Rotary Club gifts mobility and transforming life on women's day

Samantha Mhlanga receives a wheelchair from Rotarians George Senosha, Octavia Ephraim, and Fernando Da Silva.

Samantha Mhlanga receives a wheelchair from Rotarians George Senosha, Octavia Ephraim, and Fernando Da Silva.

Published Mar 13, 2024


In an inspiring show of solidarity and compassion, the Rotary Club of Germiston stepped forward to make a significant difference in the life of 22-year-old Samantha Mhlanga, a talented sign language interpreter living with a disability in Pretoria West.

Mhlanga's life was transformed on March 8, 2024, a date that not only marked International Women's Day, but also coincided with the poignant anniversary of the passing of Octavia Ephraim's sister, who had also used a wheelchair.

The journey to this heart-warming act of kindness began when Octavia Ephraim, Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalist 2024 and a dedicated Child Welfare Tshwane Ambassador, learned of Samantha's dire need for a wheelchair to enhance her mobility and independence.

Recognising the urgent need to support Samantha, Octavia contacted District Governor Elect George Senosha of District 9400, a prominent figure within the Rotary International community and a Member of the Rotary Club of Waterkloof known for his commitment to service and humanitarian efforts.

Senosha, moved by Mhlanga's story and Ephraim's passionate plea, enlisted the help of Fernando Da Silva, a member of the Rotary Club of Germiston. Da Silva, embodying his club’s motto: “Rotary at Work, People of Action”, within a week of being requested, swiftly coordinated the efforts to secure a wheelchair for Samantha, who was disabled due to an accident.

Ephraim is also a Human trafficking Activist, especially advocating for children. She mentioned that the new trend for trafficking is that the traffickers target vulnerable, disabled young girls to be used as sex slaves for child farming.

Child farming is a practice where rich infertile people who do not want to adopt children legally kidnap disabled girls, get them pregnant and then ‘harvest’ the babies from these trafficked girls. That's why the story of Samatha propelled her to act promptly so that she wouldn't fall prey to this heinous crime and modern slavery.

Mhlanga’s response to her benefactors' generosity was overwhelming gratitude and joy. "I am so happy and grateful to God for providing me with angels like these who saw and responded to my plea.

“Now I can be mobile and help others even less fortunate than me through my interpretation skills," she said, visibly moved by the kindness shown to her.

Da Silva, Senosha, and Ephraim's sentiments echo a collective recognition of the profound impact of empathy, community support, and the willingness to help those in need. Da Silva's joy in seeing Mhlanga's happiness reminds us of the deep human connection that motivates the Rotary Club's mission.

Senosha praised the generosity of Rotarians and the spirit of service that transcends geographical boundaries, stating, "When I see Rotarians willing to help people who are not even in their club’s jurisdiction, it confirms my faith in the goodness of humanity."

Ephraim reflected on the collaborative effort and the importance of community support, highlighting how working together can address and overcome challenges.

"It shows how holding hands to solve our challenges is the best way to live," she remarked, underscoring the value of unity and compassion in making a difference in the lives of others.

The March 8 also marks the collaborative launch of the Wheelchair Drive by the Rotary Club of Waterkloof and Rotary Community Corps, which aims to reach the wider challenged community. Anyone wishing to donate to this drive can email Senosha at [email protected].

This heartwarming story of Mhlanga's life-changing gift on International Women's Day serves as a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of collective action and the enduring spirit of generosity that defines Rotary International and its members.

Pretoria News