A few months ago, a brave and inspirational soul entered the doors of the Tarka Development Group offices. Xolelwa Sixoko came to Tarka Development Group to ask for assistance to get her small shop off the ground. The young wife and mother of four’s success story, highlighted by undying hopefulness and a drive for self-reliance and dignity inspired many in Tarkastad.
Xolelwa recently lost her husband after a battle with illness. She has been incredibly devastated by this loss, as she had worked hard to get him back on his feet and into their children’s lives again. In fact, Xolelwa had been planning what the family would do to catch up on lost time when her husband got better. The woman who inspired many in Tarkastad to be relentless in fighting for happiness and wholeness needs us to be strong on her and her children’s behalf at this moment.
Xolelwa was introduced to Tarka Development Group after asking for assistance from Dr Justine Willemse, wife of Tarka Development Group chairperson and co-founder, Garvin Willemse. Dr Willemse had been helping treat Xolelwa’s ailing husband. For a long time after he was stricken by a stroke which affected his mobility, Xolelwa, a housewife, took on the role of providing for the family and maintaining normalcy for her young children.
The demands of shouldering the financial and emotional weights of the family, in addition to nursing her husband on a measly social grant for her husband, became too much. She had to look for support elsewhere. She was not about to compromise on her determination to be self-reliant and hardworking and to have her children emulate that example, so she insisted on not receiving a hand-out, but rather a hand-up. Xolelwa was provided with a small loan and some equipment, which helped her open a small spaza shop in her yard. The shop was a great success.
Today, Xolelwa’s shop is closed. The costs that have come with the funeral, putting her children back in school in the new year and managing life as a single parent have depleted her finances. She says her family are living day to day not knowing if they will have anything to eat the next day. This time has been especially hard for Xolelwa, as she has not had time to properly mourn husband due to immediate pressures and demands she has had to meet.
There are few things as sad as when life deals blow after blow to a family while they try to escape the grips of poverty. While Tarka Development Group would love to help, the continued existence of our organisation is currently also precarious, as we do not have any new financial donors at present and are operating on reserves and generated income.
Instead, what we are able to do is to appeal to our friends and supporters on Xolelwa’s behalf. Donations in cash or in kind will be most helpful to assist her during this period to maintain her family and get her shop back up and running. Donations in kind can be dropped off at our office, or please contact us to obtain the details of where and how to find her, or for our bank details for cash contributions.
We believe that with the assistance of our community, we can be of use to get this brave spirit back to a productive, dignified, happy life full of opportunity for her children.