Square Circle Forum

Slovenian Sister Fani … in Botswana.


Sr Fani is the dearest, kindest person, someone I was privileged to work with on the SPRED project at my parish.  SPRED is [Special Religious Education for Special Needs kids in the Catholic Church.]

The photograph below shows Sr Fani putting a KAS top on one of the many children she loves and cares for in Botswana.

Although I am no longer involved with SPRED, I keep in touch with my SPRED “special friend”, Matthew, who comes with his Granny Moss (born on the same day as me in 1945 !) to volunteer every Thursday on opening day.  We love having them around.

Below is Donna, one of our US volunteers, with Matthew and his Granny Moss – on a recent KAS volunteer day.  Matt has spent time in hospital since this photograph was taken – he is frail but full of beans always !

Back to Sister Fani, who has been working in Botswana and took some KAS items back there with her on one occasion, to distribute. The children she works with all have special needs.  Sadly, they are treated dismally in rural communities, sometimes just left alone in a hut with water and small amounts of basic food like bread. Sr Fani truly loves these children and has dedicated her life to them.


These photographs show more …

Jess Lovemore, another caring niece in Zimbabwe


Although Jess is currently in Cambodia teaching Vietnamese children English, whilst in Zimbabwe she took Knit-a-Square items to two places. The first few photographs are from a project we are unable to mention by name because of widespread abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe, perpetrated by the government against anyone they feel is trying to "show them up".

However, Jess did write a gruelling report about the woman called Mrs M, who has taken in children who are suffering the worst type of abuse, and, she has been abused herself, many times, as a result.  Children have been forcibly removed from her care on occasions, by “authorities”.

The above blankets and squares went up to Zimbabwe when my Peter was still involved in the export market for his company (sadly this avenue of transport has since closed to KAS) and were received by Tracy (she is Jess's older sister). Unfortunately due to work commitments at the time, Tracy was unable to accompany Jess at the distribution, which involved travelling to rural areas.

These kids actually have shoes on and quite respectable clothes, just the ringworm on the side of the head in the 2nd picture is worrying. There is so much of it in South Africa too. All it needs is the most primary level of healthcare, but these poor little people in Zim have less hope of finding the appropriate care.

Our forefathers were missionary stock and we often say that it tends to come out in the generations that followed..... and perhaps none more so than in our young Jess!

This little pout is fully justified!

As you may all know, Tracy recently visited SA and drove back home to Zimbabwe with a pile of squares for stitching up.  The back of her car was piled high, and sadly she was charged more than USD45 “customs duty” at the border, which we will, of course, reimburse when next she visits us.


Transport to Zimbabwe is problematic so it is with relief that we accept Tracy's ongoing determination to help … so that we can trickle KAS items into Zimbabwe for distribution in the many needy areas she has defined. 


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Replies to This Discussion

Oh wow. I am speechless, I had no idea that their government would actually extract children from a charitable organization. I just don't know what to say.

I do believe in the power of prayer, and ask that anyone who also believes, to please pray for these pitiful children.  There is nothing they can do for themselves, so we need to pray for a wiser and loving community of adults to look after them.  Life can be so difficult for some.  I am so happy to be a member of a large group of folks who truly care.  

I agree, Susan.  It is so heartbreaking to read some of these stories.  We can only offer thanks for people like Sister Fani and Mrs. M and pray that many more like them will come into these children's lives.

Wise words Susan. This non-believer also knows the value of prayer and is praying for a 'wiser and loving community' Roz x

I whole heartedly agree Susan.
The reality of life for so many vulnerable children is heartbreaking, and so unfair. People like Sister Fani, who are committed to loving and caring for these 'special children' need all the support we can offer. Providing warmth and comfort is a small, but very practical way, and KAS folk certainly know how to do this.
When thinking about the plight of the children, I am reminded of a line of a hymn, 'Show us how through care and goodness, fear will die and hope increase'.

This is a really sobering report isn't it?  I thought the children in SA were doing it tough, but the children in Zimbabwe are even worse off as relief items cannot in many cases even reach them.

My heart aches for the one's who are taken by the government from people who genuinely love and care for them, I wonder what happens to them?  They probably end up in overcrowded care centres where they get little if any attention...

Reports like this certainly make me more appreciative of all that I have,  and wish I could give more. At least I know that no matter how little you can give, a large number of other people doing the same can really make a big difference.

I agree with you Wendy.

These pictures and news are sobering, yet hopeful.  Sister Fani grew up in Ljubljana, Slovenia in my home parish - Holy Family.  I mention this because all of the work that we do, be it, working with our hands creating a square or top, picking up the mail in Bryanston, opening and sorting parcels, distributing warm clothing to children; all of these activities make us part of a BIG family where we support and encourage one another in our efforts to help these vulnerable children.   

Very true Mili.  This report is indeed an eye opener on conditions in Zimbabwe.  I have indeed prayed for the children and caregivers there and likely will again.  As you all say, our prayers, our helping hands, our talented fingers, every little bit helps.

Remember the story of all the starfish washed up on the beach after a storm?  A fellow was walking along and picking up one here and one there and tossing them back in.  Another man asked him why he was bothering when there were so many starfish stranded that it couldn't possibly make any difference?

He replied, tossing one back. "It made a difference to that one."

And so it is with KAS.  We make a difference, one child at a time.

Love and hugs to all,

Jeanne :)

How wonderful that you should know Sister Fani Mili!  The world is turning into a village!

This is so inhumane.    I cannot find the words to express my disgust.    Keep up the good work Tracy we are all behind you.




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KAS supplied blankets, hats, handwarmers and toys to over 5,500 children in 2017.  If Ronda’s wishes come true, in 2018 even more children will receive the gift of warmth and love from around the world.

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