Young people who started a group on social network, Facebook, with the help of home care organisation, Thola Ulwazi, and members of the corporate sector have embarked on a campaign to improve the lives of orphaned children in Soshanguve Township.
Over the weekend the group called Difference Makers donated food parcels to orphanages. This was done with the assistance of a local BP service station, Tropika and a police station. Difference Makers founder, Sergeant Mnisi, says they have been visiting home based care centres since 2009.
“We started this group as a non-profitable organisation looking for home based centres where we can come and assist in any way as a way to stand against poverty and feed every child,” explains Mnisi.
On Saturday they were also assisting single parent homes struggling to make ends meet.
Thola Ulwazi Home Based Care and Training was founded by Venile Lekhwane in 1998 at the Ga-Rankuwa Hospital, now called George Mokhari Hospital.
“We worked in the infection control clinic of the hospital, where HIV/AIDS infected people get treatment every Tuesday. We provided patients with spiritual guidance and upliftment, and also gave them food to eat,” says Lekhwame.
Soshanguve is a poor township and many of its residents often struggle to make it to hospital and Lekhwame sights this as her reason for starting Thola Ulwazi.
“The challenges we are facing at present are unemployment, HIV/AIDS and general ill health,” she adds.
Organisers also deiced to honour Gertrude Semono,a woman from the township who dedicates her Fridays to donating vegetables to Thola Ulwazi. For this she received a blanket.
It wasn’t just serious business on the day – there was also a bit of entertainment provided by Gospel musician - Sydney Mathe, Programme Director and iKwekwezi Fm presenter Letty Nyathela Chilli and co-ordinator Paul Kutumela also known as Paul K.
“I co-ordinated this event to make sure that our community is served. We have children who need our help. Every year I co-ordinate such events in Soshanguve and Mpumalanga,” says Kutumela.
Some of those present expressed excitement at the donations. “I am happy that my child was given food and winter clothes today, this means a lot to me and I pray to God to help them to continue blessing mam Venile and Thola Ulwazi” remarks Jonathan Baloyi.