Single Mum’s Initiative Supports and Empowers Struggling Mothers

Teacher. Cook. Housekeeper. Caregiver. Protector. Defender. Provider. There are many roles which a single mother juggles, and balancing all these can be quite overwhelming and stressful. The Single Mums Initiative acknowledges that while all mothers are at full capacity with responsibilities, single mums often bear the demands of motherhood alone.

 

The SMI network was started to support and empower single mothers and provides them with financial, physical and mental assistance. Their first networking and fundraising event took place during December 2018 in Azaadville, Johannesburg, with another in April 2019. Fun-day activities entertained children with cake decorating, rock painting, tin bowling, etc., and the proceeds from tickets sold were banked into the organisation’s charitable fund.

The welfare organisation also sponsors monthly hampers worth R500 to struggling mums. Regardless of race or religion, all single mothers are welcome to become a part of this caring and supportive circle of women.

Joining the Single Mums Initiative holds many benefits, including:

A support system. One of the most important benefits of joining support groups for single parents is that they provide mothers with a support system. This will make single mums feel less alone when caring for their kids. Many single parents suffer from emotional and mental stress because they think they’re alone on their parenthood journey. With support groups, single mums can gain more friends who understand and sympathise with their situation.

Independence and self-empowerment. SMI aims to empower mums by allowing them to become independent. The organisation intends on providing small business opportunities to mothers as part of their long-term goal. 

Raising awareness. SMI wants to raise awareness of the struggles that single mums are faced with, especially since they are often discriminated against within society and looked down upon. The group would like to elevate the status of single mothers by showering them with appreciation.

Aiding with basic needs. The organisation offers monthly hampers to single mums until they’re able to provide for themselves. This helps to reduce the financial stress of not having basic needs available for their children.

Benefits for the children. Children from single-parent homes are impacted emotionally and psychologically. SMI’s goal is to provide childcare opportunities, as well as psychological help for kids of single mothers.

Once a month, an amazing occupational therapist from the Single Mums Initiative holds a support group session for all members. The objectives of these meetings cover:

  • Building self-esteem, reducing self-blame.
  • Dealing with sadness, depression, feelings of loss and feeling stuck.
  • Mind limitations
  • Dealing with problems and problem solving
  • financial stressors and work
  • Dealing with stigma, society and feelings of being an outcast.
  • Use of free time
  • Children
  • Family and friends

SMI hopes to act as a medium for single mums and direct them to the help they require. They are currently working on establishing a network for this purpose. Some needs include legal advice, home rental, maintenance, childcare and transportation.

Charity isn’t always found in material things. The Single Mums Initiative has extended a hand of warmth, compassion, belonging and most importantly, moral support to single mothers; commending their strength and building up their confidence. 

For more information, please contact Nazeefa Sibda on 0842205958 or email nazeefasibda@gmail.com

‘Ramadaan Chart’ Proceeds Help Establish Boreholes in Kenya

A month of blessings, mercy, illumination and good deeds; it’s almost that time of the year again – Ramadaan, and since most parents use this opportunity to encourage their children to fast during this holy month, The Funky Label Company have devised a fun and inspiring way to help them do so – with an added benefit!

The printing company, which operates countrywide, sells ‘My Ramadaan Charts’, with proceeds from the sales going to charitable activities that are identified by the Al-Imdaad Foundation. Last year, The Funky Label Company were able to sponsor three boreholes in Kilifi County, Kenya, a region suffering the consequences of a severe ongoing drought.

Al-Imdaad Foundation’s office in Kenya identified the three locations, and arranged for service providers to drill and install the boreholes, along with associated storage and plumbing. These were established together with hand pumps (two cases), storage tanks, pumps and taps (one case). The boreholes are a continuous source of fresh, clean water for disadvantaged communities during the ceaseless arid spell and erratic municipal water supply.

Kilifi County, where the boreholes were established, is one of the worst affected counties in Kenya in terms of water shortages. In absence of the boreholes, communities had to buy water in jerrycans or rely on the unreliable municipal water service, which is only available a few times a week.

