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A seasonal plea comes from Diana who says " Any help for Africa is lighting even a very small candle, and there is plenty of dark around."
Help will come from our parishioners on November 13th/14th who will flock to Penny and Mick's Annual Christmas and Craft Sale supporting Diana's theme: "Schooling is our children's hope for the future".
Over the years Diana and her team have helped many children into school, and many have reached professional status. " Most of the (war refugee) parents who come to us do not even have the money to put down the deposit required to register the child, let alone pay fees, since they can't even pay their rent. It really is a battle for survival, and the refugees do not have extended family to step in and help. The unemployment is so high that, even with the best will in the world to work, they simply can't get work. Well, at least we can help out with a few."
Diana's roll call of success with children is recalled in her early photos:
"This photo shows the first group of young people we put into school in 1998. Diana is now married and lives in the UK. Olivier matriculated and works as a driver in Johannesburg. Denise matriculated and went to university. This year she got married and lives in Johannesburg."
"Nyanzira also went to school in 1998. She matriculated and today works in a nursery school. The family depicted here subsequently moved to Canada where the children are in university now."
"This photo is of some of the Mercy House children in 1998. On the left is Nicaise who matriculated and is now 3rd year Medicine. Next to her is Denise (see description 1 above), beside her is Yannick who left school last year and the little boy in the yellow t-shirt is Francis, who is now finishing high school in Norway!"
Diana's photo files are brimful with success stories - some very recent.
"Thanks to donors like our friends at St Richards, we were able to help Jacinto, orphan from Angola with schooling. We found him living alone in the basement of a building with no food and quite suicidal. We took him in, in 2004, and put him into the school right below our house. Here he is seen on the first day proudly sporting his uniform."
" The three children here lived at Mercy House for nearly 7 years with their parents. As has to happen, the family had eventually to move out and it is very difficult for them to survive. Money for school fees has to come from elsewhere, as the parents simply cannot afford it."
"This is Dibaba, the older brother of the 3 children in photo 2. The photo was taken shortly after he and his father arrived at Mercy House. We had the very great blessing of getting him, on a bursary, into Dominican Convent school, an excellent church school, and he is currently in Grade 8, doing exceptionally well."
Diana reports on youngsters, still at school.
"Moise is just completing his Grade 4 and we look forward to seeing him right through school, if God will kindly allow us.
All the children in the photo are assisted by Mercy House with their schooling. Front left is Norbert in Grade 5, behind him is Emmanuel with his 2 sisters (Nyota, meaning Star, on the seft and Maria beside her in the centre) who also cannot go to school without Mercy House assistance. Behind them is Moses with his older sister in front of hin, who also require our assistance to do their schooling."
For us in UK, while we fear the impact of Government cuts which hit poorer people, many families in Johannesburg have even less, and are debarred from elementary schooling, just as Victorian chldren so often were. Supporting Mercy House at Mick and Penny's sale is a valued investment in human happiness and spirituality at Mercy House.
The date of the Christmas and Craft Sale - November 13th and 14th, at the Parish Rooms.