Community steps in to help family with epilepsy

Pharie Sefali
Siphokazi Rululu and her father, Ayanda Qhara. Picture by Pharie Sefali.
Pharie Sefali

Residents in Khayelitsha came out in their numbers at the weekend to celebrate the donation of a wheelchair and food parcel to a father and daughter who have epilepsy.

Residents and community leaders marched in the streets of Site C on 10 August , singing songs celebrating Women’s Month and showing unity against poverty in the area.

Among the marchers were members of organisations including the ANC Women’s League, Ses’Khona and SANCO.

In June, GroundUp published the story of disabled 14-year-old Siphokazi Rululu and her father, Ayanda Qhara, who both suffer from chronic epilepsy.

Siphokazi’s mother leaves for work in a restaurant chain kitchen at 6am and returns at 7pm four days a week, leaving Siphokazi’s seven year old sister to take care of them.

Siphokazi and her father were very excited about the gifts. The teenager danced on top of the wheelchair as she was pushed around in it, clapping her hands.

“What is being done here is very unique and I do not have words to describe the happiness we feel as a family,” said Qhara’s sister, Nowandisile Nikani. “I wish all communities could stand together in unity and help each other. Now the family has hopes of having a brighter future.”

Xolani Dywili, one of the community leaders who initiated the donation, told GroundUp that the community could not just wait for government to do things for them.

“People in this community are suffering and if we wait for some government official to help us then we will wait forever and poverty will kill us,” he said.

“What we did here today is to show that this community is in unity and that the leaders in the community care about the wellbeing of its people. The family has been suffering for many years and we just had to do something about it,” said Dywili.

Dywili said the money to buy the wheelchair came from a local doctor who saw the need to help the family.

Vivian Zilo, the founder of a charity called Iliso Care Society, said the food parcels, which included samp, rice, flour, soaps and oil, were donated by Percy Fox Foundation through her organisation.

She said Iliso Care Society also ran a soup kitchen.

The community could not sit by and do nothing when a family was in need, she said.

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TOPICS:  Health Society

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