people to be active citizens. But active citizenship has no violence. It does not mean people should occupy land to build shacks and their children to have shacks. We want our children to go to school and be better citizens,” she said talking to the birthday youths and those gathered there.

Ms Matolwana said the organisation has started a drive to prepare their children for the fourth industrial revolution and pushing agriculture. She said they introduced education to young people that matters and with purpose. She encouraged them to look at life priorities rather than enjoying themselves until their pockets are empty. “We are restoring the value of our children. We value them because we see potential in them,” she said.

Retired and founding member of the organisation, Diana Matolwana, stressed the importance of prayer to the young people. She said whatever they do, prayer, perseverance and passion is the way. She also wished them to grow well and take the movement to another level.

It was an emotional moment as the birthday boys and girls thanked the organisation for all the sacrifices that enabled them to finally celebrate their day. All looking excited and over the moon, the birthday children lost for words except Siyamthanda, saying: “Enkosi kakhulu, you’ve done us proud”.

The parents also thanked the movement for such a day. On behalf of parents Olwethu Mandukwini said as someone who has never had a birthday, he was happy for the trio.

“They are lucky to have an organisation that cares for them. I have never had such luck. It was not that my parents did not want to but it was how they were brought and other circumstances. I am happy for them when they are cared for even outside their homes,” he said.

Pearl Matolwana said her movement is restoring young people’s pride and dignity.
Florence Sili was tasked to give out the gifts and presents to birthday children. Here she is giving a certicate and present to Ovayo Sibetha.