Today we’re visiting Give Them Hope, a registered, independent, non-government, and non-profit organization. Staff members at RMAA South Africa put forward the foundation when asked who they felt would best benefit from the organisation’s CSR budget.
Nellmapius is considered one of the poorest areas on the outskirts of Silverton, Pretoria.
We walk into a sparsely furnished, yet welcoming lounge, where a young lady is cleaning the floor and keeping a close eye on a huge pot of macaroni on the boil. We are greeted and invited to sit and wait for Mrs Pinky Mothiba.
Pinky arrives with warm hugs for all of us, although she has only ever previously met one of us. A lady, slight in stature but with an energy that oozes from every pore. She’s already moving things here and there so that I can start taking pictures.
We’re taken on a tour, where Pinky proudly shows us the facilities. A tiny room with three beds stacked tightly together and some random furniture squashed into a corner is home to teenage boys – they’re across the courtyard from the girls and babies as “teenage boys need their privacy”. Next door, a double bed just fits into a room for the pre-teen boys. If memory serves three boys share the bed here.
As we round the corner we are greeted by a sea of young faces, children from the ages of 6 months to 5 years old, all sitting waiting to go and play. You can hear a pin drop. They’re curious to see visitors, but nobody speaks. As we wave to them, we are greeted with enthusiastic waves in return. While we speak to Pinky about her background and what motivated her to do what she does, the children sit, good as gold waiting for further instruction.
As we chat behind the group of children, a young teacher arrives and recites the days of the week and the children echo ‘Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday….’
We learn that the premises used to be a lucrative tavern – a very popular watering hole in the community but when Pinky first brought in children in need, she realised that alcohol and children were not a good mix. The tavern was closed and the children stayed and over time, more and more children came into Pinky’s care.
There are more than 20 children in Pinky’s permanent care. They live at Give Them Hope. Another 40 children stay with grandparents or older siblings (16 or 17 years old) and come to Give Them Hope during the day. The youngsters are there in the morning, and after school hours, the facility fills up with aftercare children.
As we walk through the kitchen, I am humbled by the ‘healthy menu’ on the wall – a two-week schedule of meals and snacks. Meals are noted down as bread and tea, with snacks of bread and water. Meat is too costly, so it is only served once a week. A bakery donates bread weekly, and Pinky makes whatever funds she has stretch as far as possible with sensible shopping like buying soya instead of meat. With the little that she has, she also provides daily meals within the community to homes that don’t have anything to eat for that day.
The deep freezer which was gratefully accepted when donated by RMAA South Africa late last year, is well taken care of and still looks brand new. Pinky again expresses her gratitude for the involvement of the organization. Over and above a few essential donations, RMAA South Africa also provides funding for meals each month and they are working towards providing bursaries and internships for some of the older children who will soon be leaving Give Them Hope to make their way in the world.
I learn that the red and white beads in the hair of a little two-year-old are representative of a Sotho custom to indicate that the child has lost both her parents.
Having seen the office, the play area and the kitchen, the children are finally called out into the yard for activity time. ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ gets the kids going, but nothing can compete with Baby Shark which really gets every child participating with glee.
When Pinky joins in with some dance, the kids are eager to follow her moves. While I am taking everything in and photographing and videoing, I feel a tug on my sleeve. One of the little ones wants to see what she looks like on the camera. Her little face lights up when she sees herself dancing on the preview screen.
RMAA SA lead by Brendan Londt, Managing Director, has a firm stance on breaking the poverty cycle by providing opportunities for people to uplift themselves. When staff members alerted Brendan to the plight of children at Give Them Hope, he together with Masego Everson HR Manager, visited the facility to understand more about their needs and to establish how the organization could contribute in the most meaningful way.
RMAA South Africa will continue to assist the foundation and encourage anybody else with the means to contribute to help in any way they can.
To quote our own icon, Mr Nelson Mandela, “As long as poverty, injustice, [and] gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.“