Raising children is a full time job—some have argued before.
However, when the child ages, the parents are usually relieved of some of the duties as he/she becomes more independent.
Such independence gives parents the hope of someday being taken care of by the child, but 38-year-old Dorothy Sulani’s story is different.
Not only is she facing big challenges in raising her three children with disabilities alone.
She was abandoned by her first husband after the first two children and her second husband abandoned her six years ago after the birth of her youngest son.
While others would chicken out, Sulani is an inspiration when it comes to not giving up.
She now has to even care for them in their adulthood, changing them as she is already doing for her oldest, Gilbert, 21.
Sulani comes from Mkwate One Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mlumbe in Zomba.
She takes care of Gilbert 21, Richard 12 and six-year-old Wyson all have difficulties in walking.
Her day starts with washing the beddings of the children because they cannot walk or say that they want to relieve themselves.
“The biggest challenge I face is lack of a borehole and we don’t have one nearby. Every morning, I have to leave them to search for water to clean their beddings or pay whoever fetches water for me. I cannot go for cultivation or do any work to give us food. I have nobody to leave my children with. This is a very tough situation for us.
“Look, I don’t have any means of sourcing money; I don’t have a business that can bring me some cash to support my three children with disabilities and two others who are able-bodied. In total I have five children,” said Sulani.
The mother is pleading with well-wishers to drill her a borehole and is also looking for some good people to give her business capital.
The three children were born normal like any other, but when they reached about three months, they showed signs of disabilities.
The woman has been visiting various hospitals, but was told there were no peculiar signs to pinpoint real causes for the outcome.
And due to lack of resources, she just gave up because she could not raise funds to take them to Malawi Council with Disabilities (MAP) or Beit Cure for physiotherapy.
Acting executive direscotr for the Federation Disability Organisation of Malawi (Fedoma) Symon Munde suspected the boys’ condition to be cerebral palsy.
He said the condition was a caused by brain damage and is common in Malawi.
“It is a neurological disorder that appears in infancy. It affects muscle tone movement and hinders the body’s ability,” he said.
According to her, she always depends on well wishers for her daily bread with the children.
Her plight came into limelight when Living Waters Radio Listeners Top 20 Club visited her early this year where they presented various gifts, including two wheelchairs from CCAP Blantyre Synod.
Sulani, a Presbyterian member at Chipini CCAP congregation in Chingale Presbytery was thankful to her church, especially that Chipini leadership went to baptise her three children with disabilities.
“I am so thankful to LWC Radio Top 20 Listeners Chat first for putting me on the map, to some well wishers that had been coming and more especially when Mthawira CCAP congregation came with various gifts that will take me to some months and more especially the modern toilet and bathroom.
“I also thank God that he felt it good to give me these children even when he knew I could not manage them alone and let my husband abandon them. My only message to fellow women in same situations I am facing is not to despair, but to persevere with what God has given them,” she said.
Village head Mkwate I agreed with her plea for a borehole to save her situation saying if there could be a borehole, at least she could be having a lease of life.
“I want to warn my subjects not to torture her or steal what she has received from this church. I also want to warn her relations not to take advantage of coming every morning to ask for salt, soya pieces and some other commodities.
“Despite their disabilities, these children need to be eating three meals a day starting with breakfast. I have seen a bale of sugar, and bags of maize. These are solely for her and her children,” he pleaded.
Chingale presbytery moderator Reverend Edward Polokera challenged Chipini congregation to continue supporting her in her daily spiritual life.
“I want to agree with the village head that nobody and I mean nobody should torment her with what she had received today because these are for her usega, don’t come and steal
Synod deputy general secretary Reverend Moyenda Kanjerwa after watching videos of the lady started preaching the need to assist the needy until the morning devotion team took it to themselves starting raising funds for her and finally the whole church joined the venture.
Kanjerwa said in an interview on Saturday when his church members went to handover some items that included wheelchair, three mattresses and three blankets for the children, eight bags of maize, rice, cooking oils, various second hand clothes, cartons of candles, soya pieces, among many gifts as well as handing over a modern toilet and a bathroom.
“Real Christianity is feeling pity with the situations others are going through and not just preaching in the church. Faith without actions is dead and we have here to show our love and faith in God through deeds.
“Of course we have heard the challenges she is going through and it is our plea that we have done our part that others come in with the drilling of the borehole to ease her challenges,” said Kanjerwa.