It was a disheartening situation to be in. Her mother had passed. Social workers had taken her from her capable aunt. Her well-being was in the hands of inept caregivers. And some days would pass without a single meal. But Tinyiko Gwambe had always known life without arms would be a fight.
She was 15 and living in a small town in Limpopo when her way of life changed. Her mom died and social workers took her away from her aunt who had made caring for Tiny her life. Since they failed to understand her need, Tiny was moved from one caregiver to another until she was finally placed her with her father.
“It was difficult dealing with the loss of my mom and dealing with complicated family dynamics. I felt that no one was looking out for me and I felt really alone,” said Tiny.
Her situation inspired a purpose within her to help other in predicaments such as her own. She would become a social worker who could ensure no one else found themselves lost in the system or overlooked as she felt she had been.
“I would be a part of the solution and empower others regardless of their disability,” she said.
From a young age Tiny had been resolved not to be limited by her disability and to turn her trials into opportunities. Knowing she would have to overcome bigger obstacles than those faced by able-bodied people, she used each one as motivation to live her best life as she believed God had envisioned.
“I pushed myself to do more, I found gratitude in exceeding people’s expectations of me and through scripture found the confidence to chase my dreams,” Tiny said.
She started studying towards a degree in Social Work at the University of Pretoria after being reunited with her aunt in 2015. Next year she hopes to do her masters. However, she relies on her sister, boyfriend and hassle-filled public transport to get around.
In a bid for her independence, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on BackaBuddy to fundraise towards getting Tiny a specialised vehicle from the UK. The vehicle would also assist her mobility when she lands her first job as a social worker doing field work.
“To do my job more effectively and even make it to lectures for the time being, I will need to rely on myself. Once this obstacle is overcome, I will be able to utilize my skill set and serve my community to the best of my ability. I really hope the public will support my BackaBuddy campaign,” said Tiny.
So far the campaign has raised R7309.40 out of the goal of R350 000.
To support Tiny in raising funds for her specialized vehicle by donating here: