September 26, 2012
The 24th of September was Heritage day here in South Africa. It is important for us to remember our culture and where we have come from. On this special day we honoured our fore fathers with singing and dancing and a spectacular parade of traditional dress. Everyone was in the festive mood showing off their outfits. Your heritage and culture is something that defines you and is imprinted on your personality. One should be proud to pass on their heritage to their children and to keep our wonderful tradition alive. Cow stomach or, Tripe was the feast of the day, a delicious meal that has been prepared by mothers and grandmothers for generations.
The world as we know it is growing so fast and things are changing all the time, it is important now more than ever to hold on to our heritage and not to lose ourselves and what makes us unique in this fast paced world!!!
June 5, 2012
On the 5th of June we will be opening a safe house for woman and children that have been identified as being in volatile or vulnerable environments. It has been a wish of ours to open such a house for a long time as we have had woman who have been abused and we have had to help them as best we can knowing that they have to return to the situation until alternate arrangements can be made. A few months back a case came to our attention where a little 3 year old girl was being neglected by her mother who was her primary care giver. When we saw the child we were shocked by her condition, she was dirty and thin and had obviously not eaten in a few days. We gave her a bath, new clothes and fed her. At the time however our only option was to pay one of our care givers at the centre to take care of her until the case had been investigated by the social worker and the child had been put in a more permanent home.
Our registered counsellor also has cases of abuse. One of her patients ended up having a seizure and was rushed to hospital as her husband, who was under the influence of alcohol, had beaten her so badly. Our only option then was to work with the social workers and get her to her family who were some distance away. The sad reality is that these types of cases are not unusual and we wish to provide them with a feeling of hope for the future
Our intention for the safe house is to have a temporary place for these vulnerable woman and children to be placed during this crises period. During this time they will have a nurturing environment, where they will receive 3 meals a day and a warm bed to sleep in. While they are under our care at the safe house they will receive counselling and any necessary psychological support. This will give us the time to work with the social workers to investigate each case and find a more permanent solution.
A house we went out to where a neighbor had reported a small child was being locked inside daily
We found a 90 year old lady living in this tiny one room. As you can see her stove is right next to her bed which is a very dangerous fire hazard.
May 9, 2012
As the sun starts to make her journey into the morning sky her golden rays shed light on to one of the best kept secrets in Africa. Rolling green hills and gurgling rivers seem to cast a magical spell as birds twitter a happy song and cows graze happily in the lush green fields. Looking out onto this breath taking view, one can be forgiven for thinking that you are looking straight onto the pages of a storybook on a magical land somewhere far far away. But this land is real, it is my home and the home of my community, it is the Valley of 1000 Hills tucked away in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. But as in any story book there is also a dark side to my tale. Amongst this awe inspiring beauty there is a stark contrast of disease, poverty and suffering.
In 2007 the local municipality identified a squatter camp near Claremont on the outskirts of Durban, it was decided that they would receive government subsidised housing in Inchanga. As a ‘temporary’ measure they were placed in barrack style housing structures comprising of 1 room. This was good news for the community. Wrong! 5 years later and the people of Claremont are still living in these tiny one room structures. These rows of pre-fab housing is now known in the community as Inchanga Camp. In this time the population density has also increased as those destitute families of Inchanga have moved up into Inchanga Camp. Not only have these people had to suffer the injustice of empty promises, some leaving behind their employment in Durban for a chance at a better life but these people have been totally neglected. On my visit to Inchanga Camp, I was shocked, no not shocked, horrified and disgusted. The most basic of human needs are a challenge for this community. Although community toilets exist, they are blocked and unsanitary, Human excrement flows from the unmaintained toilets and when it rains, it runs through the community like a river. My heart broke to watch a group of small children playing in this filth. There is a municipal water supply but broken connections means the water continually runs, creating a wet area which has become a breeding ground for disease. There is no electricity supplied to this camp so in order to be able to cook and provide their families with whatever meal they can scrape together, unsafe connections have been made to the main Eskom supply. This means open connections and uninsulated wires run all over the ground between houses and people have to watch where they walk in case of these open connections known as izinyoka or ‘snakes’. There has already been several incidents of children and adults being shocked by electricity. Rubbish is disposed in an unsafe manner and piles of litter mount up, with both animals and children playing amongst this disease infested filth. These one room structures house whole families, with adults and children cramped into this tiny space. Exposing these people, especially the youth and children to all kinds of social issues. This is apparent in the high rate of alcohol and substance use as well as the high rate of teenage pregnancies.
