Josephine and Baby Natasha
The founders of Project Brave Foundation met Josephine and beautiful baby Natasha who was 6 months old at the time In September 2016. Josephine was sitting on the side of the road in Rivonia begging at the traffic lights and appeared depressed and disheartened. When we met her she did not have shoes, and wore a torn skirt and a top that was held together by safety pins. Natasha was a somber baby, who hardly smiled and slept most of the day breathing in the fumes of motorcars passing by. She had clear signs of malnutrition and was physically and emotionally delayed. Project Brave Foundation approached Josephine to find out more about her story.
Josephine had come from Zimbabwe to escape the harsh economic and political conditions, which made it impossible to provide for herself or her family. She said she came to South Africa in hope of finding a better life.
Life unfortunately was not the rainbow she hoped for and although she was able to work at a car wash when she first arrived in South Africa, that business did not last and she found herself unemployed and on the streets of Johannesburg. Josephine managed to find shelter with a close friend in Johannesburg CBD in a small room, which was divided into 4 by a curtain, which was shared by four families. Josephine said that when struggling to find employment, she was advised that she could either prostitute herself or try standing at traffic lights as people often give money and goods to desperate people. She said she would never turn to prostitution and despite not enjoying being a woman begging, it felt like her only option to get money for food and shelter.
Josephine was desperate to stop begging and said she wished to work as a domestic worker or in catering, as that is where her skills lay. Project Brave Foundation saw her willingness to change and took her into their program.
Project Brave Founders met with Josephine weekly to assess her emotional, and physical needs. We sent her on a domestic worker and child minding course where she received a certificate that she was most proud of. While waiting for a job, the Project Brave founders spent time mentoring and coaching her in basic life and social skills. Weekly sessions focused on meeting her physical needs and restoring her hope again.
Josephine began attending a local church and finding her faith. Baby Natasha was enrolled in a local crèche in Johannesburg and has been attending daily ever since. She has started to walk, talk, smile and sing. The crèche ensures she is taken care of physically, and emotionally and her progress has been nothing but miraculous.
Josephine found employment part-time in Rivonia and has been working since December 2016 for 3 days a week. She is able to fund most of her costs on her own. She has regained her dignity and has found renewed faith and hope in life. Josephine is currently looking for work on days she is not working but we have no doubt that she will find this soon. Project Brave is still involved in her and Natasha’s life and watches with excitement as their future unfolds.