I would like to share with you, stories of two young girls who experienced difficulty in the hands of their mothers. One triumphed and one let herself down.

These girl's names are Neo and Dada.

Neo is a neighbour's daughter, one day a neighbour of mine whose also a friend, told me that Neo had some problems and that she would like to share them with me. I agreed and we met at the neighbour's house. Neo and me, generally she was a teenager who was troubled, she loved boys, like any teen and I think in her case, she was excessive, in her love for boys. She was too sexually active for my liking and in most cases there is an underlying cause to that. Neo related her story to me in tears.

She told me how abusive her mother was towards her and how her mother prefered her brother to her, a fact that we all were aware of, Neo had a learning disability and she was taken off mainstream education and referred to a vocational school, were I understand she was to learn carpentry. While at that School, she met a boy, whom she ended up staying with. Her mother together with the neighbour in whose house Neo and I met, went to fetch Neo from that boys home. Apparently the mother told the boy's family that they can have Neo permanently and stay with her, and the family refused and were astonished as to how callous can a mother be.

To cut a long story short, I organised Counselling for Neo and by this time, she had a baby. They offered to remove Neo from her home and place her in a shelter for single abused girls and women. Neo stayed for only a week there, I went there almost everyday to check on her and on this particular day, when I got there, I was told she has left to stay with the father of her baby(they had broken up at this stage) I was just a few minutes late.

Neo came back home some months later and at that time, we were not in good terms with her family because they were blaming me for Neo's disappearance. I later discovered that Neo was HIV positive. Then comes Dada's story; one day after a Workshop I had organised at Church, Dada approached me and asked to talk to me. When we sat down, she also told me a very sad story about her home life, how abusive her family was towards her. Her mother would often assign one of her brothers to beat her. And she often beat her personally, one evening she came to my place and asked to spend a night, after relating another sad story of abuse.

The next morning, I called her uncle and he came and took her back home. Later that week she came to see me with a black eye and told me that she was not going to School, she only went with her mother on Tuesday of that week to report the reason of her absence. At some stage she went to our Parish Priest to ask him to intervene, the Priest found Dada to be in the wrong and said her family was a good family that attended Church regularly. I was also in the red with her family and I stood my ground. On Christmas day of that year Dada ran away, she went to her grandmother's place and stayed with her, her mother tried to get her back, but failed, the maternal grandmother refused for Dada to go back to her mother.

We kept in touch with her until she finished her Matric in 2011. Unfortunately she lost her phone and we are no longer in contact and I can't ask her mother because, I have decided that, this is a issue we can never discuss amicably.

Neo, is employed as a dust bin cleaner, I am reluctant to be involved again with her, as I have realised that what's important to her it's boys. I would like to get in contact with Dada, for she had displayed a genuine need to finish School and make something of her life, she had a determined certainty about her. This is what basically cause girls in my Community to have difficulty in attaining education. Some parents lack to communicate with their children and others put the blame of breaking up with their fathers, by become punching bags.

It is very important for both parents to be involved in a child's life, so that there would be a balance in that child's life. Even if the parents aren't married or rather contribute towards the child's upbringing and education.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Girls Transform the World 2013.


Your story of these two very contrasting experiences is compelling to read for sure. I confess that I feel sorry for both of them and hope that a better future can be realized for them through the help of people like you.


It may seem as if I don't care, but my heart bleeds for these two girls, especially Neo, she has just been kicked out of her home and ordered to build a shck outside and she had to build it herself.

I am a mother myself and I have chosen to help the helpless young girls. I'm just figuring what to do.

Thanks for your encouragement.


A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

I find both of the stories quite sad. Why do you say that one of the girls triumphed while the other let herself down? I think the stories are still unfolding, there are not finished and both girls are still trying to find their way. I agree, though, that different motivations seem to drive them and for one of them maybe the motivations are healthier on a long run. They are also different characters involved in different situations, so it gets hard to compare. I think in both cases, as you point out, counseling would be beneficial but not enough. A healthy family life implies all members involved in the upbringing of the children. And no preferences of a child at the expense of the other/s - that is just sad... Thank you for the stories!

I understand where you are coming from, my heart bleeds for both girls, more so Neo. I say Dada triumphed because, she beat all odds to attain her Matric, despite her family being abusive and aggressive towards her.

Neo, in all the limitations, her family against her, being a slow learner, chose the world and that broke my heart. I so much want to help her, but the problem is that I am tentative to do so unless she completely commits to being helped. And it's not easy for both of them to fully commit to being helped because their families are against them instead of being there for them.

I would appreciate any ideas as to how to deal with these two girls, especially Neo. As we speak, she has been kicked out of the main house and ordered to build herself a shack outside in the yard. What kind of the mother takes preference of a stranger over her own child. Neo's case is really heart breaking.

Thanks for your input, God bless you.


A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.

Oh, I'm so sorry! Things seem to be getting worse and worse. I honestly wouldn't know what advice to give...it's such a complex situation! On the one hand, she needs help immediately, on the other she doesn't mobilize herself to get out of the situation, and her family is mistreating her so badly. The social system clearly needs a deep reformation so as to protect vulnerable people like her. She would need a psychologist, a safe place to sleep, therapy and instruction to keep her going, and even all this might be insufficient. It depends on a case-by-case basis. I am very saddened to hear she is doing worse. She is caught in a vicious circle and I fear that if she doesn't find the strength from within, she will comply everlastingly.

I completely understand your position Antonia, what frustrates me, it's that her family it's so inconsiderate and they just don't care to know otherwise.

They feel exactly as you say, that she simply needs to comply. But to what extent?

It's very sad when a mother does this to her own child. Tough love works, but not when it's blind to a person who has special needs. No one chooses what type of child one needs to have, it's all up to God and in this case I hope He intervenes.

God bless your soul.


A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others throw at her. Author Unkown.