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HOT Cares Christmas Takes Care of Education for Neglected 8-Year-Old

Every child deserves an education and that was the basis for Davina Leenders getting in touch with the Hot Cares Christmas team this festive season.

She tells the story of eight-year-old Jean-Marie Jacobs, who was born to parents involved in alcohol and drugs, living on the streets and battling to put one foot in front of the other.

She was taken away from her parents at around 18 months and raised by her grandmother, and over the past seven years has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Global Developmental Delay, due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. 

JM, as she’s called, has been in and out of various schools, because she would disrupt classes and become violent, because she didn’t have the right medication.

Davina met JM’s parents when they came to live on her property three years ago, but they’ve struggled for work and have subsequently had a second child.

All this time JM has been living with her grandmother, but seeing her parents – who don’t have transport – occasionally.

Davina and her husband have been assisting them with job opportunities, accommodation and transport, but until October neither child was in school on a regular basis.

“I decided that someone had to intervene and I just could not sit by and watch this, so between myself and a very good friend we managed to enrol the younger child into a nearby creche and get JM into The King’s School Muldersdrift,” says Davina.

Between them, they’ve managed to pay for the last two months of the year, but they can’t afford JM’s tuition for next year. Unfortunately, JM needs to repeat Grade R, as she hasn’t had enough schooling over the last couple of years.

Through contacts, Davina’s friend has managed to source some occupational therapy and physiotherapy to help JM to catch up, whilst they’ve also seen a neurologist who has put JM on the correct medication.

But, she needs to be in school.

“JM was so happy to ‘have her own school’ that I can’t break her heart and say that we actually can’t afford it,” says Davina, who has been balancing a full-time job with transporting the kids and their mother to and from school and work.

“These two little children deserve an education and a somewhat normal life,” she says.

The Hot Care Christmas team couldn’t agree more and want to help, so we’re going to be providing the following: 

  • 2022 school fees for the year valued at R28 800
  • Christmas gifts and clothing valued at R5000
  • R5000 to Davina and her husband for the care they give to Jean-Marie

If you would like to nominate a worthy recipient for the Hot Cares Christmas, get in touch with Hot Cares at hotcareschristmas@hot1027.co.za.