In 2000 Mam Lillian started visiting the homes of parents with HIV to ensure the children were cared for. Soon she started taking in the orphans and caring for them full-time.


Every day Tembisa community leader, Mam Lilian, rises with the sun and checks in on the children who have sought out her care.

Then she heads to the kitchen of her Ebony Park home and starts to make huge pots of porridge to serve everyone. Lilian doesn’t have much, but she makes do with what she has. Sometimes the electricity runs out at Reagola Home, her house‐turned‐care centre. But she carries on. She’s carried on for 18 years.

Mam Lillian is an unsung everyday hero who goes above and beyond to make sure that orphaned children get the love and care that they deserve. She has dedicated her retirement years to caring for others in need. Not only does she focus on orphaned children, she also assists destitute elderly in her neighbourhood.

“I started doing house‐to‐house visits in 2000 for parents who were HIV positive and couldn’t get adequate medical care. And I started looking after their children after they had passed. That’s how I started looking after people,” says Mam Lilian.

As the need for care increased with the number of children left alone after their parents’ deaths, Lilian began reaching out to fellow community leaders. Many came forward with food parcels and other supplies, including retailer Teljoy, who sought to assist where they could.

“These children would end up going to school on empty stomachs and they would be so hungry that they’d faint. So I asked others in the area to help me feed them and started taking soup and other foods to the schools to feed them,” says Mam Lilian.

Today, Lilian feeds and clothes about 160 elderly people and 300 children. People from Kaalfontein, Ivory Park, and Ebony Park have come knocking at her door. She assists with everything from feeding them to giving them clothes or blankets.

And she acknowledges that it’s through the kindness and generosity of those around her that she’s able to continue helping people. Her determined selflessness is why South African retailer Teljoy made Mam Lilian the focus of their outreach efforts. They assist her regularly and decided to give her a big surprise for Mandela Day.

“We returned to Reagola Home today because Mam Lilian’s generosity is the true embodiment of Madiba,” says Teljoy CEO Rami Sassen. “She’s something of an unsung hero. Mam Lilian just quietly plugs along in helping those who need her most and this is Teljoy’s small way of honouring that.”

Sassen and his team handed over a huge collection of foodstuffs and household products.

“When I see that I can help and that it does help people, that motivates me,” says Mam Lilian. “That’s how I keep going.”

Sources: Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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