We have recently lost Therese, our Manager at Ngwino Nawe. This is David’s (CEO) tribute to her, which was read out at her funeral. She will be sorely missed by the whole RA team and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this sad time.
‘I first met Therese in 2008. We were looking to help children living with disability in the area and Patrick Kalisa told us that he knew of a small organisation in the village of Ntendezi which was doing some wonderful work for such children.
When we arrived for our visit we were surprised to find the children housed in a disused petrol station. The facilities were not very good – just a few broken beds with grubby mattresses – but what was obvious to us right away was that the people running this little centre really cared for the children – they worked tirelessly night and day for very little material reward. Their leader, Therese, had her own daughter with disability and this is clearly what had inspired her to help others
We decided we would like to help build this project up and we set up in partnership with Therese. We are now very proud to see the centre caring for some eighty children, many of them being able to access main stream schooling.
Therese had a very strong personality and this is why she achieved so much. At times she could be difficult to work with, and she and I had some rare old arguments, but despite this, I admired her enormously: for a start she had a great sense of humour and often the arguments would end with a laugh and a hug; she was formidably determined and was a real pioneer fighting for children with disability when often they had been neglected or abandoned; she had a very big heart and she really cared about disadvantaged and disabled children – it seemed to me that the children at NN werealways very happy; and she won the respect and loyalty of her staff some of whom have worked with her from the very beginning of the project.
I know that the hearts of all the staff and all the children and all the family will be heavy with sorrow today and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
You should be very proud of Therese. Not only did she help hundreds of children individually, but she has also opened the eyes of the community to the fact that if we give children living with disability the support that they need, then many of them will be able benefit from education and training and go on to live wonderfullyfulfilled and independent lives.
This is a rare achievement and the wonderful legacy of a truly great lady.’
21 October 2018
Therese with our trustee, Emma Messias.