What started as a simple request for baby clothes turned into a life-changing meeting. Melissah asked for clothes and Simonne came to the rescue in more ways than Melissah could have dreamed.


Melissah Mfema posted a request for some baby clothes on the “I Love Fourways” Facebook Group back in 2017. Simonne Solarsh saw the post and set up a meeting with Melissah to drop off the baby clothes.

When Simonne arrived she didn’t expect that Melissah would be blind. She was completely moved by the dedicated and loving mom’s spirit and zest for life. This meeting sparked a thought in Simonne’s mind and she set out to see how she could help improve Melissah’s life and give her the chance to see her baby for the first time.

Simonne set out to find a solution and thanks to a local doctor, a glimmer of hope started to sparkle and grow. Simonne set up an appointment with Dr Stoler and the two women, Melissah’s husband Justin and their two daughters all met at the Mcdonalds in Rivonia. They spoke with the talented photographer and writer from “I Have A Name” and then set off to meet the doctor.

It was during this chat that Melissah’s life story was shared.

“I was born in Zimbabwe, my eyesight was poor and I always had to sit very close to the board and put my face down close to my page to see and write. I had eye irritation and allergies and my mom would take me to the clinic for drops and for regular checkups. When my mom passed my father stopped taking me and told me that I needed to stop complaining about my eyes. Over the years my eye sight got progressively worse and I now have no vision in one eye, and I can see slight moving shapes with the other.

In 2013 I was working as a cashier in Zimbabwe, but times were rough, money was nonexistent, and I decided to come to South Africa to find work. I found work as a waitress in a lounge in Yoville. The clientele were a rough bunch and I would work until 2 am and walk back to my flat in the dark. That’s when I met Justin.”

A love blossomed between the pair as they walked home each night, Justin always making sure Melissah got home safely.

“I was working as a security guard, and I would watch Melissah walking home in the early hours of the morning. The streets are not safe, especially at night, and I was worried about her safety.”

They were married in 2014 and now have two beautiful little girls. Natalia is two and a half, and Nadia who is now a year old.

Since the meeting in the MacDonalds, Dr Stoler has examined her and told her that there is a much less invasive procedure he could do that would help her regain some sight in both eyes. Originally it was thought that she would require a full cornea transplant.

This was welcomed news and what made it even better, the procedure would be done pro-bono. On the 16th of August Dr Stoler and Dr Maleka will operate on Melissa at the CGE surgical rooms in Rivonia. However, the medicines needed after the surgery would be a big expense. Simonne asked the “I Have A Name” photographer to help her set up a crowdfund to raise the money needed for the medicines.

They worked out that they would need a total for R20,000 to cover everything for the next 6 months. With the crowdfund set up, they started sharing the story and to everyone’s delight, they hit their R20k target. They managed to go just over the amount needed for the medicine. Anything extra will go towards transport to and from the doctor’s rooms, loss of income as she recovers and groceries for the family.

Melissah heard the news of the successful crowdfunding campaign and had this to say…

“I thank everyone for all your efforts, care and kindness. Please don’t get tired. Its been almost 14 years of my life I hoped and prayed for this moment. It’s like I’m being born again, starting a new life. You guys are sooooo fantastic you have changed my life for the better.

To Simonne, I thank you so much you have been like a Mother sent from above. You have done so much to make this possible. I hope this is the beginning of a much stronger relationship that will not end even after the operation.

Thank you so much”

Everyone has the power to change a life, this is evident in what started as one mom helping another, turned into an incredible story of love and friendship. You can see the crowdfund information here if you would like to contribute to the transport and food costs for the family over the next 6 months.

We wish Melissah all the best for her coming surgery and hope to share an update with you all soonest.

Sources: I Have A Name
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About the Author

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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