Building a world of smiles

From left, Dintle Mtsi and Ndiphiwe Mhlongo, 31, founder of outreach organisation, Team Lee, at a congenital heart defect awareness event in East London.
From left, Dintle Mtsi and Ndiphiwe Mhlongo, 31, founder of outreach organisation, Team Lee, at a congenital heart defect awareness event in East London.
Image: SUPPLIED

Ndiphiwe Mhlontlo, who lost his son Liyema in 2015, chose to establish the Team Lee Foundation to honour his child's memory rather than retreat into his shell to grieve.

The non-profit organisation spreads joy and hope to children in need around SA.

From its small beginnings in Komani, the Team Lee Foundation now also has  branches in East London, Makhanda, Mthatha, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit, Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

“Instead of mourning my son’s death, my friends decided that we should celebrate his life. Our first task was to visit hospitals, the first being Cecilia Makiwane Hospital where Liyema took his last breath,” Mhlontlo said.

The organisation undertakes a number of awareness campaigns, such as the one about congenital heart defects at Frere and Cecilia Makiwane hospitals.

“We are looking to expand our campaigns at other hospitals in the province. We are working on a mental health awareness campaign, as well as a child abuse campaign and a rape awareness campaign, through our  Bloemfontein branch.”

The aim of my organisation is to bring smiles to children who need them most. Many children find themselves in situations that they didn’t put themselves in

The organisation hosts a “Christmas in October” event and undertakes visits at special needs schools.

In addition, Mhlontlo  holds motivational talks and stages career guidance campaign for children in Cacadu and surrounding areas.

“The aim of my organisation is to bring smiles to children who need them most. Many children find themselves in situations that they didn’t put themselves in. We want to create a cradle of hope, showing them that although they are in hospitals, care centres or orphanages, there are people who care for them and love them,” Mhlontlo said.

As if this wasn't enough, the Team Lee Foundation is busy with an agricultural project for youth to prevent them from pursuing criminal activities or abusing substances.

Mhlontlo also recently donated 100 scarves, face masks and beanies to children in Komani, as part of the organisation's winter drive.

“Team Lee seeks to build a world of smiles for young children. The foundation aims to assist the young to overcome  obstacles and create a world of hope, dreams and possibilities.

“My 10-year plan is to build an orphanage where it’s really needed. Anything that will bring happiness to a child is what I would love to do,” he said. — DispatchLIVE



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