The Funky Label Company collected an outstanding amount of R74 000 for the cause, all of which was spent in the name of charity.

The three boreholes were established in these Kilifi County locations:

  1. Malindi Women’s Correctional Centre in the town of Malindi. This borehole provides water for over 200 female inmates at a correctional facility that previously had no available water supply. The water will also assist Muslim inmates to perform their ritual ablutions and prayers and thereby assist them with spiritual rehabilitation.
  2. Majengo Village. This borehole benefits 40 households in an area that had been long-suffering due to water shortages.
  3. Ngala Phase 3 locality in the town of Malindi. The borehole assists 60 households in an area faced with long-term water scarcity.

The Funky Label Company owes the success of this project to its dedicated distributors: Naseera in Durban, Fathima Mia from Johannesburg, as well as Fathima Asmal, who is in charge of printing.

This year, Ramadaan charts will be available from first week of April. These charts help motivate children to keep their fasts, read taraweeh, and make a Quraan khatam. The charts can also be sponsored for just R15 to distribute to children from needy families who cannot afford to buy them.

Each gratifying drop of water from these boreholes is a priceless gift to its residents, and an honourable reward to all of the sponsors. 

 

For more information, please contact Fatima Mia on 011 837 1576 / 082 474 1786 or email fatimagardeemia@gmail.com

 

Colours of Hope Trades Treats for Charity

While the foundation of every charity organisation is built on goodwill and noble intentions, it is ultimately funding that turns these virtuous aspirations into tangible contributions.

Colours of Hope is a humanitarian aid agency that was started by twin sisters Sa’uda and Kaashifa Asmal, who run divisions of Madrasah Ummul Hasanaat (Islamic tuition institution) in Newcastle and Johannesburg. What began as a yearly distribution of Quraans for the needy in 2009, swiftly developed into a fully-fledged philanthropic establishment.

The NPO responds to the needs of the less fortunate and tries to make a difference spiritually, morally, financially and physically. “It is our mission to make life a little better for those in need by doing the best we can, turning hope into reality,” they say.

Most recently, Colours of Hope held a bake sale to collect funds that will serve their many charitable initiatives. These projects run concurrently throughout the year and include: #MyRohingya, the Gaza Water Project, Gift-a-Quraan, Syria Medi-Campaign, Project Palestine and the Colours of Hope Baby Project.

After two weeks of planning and advertising, the fundraiser took place on Saturday, 2 March 2019, at Solly’s Corner (a takeaway café) in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. Service time was between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm, where patrons and passersby purchased delicious baked goods, sweets, savouries and confections, all in the name of charity.

The directors and volunteers of Colours of Hope organisation put in time and effort to ensure the success of the campaign and were able to raise R13 000. Other kind sponsors included Upper Crust Bakery in Lenasia, volunteer Fatima Abraham and Nasima Nalla of the Crosby Ladies Forum.

The proceeds will be used to advance the organisation’s many running projects, as and when needed. These include the Colours of Hope Baby Project, which provide hampers to underprivileged South African mothers-to-be, as well as the establishment of a water well at Yarmouk Primary school in Gaza City.

The #MyRohingya campaign sees Colours of Hope partner with fellow NPO, Lonely Orphans in Bangladesh, whereby sponsors can donate as little as R50 monthly for a year, to feed a family with a supply of rice, lentils, oil and spices.

The Asmal sisters inspire us as they positively impact desolate communities from South Africa to the Middle East. Colours of Hope demonstrate that everything great starts small. 

To assist or donate, please contact Sa’uda Asmal (CEO) or Kaashifa Asmal/Jamal (Chairperson) on 082 886 4604/079 498 3479 or email info@coloursofhope.org.za

Project O Offers Free Tutoring for Soweto Students

Beyond any doubt, the greatest investment we can make is to educate ourselves. A good education is the key that unlocks future possibilities and helps achieve your every goal; whether it’s getting a job at a company you admire, owning a nice home, supporting your family, driving the car of your dreams or, even becoming the master of your own business.

