Siblings on South African adventure gain Lundie award

Four members of the same family have been named Lundie Memorial Award winners.

Siblings Phoebe, 15, Zoey, 12, Elon, eight, and four-year-old Gideon Leung were all nominated by the Revd Angela Rigby, Minister of Christ Church URC in Tonbridge.

Although, Christ Church is the family’s home church they are currently living in iKhethelo Children’s Village in Kwazulu-Natal South Africa.

iKhethelo Children’s Village is a registered nonprofit organisation which provides care for orphans and vulnerable children deemed by South African courts as children at risk of high levels of poverty, crime, unemployment, substance abuse, sexual and physical abuse, HIV and AIDS. The goal of the village is to nurture the children and give them hope and help equip them to lead happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.

Phoebe, Zoey, Elon and Gideon, along with their parents, are involved with the care of the 50 children who live at Ikhethelo, with the four siblings being mostly involved during school holidays.

Angela said: “We enjoy hearing about the things they are up to, and we are encouraged by their stories of how they have shared God’s love to children who have experienced trauma in their lives. We nominated all four siblings as they work together as a team.”

Elon and Gideon have made many friends at iKhethelo, spending time playing and searching for insects which has helped widen the imagination skills of the other.

During the school year, Phoebe and Zoey help with the homework club each day by sitting and reading with the children. During the school holidays they also help with the under-fives doing crafts and with games with the older children.

Angela further explained that whenever the siblings’ parents are helping the village to either get water by lifting the pipe above their heads, teaching the children how to turn wasteland into a gardening plot, or running a film club, Phoebe, Zoey, Gideon and Elon are there to lend a hand and often get involved.

The siblings expressed their surprise at being January’s Lundie award recipients but said that “it meant a lot to them to be recognised in this way but that they are just doing God’s work”. They went on to say that “it’s been an amazing opportunity for them to experience a different culture and way of life”.

When asked what advice they would give another young person considering being involved in the life of the church, Zoey and Phoebe said: “Just try and go for it, you won’t know until you try. It’s good to help others no matter how big or small that might be.”

When asked of the support received from the family’s hometown in Tonbridge Kent, the siblings’ mum Lois said: “Our church in Tonbridge have been amazing, they support us with prayer which we are so grateful for, and they also support us financially.

“We feel very blessed by each church member and their support for us. They are very special to us. Their love and care have no ends for our family we are truly blessed by them being on our side helping us do God’s work.”

Each recipient of the Lundie award receives £100 to be used wherever the young people feel it is best used. Phoebe explained they will likely share it between their home Christ Church in Tonbridge and the children’s village where they currently live.

Learn how to make a Lundie Memorial Award nomination.