When one and half year old Pamela was brought into the court to be placed in the safe-keeping of Bernie and Donovan Jones, the judge ordered a ten minute break to air out the room. She was covered head to toe in dried faeces so hard it looked like her clothing had been starched and it took three days to get rid of the smell.
She had just been found in the bushes around Red Hill near Scarborough in Cape Town, after surviving on her own for a week. She was starving and de-hydrated, and covered in sores and scars.
Pamela had been placed with her aunt and uncle because her alcoholic parents were unable to take care of her, and, unbelievably, her new guardians had not noticed that she had wandered off. It is heart-breaking to imagine the fear and confusion the toddler must have been through before she was found. Pamela has now been part of the Safe House family for 6 years.
Today she is a bright, engaging and giggling Grade 2 student, and whenever she faces any challenges, Bernie reminds her that she was born a fighter.