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Children of Fire Unmask Internet Scams

Italy April 2012

Sizwe crticia Nigeriani dishonesti

"Non e bravura a rubare quello che appartiene a i bambini. I bambini devono essere protetti."

Sizwe e un bambino Sud Africano che e un cuoco e un cantante. Il suo nome significa "il popolo" e questo bambino di undici anni e pieno di speranza per un buon futuro.
Quando aveva un anno e stato salvato dalla morte da un gruppo di carita che si chiama Bambini di Fuoco. Questo gruppo e stato formato nel 2002.
Ecco la storia di Sizwe... Quando lui aveva solo un anno la sua madre la bagnato con la paraffina e poi a preso un fiamiferro e a bruciato il suo figlio. Il bambino a sofferto terribilmente e le bruciature sulla sua faccia e le sue braccia e mani erano molto severe. La societa Bambini del Fuoco dice che uno in tre bambini che e salvato da loro e stato bruciato deliberatamente.
Sizwe e fortunato perche e ancora vivo ma le brucciature hanno disfigurato la sua faccia, le sue orrechie, la sua testa, il braccio destro e la mano destra. Sizwe e stato tante volte a l'ospedale per piu di diciotto operazioni per aiutarlo a guarire.
Il gruppo, Bambini del Fuoco hanno chiesto a tanti ospedali per aiuto ma non chi sono piu tanti specialisti in Sud Africa e pochi che vogliono aiutare.
Doppo cosi tante operazioni questo bambino e ancora coraggioso e pieno di speranza. Lui ha perdonato la sua mama per quello che ha fatto e vuole che lei gli chiede scusa un giorno.
Ma come tutti bambini e un bambino normale che sogna di diventare un pilota quando e un adulto. Gli piace molto cucinare per gli altri bambini, nuota volentieri e balla. A scuola gli piace fare la matematica.
In 2009 i Bambini di Fuoco sono stati vittime di un inganno che due Nigeriani hanno messo insieme. Questi due Nigeriani sono un uomo che si chiama Courage Okiemute, e che ha 28 anni e una donna che si chiama Imuwuahen Faith Ahanon che ha 33 anni. I Nigeriani sono nati a Benin ma vivono in nord Italia.
Loro hanno rubato linformazione su l'internet su il gruppo Bambini di Fuoco. Hanno aperto due conti in Italia, uno a Torino e uno a Milano dove la gente poteva dare soldi per questo istituto di carita. Fortunatamente, un citadino Canadese a capito che questo era un inganno e ha informato Bambini di Fuoco immediatamente.
Gli Italiani sono stati bravissimi. I'ambasciata Italiana in Sud Africa, la polizia Italiana e i giornalisti Italiani sono stati fantastici. Hanno arrestato i due Nigeriani, hanno confiscato due computer e hanno chiuso i conti alle banche a Torino e Milano.
Finalmente, quest anno, al 18 April 2012, Bambini di Fuoco incontreranno questi due Nigeriani al tribunale in Vericelli. Sizwe sara li a incontrare questi due e lui pensa che devono essere messi in prigione perche hanno rubato soldi che sono stati donati a bambini che hanno gia sofferto tanto dolore.
In Sud Africa Sizwe e famoso perche ha fatto reclam per Bambini di Fuoco alla televisione. Ha anche viagiatto in tutto il mondo per Bambini di Fuoco. Quest anno andra in Italia a Vericelli e a Milano. Andra anche a Londra quest anno.
Il internet indirrizzo di Bambini di Fuoco e firechildren@icon.co.za.

Straight-talking Sizwe to tackles Nigerian fraudsters

"It is not brave at all to steal from children. Children need protecting."

Meet Sizwe, or as we call him, the Singing Chef! His name means "the nation" and the energetic 11 year old is full of hopes and plans for a bright future. He has been in the care of Children of Fire, a unique charity dedicated to the medical care and rehabilitation of child burn survivors, since 2002.
Sizwe was doused in paraffin and set afire by his biological mother when he was about a year old. One in three of the children that the charity helps, have been burned intentionally.
Although Sizwe survived the abuse, he suffered severe burns to his face, scalp, ears, left arm and left hand. Since the injury Sizwe has been in and out of the hospital. He needed surgery to avoid being more disfigured and disabled.
Children of Fire negotiated hard with hospitals and doctors for the necessary reconstruction.
It was a battle from the beginning, because there are declining numbers of surgeons in South Africa and only a small number who are willing or able to help.
The first time Sizwe was prepared for hand surgery as a tiny toddler, he was needlessly starved for 20 hours while the private sector surgeon in Milpark Hospital decided to put an older paying patient first.
Having the audacity to complain about his poor treatment, the little boy was then made to wait another six months for any help at all.
In August 2004 Sizwe finally had a z-plasty on his left arm and a groin flap for his left hand, where his hand was put inside his little body for skin to grow over it.
Z-plasty is where doctors cut "Z" shapes in the skin, folding skin into the pointed cuts to "release" too tight skin.
This surgery was at Johannesburg General Hospital by Dr Roger Nicholson.
Then Sizwe was operated under the expert scalpel of Dr Alistair Lamont at Carstenhof Clinic. His too-long earlobe was folded into its correct position and a sliver of skin from behind the ear was borrowed, to place in his burned cheek.
Another operation at Johannesburg General by a too-young doctor, put dark groin skin under Sizwe's lip. This was removed by Dr Lamont two years later.
In September 2006 Sizwe was taken to Hearing and Balance Clinic at Garden City Clinic, where it was discovered that he had some hearing loss; this is caused by ototoxic antibiotics when he was first in intensive care.
In May 2007, his left eyelid was improved. The objective of much of his surgery was to that he could smile and close his eyes like other children.
He had neck skin placed under his lip, ear cartilage placed in his nostril, and tissue expanders placed in his scalp. Tissue expanders are expensive medical balloons that stretch hair-bearing skin to restore the hairline.
Sizwe has an expander in his scalp now (April 2012) and it will be injected with saline (salt water) to stretch the hair over several months. During that time, he cannot play rugby with his big brother Tristan, because expanders get damaged too easily.
Sizwe has had at least 18 operations and more medical appointments than he can remember. The bravery that Sizwe has shown throughout the painful surgeries and recoveries are a testament to his indomitable spirit.

