Marlene Whitehead, spokesperson, HOPE Cape Town, Tygerberg
For Mandela Day this year, HOPE (HIV Out-reach Programme and Education) Cape Town brought sponsors and volunteers to our outreach site, situated at the temporary relo-
cation area of Blikkies-dorp near Delft. We co-ordinated mini-projects which would address the immediate needs of the community during the cold winter.
Although the sky was grey on Tuesday July 18 and the temperature below 15°C, we experienced a warm atmosphere in Blikkiesdorp. The 40 volunteers, young and not-so-young, were receptive to the attention of the smaller children and together they played games, sang and clapped hands.
Amid the noise of the gathering crowds a young woman stood alone, quietly trying to attract the attention of HOPE Cape Town’s chairperson by raising her hands, “Excuse me, aren’t you Father Stefan Hippler?” she asked. “Years ago you helped me to bury my child, I will never forget your kindness, thank you.” If ever there was a reason for the existence of HOPE Cape Town and our presence in Blikkiesdorp, it was clear at that poignant moment.
Our aim was to provide warm nourishing meals for 1 200 children but through the generosity of sponsors and collaborators we exceeded all expectations and were able to provide more than 2 600 meals between 9am and 2.30pm. The children also received new blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste and a “How do we brush our teeth?” demonstration.
Volunteer students assisted with picking up litter and recycling and turning it into a fun lesson. The community vegetable garden was revitalised with a clean-up, fresh soil and new seedlings following the long drought, and paint was sponsored to give the pre-school a new look on the outside and a colourful mural on one of the inside walls.
HOPE Cape Town would never have been able to achieve all of this without generous support and sponsorships from a number of organisations.
Very special thanks to those individuals who volunteered a whole lot more than 67 minutes in their own private capacity.