How could we at 1000 Hills Community Helpers turn a blind eye to such suffering? With our proverbial begging bowl out once more we have been trying to give the community of Inchanga Camp one more ray of hope. We started a weekly mobile clinic with our Doctor and health care workers seeing patients out of one of the rooms at Inchanga camp. We have now been able to secure 2 rooms up at the camp and very shortly with the help of some special people and donations we will be opening up a permanent clinic and creche up at Inchanga camp. Giving these people health and sanitation education, support with chronic illness, access to health care and children are stimulated and given a chance at a real childhood. Food will also be supplied thanks to KFC Add Hope Foundation.
We will keep you updated with progress on Inchanga Camp and all the wonderful changes that will be made.
If you wish to help in any way please contact Dawn or Jessica on: 031-7834013/ 0846252771
February 8, 2012
Another year is well on it’s way, with over 210 children registered in our Creche and Pre-School, between 1000 and 1500 plates of food being served each day, and the stream of patients for our Clinic days almost never-ending. As always we are extremely grateful to our funders who help us to continue to be able to help the 24 000 or so people in this community. Without the support of all donors, whether the amounts be large or small, we would not be able to make the difference that we do.
In January we helped a large number of children who are attending school with uniforms and stationery. We believe that education is the key to lifting oneself out of poverty, so we do everything we can to encourage the children to stay in school. School shoes are a real need, so any donations of new or second-hand school shoes are greatly appreciated.
A huge part of our work involves helping people through difficult times and challenging experiences. This week has been no exception. A young child from the community was knocked over by a taxi fairly close to our Centre and we were summoned. As our ambulance driver was out on another call, I was called to help. I stabilised him as best I could and took him to the hospital, but unfortunately he passed away because of his injuries. Then a little girl from our creche was using the long-drop toilet at her home when the seat broke and she fell into the pit below. As she is HIV positive, an infection could be deadly, so she had to be admitted to hospital for treatment. Fortunately we have Jessica, our Counselling Psychologist, who is helping her to deal with the trauma of this event. We have also taken a two month old baby into our care at the creche, as his mother, who is mentally challenged, is unable to breastfeed him and she couldn’t afford formula. When he came to our attention, he had been fed sugar water for the previous two weeks and was seriously malnourished. At least by being in the creche each day, his nutritional needs will be taken care of during the day, and we have provided his mother with formula for his night feeds.
We are so grateful that we are able to assist this community in so many ways, and we look forward to a great year ahead.
May 31, 2011
Our toddlers are so happy in their new environment!! Thanx to Vodacom change the world for funding our new classroom. These little mites have all the space they need to play and grow. This is such a critical age for development and they are now getting all the stimulation they need, especially important as many are being looked after by elderly grannies who may not be able to give them all the stimulation they need. The Ladies working with them are concentrating on areas such as gross and fine motor development, concentration, co-ordination and other skills. As well as this these littles ones are also given two meals a day, its always so sad to hear when a child has gone to bed with nothing but hot water to fill their tummies.
April 5, 2011
On Monday we welcomed Julie Hay to our team. Thanx to Vodacom Change the World! Julie will be working in our school. We are extremelly grateful and excited to work with this special lady.
‘What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal’ Albert Pike
March 23, 2011
In this day and age we all know how important it is to have ones ID document, in almost everything we do we are required to produce it. However there are many people even in there middle and later years of life who may never have had the opportunity to apply for their ID book. And so with monday being human rights day, we were so grateful to have representatives of the Human Rights Commisson visit us, as well as Black Sash, SASA, SAPS, and Home Affairs.
