10-year-old on mission to care for homeless

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This is the first time a child has come up with such an idea and the school has embraced it

AFTER seeing homeless and hungry children at the beachfront on numerous occasions, 10-year-old Luthando Barnes decided to do something to help.

After school on Fridays, Luthando’s parents usually take him and his nephew Azichume Barnes, 8, to the beachfront to get ice cream or burgers.

While they would be enjoying their treats, Luthando would look at the homeless people who beg for food or money and feel sorry for them.

Luthando then approached his teachers at Advance for Life Christian Academy and told them that he would like to collect food and clothing for the homeless people and also find them jobs because they don’t deserve to be poor.

On Monday last week, when his mother, Penelope Barnes-Matiwane, went to fetch Luthando and her grandson from school, she could hear them talking but could not make out exactly what they were talking about.

“When we were doing homework on Tuesday evening, he told me he was called into the teacher’s office and he told the teacher his dream.

“He said the teachers supported him and the principal asked him to write a letter explaining what he would like to do.

“We then drafted that letter. He told me that when he is about to sleep, he cries because he thinks of the homeless people. He sometimes sees them in his sleep. I am still speechless,” Barnes-Matiwane said.

His father Sebenzile Matiwane said that he wasn’t really shocked because God does things differently.

“He actually takes after his mother. His mother has always wanted to do something similar, but she never started. Now God is using our son to do it,” Matiwane said.

The 10-year-old said he is asking East London residents to assist the hungry people who are also in need of clothes.

“My classmates also do not believe it, but it has always been in my heart and I’m glad that it is finally taking off,” he said.

Jessica Wallis, who works at the school, said Luthando is a lovely boy who interacts with everyone. This is the first time a child has come up with such an idea and the school has embraced it.

“We are going to support him all the way. It also came as a surprise to us but it is for a good cause,” Wallis said.

To drop off tin food and second-hand clothing, contact the school on (043)745-0630 or drop it off at the school at 3 Northcote Place, Wilsonia. OK Foods stores in Cambridge and Beacon Bay are also drop-off points.

MAKING A DIFFERNCE: Sebenzile Matiwane and Penelope Barnes-Matiwane are the proud parents of 10-year-old Luthando Barnes, who has made it his mission to feed and clothe the homeless Picture: QHAMANI LINGANI

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