Project O is a youth development organisation that aims to give underprivileged students a better chance at attaining their goals. The NPO is excited to embark on its first and biggest project – offering free and valuable tuition to students at Orlando High School in Soweto, Johannesburg.

Their goal is to give matriculants from disadvantaged backgrounds a passport to a brighter future. The classes commence every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. Individually, the instructors volunteer two hours of tuition a month, per subject. This does not include the time it takes to do class preparation, formulate lesson plans and provide after-class assistance. 

The tutors offer in-depth lessons in Maths, Maths Literacy, Physical Science, English, Accounting, Business, Economics, Geography, History and Zulu. The students are also treated to a hearty lunch, which is well deserved after dedicating their Saturday mornings to be at school.

On 2 February 2019, Project O had a ‘study skills and orientation day’. The workshop consisted of interactive activities and discussions that focused on stress and time management, study skills and mental health. This productive and rewarding project is ongoing throughout 2019 and hopefully, for years to follow.

 

Project O has many noble objectives in store for the future of this enterprise, including:

  • Creating a safe learning environment by developing the school library and a study room, as many learners are unable to study at home.
  • Raising funds to create a ‘school uniform system’, where learners will be given uniforms, which will be returnable once it gets small or when they leave school. It will then be passed on to other students.
  • Starting a sporting and extramural programme, so that learners can develop skills apart from those learnt in the classroom.
  • Taking learners on a camp to develop their leadership and communication skills.
  • Exposing learners to various opportunities after they matriculate, through seminars and assemblies.

 

Project O aims to break the cycle of poverty through education. By improving the students’ grades, the organisation hopes to give them the opportunity to attain a matric certificate, get into university and go on to get good jobs after school. They would also like to introduce these promising teens to the prospects of bursaries and learnerships.

Project O would like to extend their tutoring service to other schools and add on more grades once the organisation grows. Inshaa-Allah. Funding is vital to the success of the project and is currently received through various sponsorships and donations. Some of the items that have been kindly donated are stationary, utensils, food, textbooks and tutoring material. The team is especially grateful to every single volunteer as, without their hard work and dedication, none of it would be possible.

These sponsors are:

  • Ace it Tuition
  • Freeway & i22 Works
  • Radical Products
  • 360 Tactical Security
  • Changing Tides

 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.

Project O is armed with the best artillery to help these students triumph against any academic battle. Their resignation from idle Saturday mornings will indeed rear the next generation of doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers and of course, teachers.

For more information, please contact Project O CEO, Yumna Patel on 083 500 8018 or email projecto.org@gmail.com

Husami Feeding Scheme Sustains Cape Town’s Needy Communities

In a recent General Household Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa, it’s been estimated that over 7 million citizens experience hunger. Sadly, most of the sufferers are young children, and the lack of proper nutritional sustenance is a merciless gateway to crime, illness and even death. On a more positive note, there is a lot we can do to improve these stats. One group in Cape Town has taken an unabridged approach to fighting hunger in their city, and have been feeding the needy for more than 15 years.

The Husami Feeding Scheme began with volunteers cooking one pot of food every Saturday in Ramadaan (fasting month), to cooking between six to eight pots every week during the holy month. The Husami group have also recently teamed up with a charitable body called ‘Lace up for Change’, to cook a few pots of food once a month for those struck by poverty and economic hardships. These hot meals provide nourishment to various local impoverished communities, as well as residents of the Vision and Child Youth Care Centre and the Beitul Amaan old age home.

The teams make recurrent visits to the old age home and various orphanages, and also assist with the sponsorship of stationary and school clothes for destitute youth. Food parcels are regularly packaged for the less fortunate and needy families.

The name of the feeding scheme, ‘Husami’, is aligned to the masjid (place of worship) in Cravenby, Cape Town, from where all the meals are cooked. This beneficial scheme runs throughout the year ensuring that the poorer communities are never left malnourished. Volunteers also visit the Vision Child and Youth Care Centre in Mountview (Landsdowne, Cape Town) to host special braais and dinners, and ensure that the kids’ schooling needs are met. The Beitul Amaan old age home in Wynberg is also an establishment where the Husami group spends time to attend to the needs of the elderly. 