Sizwe has never allowed the prejudice against him to limit his enthusiasm for life. When Sizwe first started at the Mimosa Montessori (kindergarten) in Auckland Park, South Africa, a little girl was disturbed by his appearance and started to cry. It did not occur to Sizwe that he was the cause of her alarm; he ran up to her to give a big hug of comfort. As he grew older he started to understand negative public reactions but tries to ignore them. He has even accepted how he was injured and says, pragmatically: "One day my brown mummy must say "sorry"."
A kind boy raised in a kind home, Sizwe takes food to the homeless men behind the Shell garage in Melville, toys to share with children in the closest shanty town and he leads and feeds his blind handless sister Dorah.
He swims well, dances and enjoys playing the piano.
Sizwe would really really love a hand surgeon to operate on his left hand so that he could play the piano better. He plays and sings Adele songs.
He applied to the Drakensburg Boys' Choir School three years ago but was denied entrance due to his appearance.
Sizwe takes pleasure in cooking. He helps to make chicken korma, potato goulash and spaghetti bolognaise.
For a long time he thought he would become a Singing Chef. But more recently he thinks becoming a pilot would be the ideal job, with a two engine or four engine plane. He spends a lot of time building Lego airports and aeroplanes.
At school, Sizwe enjoys mathematics most but is working on his reading.

Sizwe has truly become one of the Children of Fire family, with his bright smile and infectious laugh. He was adopted by Bronwen Jones, founder of Children of Fire.
The charity continues to care for Sizwe's needs, providing for his education and medical treatment. The charity receives no government funding and survives purely on public donations.

In late 2009, Children of Fire was the victim of an international Internet scam allegedly perpetrated by a Nigerian man Courage Okiemute (28) and a Nigerian woman Imuwuahen Faith Ahanon (33) - both born in Benin City and both living in northern Italy. With the stolen copyright of a poignant Getty Images photo essay on the charity, it was disseminated with encouragement to send money to two illegally-set-up Italian bank accounts in Milan and Turin. Fortunately, Children of Fire was alerted early on of the fraud by a Canadian who had come across the email.
A swift response and incredibly-effective assistance from journalists, police, the Italian Embassy in South Africa, the Italian NGO fraternity and lawyers, led to two arrests, freezing of the Italian bank accounts, and confiscation of computers.
Finally on 18th April 2012 Children of Fire will meet the two alleged perpetrators in court in Vercelli, Italy.
Sizwe will be there. A strong believer in truth and integrity, he hopes to look the thieves in the eye and, if the court permits him, to tell them what he thinks about criminals robbing burned children over the Internet.
Then at last, the faceless criminals will have a face.

Sizwe on the Italian Court Case.
"I feel really bad and angry because they stole our future by taking pictures away from us. I never thought I was going to be famous like that. I was also going to show people some of the pictures when I work in this office as a grownup, if I am an intern one day. I think I will help Children of Fire when I am older.
"They made money from our pictures and they included Mama's name and names of the children. They don't have the right to do that. They must know that children's rights are more important than them; children have more rights than grownups because we need protecting.
"Their own mothers must feel really worried and disappointed. Worried that they stole without telling, without thinking or asking their mothers what's right.
"I think they should go to jail for nine years because they are stealing from our charity and lying and stealing photos and pretending they care but they don't.
"I think the man should not be called "Courage" because it is not brave at all to steal from children. He has no courage; he is weak.
"I think the woman should not be called Faith because a name like Faith means that you believe in God. People who believe in God know that you should not steal."

Minor celebrity: the Little Prince
Sizwe has appeared on billboards in South Africa and in an advertisement on Yo-Tv (on SABC). In the advertisement, he played with the South African phrase "ag shame" that people use when they pity someone. He was filmed walking down the food aisle of a supermarket, with the general public saying "ag shame" each time they noticed his scarred face. At the end of the aisle he turned his shopping trolley around and looked straight into camera. He asked: "Is it a shame that I am alive?"
Sizwe was made an honorary Prince of the Amangwane nation by the current king, Alfred Hlongwane. The three-million-strong Amangwane people have an older history than the Zulu nation, but sadly the South African government does not keep the king in a style befitting his status.
Sizwe travelled to London in December 2010 to assist the London Fire Brigade in a safety campaign about Candles at Christmas called "So beautiful, so Lethal" and is now friends with the London Fire Chief Ron Dobson.
Sizwe has travelled internationally. In June 2009 he was in New York, USA; in July 2010 in Harare and Chingoma in Zimbabwe (visiting burns survivor Tapera); in December 2010 in the United Kingdom; in Nov/Dec 2011 he was in Canterbury, Loughborough and London in the United Kingdom. In April 2012 he will be in Milan and Vercelli in Italy, and in London, UK.

This material is Copyright The Dorah Mokoena Charitable Trust and/or Children of Fire , 1998-2020.
Distribution or re-transmission of this material, excluding the Schools' Guide, is expressly forbidden without prior permission of the Trust.
For further information, email firechildren@icon.co.za