Brooklyn teen needs a helping hand

Taylia Abrahams and Tristan Ras

A Brooklyn community worker has made a public appeal for help on behalf of a teenager who is involved with charity work in the neighbourhood.

Tristan Ras is battling to complete his school studies without a laptop or cellphone, says Taylia Abrahams, who met Tristan when he was 11. She says he and his grandmother came to fetch food at the feeding scheme she runs from her home every week in honour of the daughter she lost to cancer in 2010.

Tristan was still 11 when he began helping at the feeding scheme, and Ms Abrahams says he has become like her “eldest son” and looks after her two children who have autism.

Tristan is in matric at Oude Molen Technical High School, where his subjects include physics and graphic design, and he says not having a computer at home has made it hard for him to keep up, and this has hurt his grades.

He lives in a one-bedroom flat with his grandparents and two younger siblings, whom he looks after, and is also the main carer for his disabled grandmother, says Ms Abrahams.

“There is already a lot of pressure on me from my peers and family; I just hope to do well at school,” says Tristan.

Tristan says the past year has been very hard. He doesn’t want to talk about what he has been through but says the experiences have made him stronger and taught him to cook and clean and be kind to others, especially those in foster care.

He wants to achieve good grades so he can apply for scholarships. He hopes to become an electrical engineer and has already submitted scholarship applications to Sasol and Eskom.

He says he is willing to do any odd jobs so that he can pay something for a computer and cellphone instead of simply getting them as handouts.

“I hope to prove to my community that there could be something good coming from Brooklyn despite our circumstances.”

If you would like to help Tristan contact Taylia Abrahams at 060 796 6705.