The benefactors choose to remain anonymous, and are content just knowing that their donations are going to an exceptionally helpful cause. They are constantly updated via a broadcast group on WhatsApp, and donors are always willing to make a contribution whenever the need arises.

No matter the challenges and difficulties that life may throw at them, these disadvantaged individuals can always rely on getting their hunger sated with a wholesome and fulfilling meal at Husami Masjid. 

 

For more information, contact Murad Ebrahim on 060 526 6149 or email murad.ebrahim@spintelligent.com

Teddy Bear Clinic Spreads the Love on Valentine’s Day with a Cake Sale

Valentine’s Day may be a grand romantic gesture for some, or simply another day in the year for others. Members of the Teddy Bear Clinic used the sentimental commotion that surrounds this day as an opportunity to help children in need.

Fatima Omar took the initiative to spread the love this February, in a way that is far removed from the customary chocolate hearts and flowers. As a dedicated volunteer at the Teddy Bear Clinic, Fatima works tirelessly in order to enrich the lives of children in straitened circumstances. These young citizens have faced the worst of battles and desperately need access to the clinic’s services.

Fatima tasked herself with baking an assortment of delicious confectionary, and requested others to bake and donate towards the Teddy Bear Clinic’s cake sale fundraiser. After the cakes were frosted and her apron dusted, Fatima and the other volunteers sold the baked goods at the Valentine’s Market at Wesbank in Fairlands, Johannesburg.

The cake sale took place on 13 and 14 February, in time for people who were celebrating to spoil their loved ones with sweet treats, while spending towards a greater cause. An amount of R5127 was raised during the event, which will dearly help abused children who are in dire need of medical attention, forensic assessments, therapy, psychological counselling and court preparation.

Fatima’s mother, Dr Shaheda Omar is the director of the Teddy Bear Foundation and leads by example, always going the extra mile to do her best for the kids. Witnessing the amazing results that come from Dr Omar’s hard work and selfless dedication, has inspired her family to also get involved.

Child abuse is a tragic and traumatising experience to the child and their family, often one that is never-ending. The Teddy Bear Foundation assists abused children by accompanying them, step-by-step on their ‘Journey to Healing’. For mental and physical restoration to take place, these children have to be gently counselled, treated for medical afflictions, psychologically evaluated, and sometimes briefed for court appearances. While the Teddy Bear Clinic has the valued support of unpaid volunteers like Fatima, medical aid costs as well as administrative expenses add up. The organisation benefits greatly from donations and fundraisers such as this one.

We can actively make a difference in the life of an abused child by donating, raising funds or just being a pillar of support, hope and love to them. Together, we can turn a child’s horrendous nightmare into another day of survival.

 

For more information, please contact the Teddy Bear Clinic on 083 469 9196 or email daleneb@ttbc.org.za

CWF Kids Read to Raise Funds for Special-Needs Children

“Sometimes, superheroes reside in the hearts of small children fighting big battles.”

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than witnessing young children being diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness. On the other hand, there’s nothing more heartwarming than attesting to the great strength and unbreakable spirit that these kids demonstrate.

Zayn Cajee is one such child – a courageous little warrior, a mighty soldier and an effervescent toddler who was diagnosed with a rare disease at just a few months old. Now aged three, Zayn is a signifier of strength, faith and hope. Fortunately, he has had access to exceptional healthcare and assistive devices, which have made his condition somewhat more manageable. There are many children with similar conditions who are unable to acquire or afford specialised resources and medical treatment.

Realising how much of a difference good health facilities and therapeutics can make, Zayn’s parents were inspired to start a fund in order to assist those who are less fortunate, and provide assistance to children who require mobility, hearing, visual, learning or communication aids.

CWF Kids showed their support of the Zayn Cajee Children’s Warrior Fund, and aimed to raise money and awareness towards the provision of assistive devices to children who can’t afford them. CWF Kids takes on two projects per year, and in 2018, their hearts were drawn to campaigning for Zayn Cajee’s project.

