A Birth that Gave Life to No Identity

We shared with you, Demolishing Elderly Isolation, the story of *Shahieda whose future became very uncertain when her live-in-domestic services were no longer needed, and the property she lived in was being demolished.

Can you imagine finding yourself homeless at the age of 67?

Shahieda has experienced more than her fair share of trauma – we found out, through the process of trying to assist her with an ID, that she is NOT on the Home Affairs system, rendering her ineligible to access ANY support from SASSA.

She is a product of a system that many do not speak about. Adopted as a child, the records inaccessible to her due to the nature and reasons for the adoption. Her welcome into this world was harsh, and now this continues to haunt her – this shadow of her past, preventing her from accessing a more sheltered future. It seems that her dignity was taken away from her long before she entered this world.

How do we even begin to restore this imbalance? We reach out to our partners and we do not give up. We support our fieldworker, Tasneem Hoosain-Fielies as she continues to hold Shahieda’s hand and leave no stone unturned.

Watching Shahieda carry her few belongings as she walked through the gates of “Our House” last week marks the beginning of her restorative and dignified journey. Teamwork fuelled by passionate compassion.

We now hope that the application for her daughter’s unabridged birth certificate will provide the key that will unlock access to government support services – a SASSA grant, for which a South African ID is needed.

*not her real name