THIRD year B.Ed student at Rhodes University, Luthando “Trompie” Dayimani, is paying it forward by unofficially adopting eight pre-teen and teenage “street boys” in Grahamstown in a form of mentorship, teaching them basic life skills they can use to uplift themselves.
Dayimani, a full time student, first encountered the group of boys when one of them broke into his home. He managed to chase and catch the boy and sat him down to find out why he was breaking into people’s houses.
“He said he was hungry. I told him why don’t you just ask for food and I will help you,” said Dayimani. He found out that the boy and so many others basically live on the streets. Since then he has taken it upon himself to mentor these boys, teaching them basic skills, supplying them with meals and basic items like clothes, soap and toothbrushes in exchange for community work.
He uses his free time to teach the children how to use computers, stick to schedules and the importance of giving back to the community.
Dayimani said he not trying to replace any of their parents, who are unable at the best of times to care for them, but wants to be their “friend”, and show them that there is more to life than living on the streets.
Every week, as part of the time Dayimani spends with the children, they walk around town for an hour collecting rubbish and cleaning recreational areas. He also reads books with them, teaches them environmental health and the possibilities of recycling items for craft and art materials and motivates them on self-worth.
“Everything we eat, and do, we share. But it’s tough, these children are psychologically conditioned that no one cares about them. They think they can’t go into Pick n Pay because they are dirty,” Dayimani said.
He said even though they are between 12- 16 years old, they look much younger as they are so malnourished. “Nutrition was never there. I’m trying my best to show them how to help themselves, and how to dig themselves out of poverty,” said Dayimani.
“They think they are less, it’s very sad.”
At 25 years old, Dayimani is studying on a bursary and is giving the children what he can on his limited budget. “I sacrifice what I can; they are little boys that can be helped. I’m not looking for money from anyone; I’m looking for someone to take time out of their day to care to show them a new skill, or to help provide them with basic items,” he said.
Dayimani, a former Shaw Park Primary pupil and Kingswood College matriculant, grew up on Adele Cutten’s farm in Shaw Park and is eager to start his career as a foundation phase teacher.
Unexpectedly he began his career earlier when he realised he couldn’t just look the other way. “They are at a critical age. For now I’m their friend, their brother and I will help them by showing them ways they can help themselves,” Dayimani said.
If anyone would like to contribute in offering any real-life learning for these children, or to donate clothes, toiletries, or food, contact Dayimani on 084-845-2211.