At the end of last year, kids around the country did their part in raising money for this worthy cause. The primary aim of this most recent fundraising project was to encourage children to read, and so, a read-a-thon was suggested. Getting the youth to improve their literacy skills, while collecting funds for other children with special health needs is an insightful and beneficial idea! 

From August 2018 to January 2019, children throughout the country devoured as many new books as they could, bookmarked pages, shared stories, and enriched their own lives, as well as those of the CWF Kids. The children and area representatives did a sterling job nationwide and were able to collect a grand total of R70 000. The money raised is dedicated to making a change and improving the lives of children that are in desperate need of assistive devices.

This touching campaign is more than just a fundraising initiative, it teaches children from an early age that the gift of giving is far more valuable than receiving, and that, although they may be young of age, they have the power and ability to make a difference. We’d love to see ‘reading with a purpose’ become the foundation for more youth-led fundraising projects.

Read more about Zayn’s incredible journey on his blog, which is run by his parents.

For more information on the CWF Kids, contact Nousheen on 082 545 2888 or email info@cwfkids.org.za

Mini Miracles ease new mothers into parenthood with baby starter packs

“A mother is always the beginning. She is how things begin.” – Amy Tan

From the moment a new life is ushered into the world, the entire conservation of their existence rests on the shoulders of his or her mother for the first few months, although the significance of a mother’s role can never be fully illustrated nor appreciated. In an attempt to help destitute new mums embrace that role better, Razeena Saloojee established Mini Miracles – an ongoing fundraising drive that uses its foundation to benefit struggling mothers and their newborn babies.

Initiated in September 2018, Mini Miracles has been collecting donations and assembling ‘baby starter packs’ which are generously-filled bags containing with all the essentials every new mother needs. With the rising prices of diapers, baby toiletries, clothes and formula, it becomes almost impossible for low-income families to keep up with the constant requirements of an infant.

The Mini Miracles project spreads its open hands across Hillbrow Hospital in Johannesburg and FER Hospital on the far East Rand. The project is an ongoing one, with Razeena working ceaselessly to collect enough funds or contributions to make up the hampers. Each hamper usually includes baby clothes, a blanket, face cloths, maternity pads, toilet rolls, wet wipes and nappies, as well as something for the new mother to snack on during those long, sleepless nights. The lovely tote that the products are packaged in also serves as a functional nappy bag.

There is no reward greater than seeing the look of desperation washed away from the face of an exhausted mother, post-labour, after being presented with a gift bag of everything that she and her little treasure would need. Many of these mums arrive at the hospital with few or no baby products in hand.

Thus far, a total of 360 bags have been created, with thanks due to the many generous donations of money and items. Each bag is valued at +/-R230. Last December, 50 ‘Mum and Baby’ packs were also given to charity organisation, Colours of Hope, to distribute at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

Razeena is grateful for all the support she’s received towards the project from her family and friends. Local bloggers also joined in to donate and promote the campaign via their online social media platforms which increased awareness.

We hope to see this project grow and expand to more public hospitals around South Africa. Until then, Razeena and her benevolent sponsors can be content that so many young lives began with love, comfort and cosiness, all thanks to them.

 

For more information on Mini Miracles, please contact Razeena Saloojee on 072 221 2342 or email razi@maingaming.co.za

Sisters of Hope provide new school shoes for children to step into the new year

For most children, the start of the school year is always ridden with an equal mix of excitement and anxiousness. They have concerns about new class schedules and friends, getting accustomed to different teachers and making it on the sports team. Other kids have far more weighty concerns regarding the new school year; they don’t even have the necessary school uniform or stationery. 

The kindhearted ladies from Sisters of Hope were determined to make the new academic year a positive one for underprivileged children in Cape Town. The team held a fundraising dinner last year, where they were able to raise R21 ooo in aid of poorer communities. These funds were used to purchase brand new school shoes for children from Westbury, Newclare, Riverlea and Coronation madressahs. Most of these children’s parents are unemployed, and therefore cannot afford to buy them new school uniforms, shoes or stationery.

On 12 and 13 January 2019, the sisters handed out a notable 330 pairs of school shoes to the kids, who were overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown to them.

