THE idea of 67 Minutes for Mandela – a call to global action based on Madiba’s 67 years of sacrifice for others – is a daily reality for NGOs in South Africa. And whilst many people willingly embrace the idea on 18 July that we all have the power to change lives, for them it is an annual event, seldom going beyond the “67 moment”.
For Awqaf South Africa and the Crescent of Hope there are frequent calls for help, so much so that regular projects often have to go on hold to service the urgent needs of communities. One such call was made in the town of Sabie, situated in the Tshabashew Municipality of Mpumalanga Province.
Two schools, Lindani Primary and Memezela High School, had been severely challenged by a lack of water, its pumps burning out last year and not being replaced. So serious was the problem of sanitation and lack of water that classes sometimes had to be cancelled as early as 10 am for the safety of the learners. Educators were complaining that this was severely affecting the delivery of education.
Faizal Essack, a volunteer for both Crescent of Hope and Awqaf SA, said he received a call from local MP, Mr AF (Fish) Mahlalela that the schools were in dire need. Essack says that was when Awqaf SA and the Awqaf Minors Affairs Foundation, coordinated by the Crescent of Hope, swung into action.
“A few weeks ago we dug two boreholes, installed a water tank and a reticulation system that pumps the water into the municipal supply. The school now has drinkable water, flushing toilets and food for a newly established food garden, which supplies vegetables for the school’s feeding scheme.”
At the opening ceremony, attended by MP Mr AF Mahlalela and the town’s Deputy Mayor, the elderly were given blankets and nearly 2,000 learners were given refreshments in celebration of the schools taps being turned on again.
“You had to be here to experience the moment,” says Essack, “the looks of delight on people’s faces, the prayers and the joy. It was overwhelming. This is what makes it all worth it. Helping people to improve themselves with dignity. You can’t explain the feelings that go through you.”
For more enquiries:
Call Faizal Essack 060 527 4136