When Leyla was 12 months old she was violently raped and left in a dustbin to die. Leyla suffers from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which is permanent brain damage due to pre natal exposure to alcohol. Her mother was so drunk when she gave birth to her that she didn’t even know she’d given birth.
Due to the FASD, Leyla has many learning difficulties and was classified as ‘unteachable’ by the pre-school that she used to attend. Leyla came to Amathemba school in 2010, a project started by Home of Hope specifically for children like her; who, due to suffering from FASD, was not able to cope in mainstream schools.
The progress she has made since coming to Amathemba is truly remarkable. The child that we were told was ‘unteachable’ is now reading and writing. She also loves children and even volunteers on Saturdays helping as an assistant for an organisation that runs first aid courses.
Her foster mother says, “When Leyla was 2 years old I had to take her to the doctor who told me she had Sexually Transmitted Diseases. I can’t believe 10 years on how well she is doing. For many years she couldn’t speak properly and now she speaks both English and Afrikaans well. I am so proud of her”.