It was such a fantastic opportunity for members of the community to be able to apply for their ID books, financial grants and other issues that they needed assistance with. They were also educated on their basic human rights.
A workshop was also held which allowed attendees to delve deeper into the issues of ones rights in many fields and aspects of life.
Remember your rights everyone and keep a special thought in mind for those who fought for us to enjoy the equal rights we have today!
1000 Hills Community Helpers Team
January 31, 2011
Hello dear Friends,
With the Christmas rush long behind us, we can now persevere into continuing where we left off last year. Some of you might be aware that one of our big wishes for 2010 was to acquire some sort of reliable transport for the preschooler’s to the centre and back to home again. I use the word was because it is literally what it is, WAS. With the help of very special people, GAGA-UK and some wonderful ladies from the Hillcrest area, our wish has become a reality and we have now taken possession of a Toyota Quantum mini bus.
Many of the children attending our preschool have generally had to walk quite great distances, having to get an early start in the mornings. To make matters worse, these children are usually only supervised by the oldest sibling in the family who could be as young as 8-10 years in age. The little ones are worn out by the time they reach school and then struggle to concentrate on their lessons.
This is the least of their worries as they have to deal with various hazards provided by other people and vehicles. The children lucky enough to have a ride do so at their own risk as the vehicle providing their transport is severely unreliable and a grave danger to its occupants.
With the new mini bus, we are able to ferry these children in a safe controlled environment.
Our old school bus.
Our new school bus.
January 28, 2011
Hello Dear Friends,
We extend our gratitude to all who helped give our community a wonderful Christmas. Without your love and compassion for the less fortunate many in our community would have had a bleak festive season. Thank you for walking the walk with us.
Children waited anxiously to see if Father Christmas managed to drop off a gift for them. During the school holidays we can have up to a thousand children visiting us. Many of them are from orphaned households sometimes totalling 15 per family, so you can imagine the big strain it puts on the grannies having to provide food and clothing for these little ones.
As education is the success to anyone’s life we try everyday to give these children a lesson in life skills. We explain to our children at Christmas time it is not about a gift it is time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and he shares his birthday with us.
This teenage headed household of boys have lost their parents and were chased out of their home as they were not providing anything toward there upkeep. A place for them to stay was found and with your help we managed to feed and clothe them but school uniforms always a big problem to purchase due to the costs.
There are so many children who turn to us for help at this time of the year.
These little poppets above are in the same situation as many other children here in Inchanga area are child headed households.
Thank you to our community ladies who assist me in taking care of these children.
Thanks you for your ongoing support.
So give yourselves a hug from us all
A hug is a perfect gift — one size fits all –And no one minds if you return it
January 21, 2011
Yippee and hooray!!!!! 2011 has begun. Undoubtedly many of us have welcomed its warm embrace into the next phase of life. Seasons come and seasons go, but life goes on. People are born into this world and people leave this world through death. It is the natural cycle of life that is obeyed by all. It’s this life that unites us all together, working for a better cause. The cause may be the fight against HIV/AIDS, or the plight of those living in poverty. It may be feeding the hungry or representing children’s rights to a better education and life. Irrelevant of the cause we represent, we unify together to make those wrongs right, or a child’s dream a reality. There is a word for that, it’s called: HUMANITY.
We all remember that old saying, “Money makes the world go round”. Well that’s not entirely true. Money is a useful catalyst but it does not encompass the unity that is bred from humanity. The saying, “All you need is love”, does however ring true. 2010 was definitely a bad year for most due to the recession and yet many people still felt it necessary to contribute something, no matter how small, into the lives of those less fortunate. For this we are humbly grateful and most appreciative.
As we go into and beyond the year 2011, let us do so with dignity and pride, knowing that we are all able to make a difference in the lives of those who are victims of their circumstances.
Best wishes to all who support our cause for the year 2011, may yours be filled with much laughter and joy.