By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – David Molaoa’s remarkable journey of recovery in his battle with mental illness is what led him to open his heart to the plight of disadvantaged children and start his work as a community leader who donates school shoes to needy children in his community.
On 1 August he went back to Qwaqwa Combined School where he first started out, this time to donate both school shoes and stationery.
Reverend Rueben Sokane is a former mental health practitioner who used to work at Mufumahadi Manapo hospital. His relationship with Molaoa started in 2006 when Molaoa was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
“David worked for the department of health as a security guard and when he started to show signs of mental illness he was given early retirement. I worked with him for six years when I was still a mental health practitioner.
“I saw quite a remarkable change in David while he was undergoing his treatment with me. People with schizophrenia usually do not make a full recovery but David miraculously came back to his normal functioning. That is why in 2012 the department of health decided to reinstate him as a security guard at Mofumahadi Mahaig Mabolela clinic when he received a clean bill of mental health,” Sokane said.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality, which can be distressing for them and for their family and friends. The symptoms of schizophrenia can make it difficult to participate in usual, everyday activities, but effective treatments are available. Many people who receive treatment can engage in school or work, achieve independence and enjoy personal relationships.
“Growing up without a mother, I was often a victim of abuse and experienced all kinds of hardships. I told myself that I would do everything I could to help disadvantaged children in my community. That is why I donate shoes to schools, and Qwaqwa Combined School is the first school that I donated school shoes and stationery to,” Molaoa said.
Noma Gumi a social worker from Maluti-a-Phofung Community Development has been helping Molaoa with his family problems for more than a decade.
“Today on this first day of August I am here to support David with the work that he does because he is a very remarkable person who donates to vulnerable children, because he knows how it feels to struggle as a person. I am very proud to be here supporting him,” Gumbi said.
Tulani Mdlalose from Golden Gate Highlands National Parks is a former learner of Qwaqwa Combined School and when Molaoa asked him to support his initiative, Mdlaose invited Paddy Gordon the manager of SANPARKS who immediately came on board and donated some stationery to the school.
“This is not the first and last time we at Golden Gate support David. When he asked me to support him I was more than excited because I did my grades 7 and 8 at this school,” Mdlalose said.
“We at Golden Gate do our best to give back to the community but with this wonderful initiative I decided to take money out of my own pocket in support of Mr. Molaoa’s act of kindness,” Gordon said.
“After his miraculous recovery from mental illness, and getting his job back from the department of health Molaoa told me that he would not waste his money on women or alcohol, but he would rather give back to his community. I am here today to support his every endeavor because he has really kept his word and has a very good heart,” Sokane said.
“As the acting Head of Department I am very grateful to be receiving this assistance for our vulnerable children from David Molaoa,” Mosila Ngubeni said.