SELDOM does a university student with prospects of a good career and secure future bother to get involved in thankless community service, but Siphathisiwe Sibanda of Njube high-density suburb in Bulawayo is proving this is not true of everyone.
A third-year student at Lupane State University studying Language and Communication, Sibanda has a rare a passion to give back to the community, even without money, by helping the sick.
Sibanda looks after people living with HIV in her community in Njube — regularly visits the sick, cleans their houses and does laundry for them. She gives them the love and attention they need and even cleans their wounds using gloves she gets from the local clinic in Njube.
Sibanda began her philanthropic initiative five years ago when a member of her community returned from South Africa in a very critical condition and there was no one to look after her. Sibanda devoted her time to taking care of the patient until she fully recovered.
Sibanda became a full-time healthcare facilitator in 2011 devoting her free time to visiting patients at hospitals like Mpilo and Mater Dei in Bulawayo and some local clinics in the community and praying for them.
She sometimes gave away her clothes to orphans at Thembiso Children’s home, in the city.
Securing resources, a major challenge
Sadly, Sibanda’s major challenge has been the financial problems she faces which have hindered her from securing resources she needs to support her home-based care services. Although at times it’s hard for her to obtain gloves and such accessories necessary in cases of contagious illnesses, she uses whatever she can put her hands on to make sure she helps the needy. She tries to manage within her limited financial resources.
Whenever she can, she buys fruits for the patients. She has seen a lot of people getting healed while others have been inspired by her preaching to turn to prayer to seek God’s salvation in their lives.
Most of what she has achieved has been through her own initiatives with the backing of her church, Harvest House International. Njube Clinic at times provides her with basic necessities for her home-based care programme.
Comment from beneficiary
Jonathan Chirwa — Sibanda is a great person who has a gift from God to look after the sick. When I was not well and unable to walk two years ago, she used to bring me food, fruits, clean my wounds and read the Bible for me until the time when I got better and now, I have recovered.
Sibanda is helping other patients by giving them advice necessary to lead to a quick recovery.