It was February last year when my brother Vuyo, who was in grade 5 at the time, came back from school upset. One day, concerned, our mother asked what was bothering him.

“People from that school have no heart!”

His answer caught us by surprise.

There is a girl, Bongeka in his class who is quite poor. So other kids constantly pick on her, tease her, make jokes of her, call her names and she is treated badly, even by the teachers. He was worried that Bongeka gave the impression that she’s not a nice girl which could be due to being constantly bullied.

For many days Vuyo came home from school upset about the fact that Bongeka gets bullied so much. He also mentioned that she had no proper uniform or school supplies as her granny could not afford them. At school, Bongeka constantly borrowed a calculator and other supplies from him, which just gave kids even more reason to pick on her.

One night, Vuyo was extremely upset about this situation, so much so that we had a family meeting that evening and discussed the situation in great detail.

“Mom, I am willing to cancel my school tour if need be. So we can use that money to buy her supplies,” Vuyo said with his calm voice.

He was obviously touched by her situation but mom didn’t entertain his idea. We devised a plan for Vuyo to engage Bongeka in a conversation and for him to ask what she needed for supplies.

The next day Vuyo spent some time with Bongeka and really came to realize that the young lady had a heart of gold. But she rarely was able to show it because she was always on the defensive. Vuyo asked Bongeka if she needed supplies and if she could make a list for him and he would bring in extra supplies that he had at home for her. She put together a small list: a calculator, 2 pens, a pencil, rubber and a pencil sharpener. Vuyo told her he would try by all means to help and she was appreciative.

Saturday morning, Mom, Vuyo and I made our way to the store where we bought everything on her list, including a new uniform and shoes. Vuyo mentioned that she needed a ruler because the one she had was blank with no numbers. So we added that to the list too. When we got home we put all the supplies into a brand new pink back pack because Bongeka did not have one either.

On Monday, our mother brought the bag to the school principal and explained the situation. She asked the principal to give the bag to Bongeka discreetly after school, so that she did not have to feel embarrassed.

Later that day, Vuyo was all smiles. The principal had called Bongeka down to his office and gave her the bag. Bongeka read the little note that Vuyo had put inside, hoping that she had everything that she needed and she would appreciate the supplies.

The following day, as Bongeka walked into the classroom, all eyes were glued to her and she loved it!

Vuyo said that it was so cute watching her smile as she pulled her back pack and took out her pens. She seemed very happy. To see Bongeka and her granny in our home, as they came to thank our mother, was a good feeling. We knew we had made a difference in someone’s life.