News Release

A different Christmas: Serving Children in South Africa


Christmas is a time of celebration and joy for most of us. Even in the present uncertain economic situation, people are spending money for gifts and a nice meal and are looking forward to their holidays. However, Ntombizonke Letuma, a South African woman in her sixties, is about to spend a completely different Christmas in a different continent. Instead of having a lovely meal in her comfortable home in Norwich, England, she will be serving a mission in Africa, to help the street children there.

Zonke, as she likes to be called, grew up in poverty in Newcastle (South Africa) and lost her father very early. Her Mother worked as a domestic servant in town, in order to provide a decent education for her children. As she studied and then worked as a Community Nurse, the situation around her was dramatic - but things have gotten even worse now. A third of South Africans don’t have enough food to eat, and S.A. has the largest HIV-positive population in the world. 2.5 million children are orphans and half of them lost their parents to AIDS. Many are infected from birth and won’t reach the age of 30.

These children are on the streets with no food or shelter, and in such conditions are often the victims of abuse and exploitation. Many websites show the heart-breaking situation of these little ones and thankfully, many charities are working to help them, but more help is needed.

When Zonke left her country to come to the U.K. she was longing to return soon and do her part to help these children. In 1993, she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and through its programmes she learned  some good principles of provident living, how to live a healthy life-style, be fit, keep a garden and help others.

On the 4th December, Zonke has flown to Newcastle (South Africa) to start a humanitarian mission among the children in need. But she won’t be arriving empty handed. Members of the Norwich Stake, England, heard her talking about the hardships of South Africans, and, as a result, many of these generous people have already donated 66 boxes of necessary items.

Zonke spent several weeks sending those boxes to her home address and she is now  working from the other side, starting up a home for the children and helping as much as she can. She will not only give items to the needy, but also teach basic skills that will help children lift themselves out of the poverty cycle.

We know that for some of these little ones, Christmas will be a little bit happier this year  because of Zonke’s efforts. If you would like to help these children; in this case please do so by asking Zonke directly in an email:

Ntombizonke Letuma < Her address in South Africa is 161 Victoria Rd, Schuinshoogte, Newcastle 2940 SA.

It would be a wonderful way to give more meaning to Christmas by giving to those who desperately need a helping hand.

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