Rays of Hope would like to recognise and congratulate Grade 12 student and a beneficiary of the Rays of Hope Ithemba Labantwana programme, Julius Mabunda, for earning a university pass in his final year of school, allowing him to pursue further studies.

Julius’ achievement is especially impressive considering the challenges he’s faced in his personal life. After losing his father, the breadwinner of the family, in 2013, Julius watched as his mother grew ill and became bed-ridden, forcing him to take control of the household and assume the role of a father to his three younger siblings.

“I support my siblings by giving them love and a shoulder to cry on, being there when they need me regardless of time, and encouraging them to work hard. I’m constantly praying for and with them, and they always come first in my life. I care for them as if they are my own children,” says Julius.

Julius and his siblings took turns to care for their ailing mother and would often miss days of schools as a result. Julius’ grades suffered, forcing him to repeat a year of school.

Thankfully, Julius and his family were introduced to the Ithemba Labantwana Programme in 2018, which gave him and his siblings the emotional, spiritual and educational support they needed to build a better future for themselves.

Sadly, Julius lost his mother in September 2019, setting his and his siblings’ progress back once again. Through the programme, Julius and his siblings received professional counselling services, as well as a great deal of advice and support in learning how to manage a household while working hard to maintain good grades at school.

Today, we celebrate how far Julius and his siblings have come over the past few years, as all three of them enter a new year after having passed with great results in 2019, with Julius obtaining a university pass in his final Grade 12 exams.

“I would not have coped if Rays of Hope had not come into our lives,” he says. “I am so grateful to the Rays of Hope team for the support they gave us, for being our shoulder to cry on, our counsellors and advisors.”

The Ithemba Labantwana programme was created in 2010 to offer orphaned and vulnerable children and families in Alexandra Township the support they need to live better lives. Find out more about this and other wonderful programmes facilitated and run by Rays of Hope at www.raysofhope.co.za.