Sisters of Hope is an NPC dedicated to providing aid, uplifting and supporting orphans, and less fortunate children and elders who are vulnerable and do not have financial resources in Westbury, Newclare, Riverlea, Coronationville, Claremont and surrounding areas. These districts are known for notorious gangsterism, drugs, poverty, unemployment and terribly fearful living conditions. Their commitment is to provide help to these needy children and youth who are exposed to this toxic environment. “Sadness is to see children and elders suffering,” they mention.

The ladies who form Sisters of Hope industriously volunteer year in and year out, and believe in fundraising instead of asking for donations. It is with the assistance of their communities that they are able to gain support for their various initiatives. They also have a SOH Muslimah Youth group that aims to keep teens off the street and assists and grooms them into becoming good role models to their peers, as so many youngsters have fallen prey to drugs. This year, they also plan on empowering the mums in these vulnerable areas by enabling them to become self-sustaining Inshaa Allah.

 

For more information on Sisters of Hope, please contact Shenaaz Farred on 083 352 6663 or email sistersofhope2017@gmail.com

ICare’s Annual Children’s Day Spreads Cheer to Underprivileged Kids

The most valuable lessons that we can learn from children are how to play without abandon, find joy in the simplest things and be genuinely happy for no reason. These are the nuggets of wisdom that were so freely and joyously spread by kids of all ages at ICare’s Annual Children’s Day. Despite their less than ideal socio-economic situations, children from various orphanages and safe havens were treated to an entire day of FUN and PLAY, banishing thoughts of their despairing conditions without any worry about tomorrow.

The ICare Children’s Foundation raised the spirits of dozens of underprivileged kids on 6 December 2018, at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. They were transported from numerous  homes in the Cape area, including Bokaap Helpers, Elonwabeni Child and Family Centre, Marsh Memorial, Beitun Nur, Peace Home, Sherwood Park Safe House, Heideveld Safe House, Wisdom Pond, Driftsands Madressah, SOS Childrens’ Home, Solomons Haven, CT Multipurpose Centre and Baitul Ansaar.

For most of the elated youngsters, this was not just their first trip to the Castle of Good Hope, but it was their first journey into the actual CBD. Organisers and volunteers had a fun-filled day planned out, dotted with exciting activities, hearty meals and snacks, party packs and engaging rounds of sports and games. The kids also thoroughly enjoyed Playpoi, a performance art composed of swinging special tethered weights in rhythmical patterns.

The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue also lent their time and skills to do an informative presentation on fire-safety awareness. These tips are vital to vulnerable children living in informal settlements that are prone to shack fires.

Starting the day off on a healthy note, the children were treated to a nutritious breakfast and later a delicious lunch, which was the perfect refresher on the active day. Local professional soccer players from Cape Town City F.C. contributed their time to interact with the kids and gave them a motivational talk.

A fantastic grand total of over R50 000 was raised and contributed towards the event, made possible by a thread of charitable sponsors. ICare extends their most heartfelt gratitude to:

  • Shaieda and Adiel Lakay, as well as the Wynberg volunteers for preparing the breakfast, fruit and party packs.
  • Florida Foods, Truda Chips, Jive, Castle of Good Hope, Sulaiman & Sons, Palmo Meats and other sponsors.
  • Sports Stepping Stones, for providing the sporting activities.
  • The Original Cause Cabal, for introducing the children to Playpoi.
  • Cape Town City Football Club, for making time in their busy schedule to spend time with the kids.
  • Ivan Neethling and his team for sponsoring the venue.

Guest Patrons included Pastor Emmanuel Platzes, Prince and Paramount Chief Cyril January, and Adam Cloete (representative of the January Royal House of the Khoisan).

Undoubtedly the highlight of their year, the kids’ jubilant experience at ICare’s Annual Children’s Day is one which they will fondly remember. Thanks to ICare for bringing such joy into these little lives!

 

For more information on ICare Children’s Foundation, contact Sadiyya Absalom on 081 390 5039 / 021 699 0302 or email sadiyya@icare.org.za