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Brighten the corner where you are By Deb Williams

Huddled haphazardly on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, there is a sprawling slum where about 55 000 people squash into 5000 mostly one-room "houses". The ablution facilities are an outside toilet and one tap in the yard. Children sleep in rows on the floor. Some households are run by children whose older family members have died of AIDS. Unemployment is rife and often children have to manage on one small meal a day, or even none at all.

Several high school boys volunteered to give up their precious Friday afternoons to go and play with them. With the world in such a mess and so many people in desperate need, they wanted to make a positive difference in some small way.

They started with a family where there was only a disabled unemployed grandmother, trying to cope with raising 10 grandchildren. They took crayons, pictures for them to colour in, soccer balls, cricket bats and music to dance to.

Soon many other children in the area joined in, and the visits became highlights for them. As the bus struggled its way up the narrow rutted dirt road to the house, they started running, waving and cheering. What especially warmed my heart was seeing those typical modern teenage boys picking up the littlies and hugging them, and constantly trying to think of more ways to help them.

When they realised that the children were hungry, they started taking fruit and sandwiches. For their caring, for the corner they brightened, I salute those special boys.


in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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I love life! Until 2010 life in South Africa was great, and now life in Australia is great. Consciously choosing to remain focussed on the positive really works, and my life is testimony to that.

See Deb's profile.

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