Brandon R., Alumni, Christel House South Africa
In 2002, Brandon R. was enrolled in grade 3 at Christel House South Africa (CHSA). He is the second eldest of three children in the family. When Brandon started at Christel House his mother was unemployed and his father was a casual worker at the dockyard in Cape Town. Many people queued at the dockyard for casual work, and therefore his father made sure that he reached the dockyard at four o’clock every morning to try and be employed for the day. Some days he was fortunate to be employed, and other days when there was no work for him, he would try and find any scrap in the community to sell so that food could be provided for supper.
Mrs. R. is extremely grateful to Christel House because in those trying times, they did not have to be concerned about breakfast, school fees, snacks or school clothes for Brandon. She says if it was not for CHSA then Brandon could have become a ‘drop out’ because of their financial situation.
In 2012, Mr. and Mrs. R. were both employed for six years, but on July 10, 2012 the family faced a traumatic ordeal when Brandon answered a knock on their door. He was faced with two gangsters who forced their way into their house and Brandon had to flee because they randomly fired shots at him. When Mrs. R. ran out of her bedroom to protect her two daughters, the gangsters shot her (in her right leg) several times, and shot and killed his father. The gangsters had chosen the wrong house by mistake.
Mrs. R. was hospitalized for a few months and her right leg had to be amputated. The family then moved in with her brother. Brandon’s youngest sister, Amy, is currently at Christel House in grade 7, and their mother regards CHSA as a huge support as Amy is receiving free education; and now that she is once more unemployed, she does not have to worry about Amy’s schooling at all.
Brandon says that the Christel House core values: respect, responsibility, integrity and independence, that he repeated every day in grade 3, made a difference in his life. His way of thinking differs from other young people his age because he says, “Christel House taught me that there is a world out there where I can achieve many things that seem impossible in my community. I am not afraid to travel; I can become and live my dream in life. There was a time in grade 10 when I wanted to leave school because of our financial situation, but I was motivated by Christel House to make a success of my life. The guidance counsellor forwarded my curriculum vitae for a hospitality learnership at Table Mountain (which started in June 2012), and before the end of this learnership she forwarded my curriculum vitae to the Mount Nelson Hotel for an internship. Another dream came true in April 2013, when I started a hospitality internship at the luxurious five star hotel, the Mount Nelson, in Cape Town. I matriculated in 2011, but Christel House gave me hope after the sad loss of my father with their continuous support, and due to this internship I am able to help to sustain our family.”(As told by Brandon R. to Esmeralda P., CHSA Work-Study Coordinator)
Brandon and his mom