Work with Rotary

Anthony Wait, Helderberg Sunrise Rotary Club

As the newly-elected president of Helderberg Sunrise Rotary Club, I should like to thank Bolander for its informative interview with Mayor Dan Plato on his recent visit to the Helderberg.

It was most rewarding to hear his appreciation of the work done by local Rotary clubs, to quote: “I want to use this opportunity to say to Rotary thank you so very much.”

As previously reported in Bolander, my own club has implemented a number of feeding schemes in Lwandle, Macassar, Nomzano and Asanda, as well as supporting Somerset West Night Shelter and Masikhule ECD centres.

We are feeding more than 350 adults and 1 500 children each week.

A recent presentation to our club by motivational speaker, Andre du Toit, made the point that “the majority of South African families are only 10 days away from starvation”. A sobering thought.

Helderberg Sunrise is fortunate in having many “swallow” members who have been able to raise funds from their overseas contacts.

Combined with donations from local membership sources, we have been able to raise more than R1 250 000 which will enable us to continue our feeding programmes at least until the end of November.

We have developed a number of partnerships, including one with Helderberg Village Bridge Club who donated R50 000 to our fund.

Over and above this, residents of Helderberg Village are sponsoring a soup kitchen in Lwandle and we are grateful to Mary van der Merwe and the overwhelming support from Helderberg Village residents.

Another partnership has been with Somerset Mall in a repeat of our 2019 blanket drive.

This year we ran another two-week campaign which was far more challenging, due to the impact of Covid-19 and the reduced number of people visiting the mall.

We continue the blanket drive through Sage and Thyme Restaurant as well as via a direct mail and social media campaign, aimed to encourage sponsorship from local and overseas donors.

Only R75 will provide a much needed blanket for those who are vulnerable.

We have been working closely with the Ark City of Refuge in Khayelitsha to employ their seamstresses in the making of shelter-bags for homeless people.

A recent meeting between Helderberg Sunrise club members and Mr Plato resulted in him handing out 200 shelter-bags for homeless people in the Woodstock area.

This initiative enables previously unemployed seamstresses to make a living while at the same time helping others.

In order to ensure that schools are able to operate safely, we have handed out 3 000 face masks and provided 10 local schools with hands-free sanitisers.

In addition, face shields have been provided for teachers in a number of schools.

It is important that learners can see the face of their teacher, as this improves their levels of understanding by allowing facial expression and mouth movement to be observed.

Through different organisations working together in the Helderberg we are making progress towards helping those in need.

However, there is so much more that must be done to make this sustainable.

If you want to contribute, rather than give cash to beggars, please donate to one of the many local Rotary initiatives where your contributions will be used in the best way possible.

Thank you for the update – Ed