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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

Islamic Relief ‘Bakes the World a Better Place’ with Fundraiser for Yemen

A country shattered by the repercussions of a civil war, Yemen is one of the poorest nations in the Middle East. Thousands of civilians have lost their lives in the war, tens of thousands more have incurred severe injuries, and millions are left in desperate need of humanitarian aid, medical treatment and food. According to the BBC, 8. 4 million people are at a risk of starvation, with young children at the highest risk of malnutrition and mortality. 

Islamic Relief SA brought attention to the calamities faced by the everyday Yemeni, by holding a drive to raise funds for the imperilled nation.  The ‘Bake the world a better place’ project took place on 24 November 2018 in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. This community fundraiser had local Samaritans get out their sugar and spatulas in aid of the cause. Well-loved neighbourhood café, Solly’s Corner in Lilian Ngoyi Street availed their premises for the event which began after 10 am. 

A score of big-hearted volunteers offered to put up their finest creations for sale, with all proceeds going towards assisting orphans in Yemen. The event placed emphasis on the tagline #YEMENCANTWAIT as World Digest estimates that 85 000 children have already died of starvation. This famine-ridden country deserves far more media attention and everyone is encouraged to also adopt this hashtag.

Islamic Relief SA was touched by the number of bakers who approached them to sponsor different type of cakes and baked goods. Their willingness to give back to humanity is a step in the right direction. They were also awed by the generosity of all those who made donations in cash or kind towards the project. “May Allah bless them all.”

A total amount of R21 000 was raised which will be used to attain medical supplies, food and shelter for destitute Yemenis. Islamic Relief also hopes to contribute towards giving them better standards of living – Insha-Allah. The current accelerating cholera outbreak has seen up to 10 000 new cases being reported per week.

May the heartfelt gestures of South African welfare organisations, sponsors and volunteers (such as these) provide a ray of hope to the Yemeni people, who are afflicted by abysmal circumstances over 5 800km away.

For more information on the cause, contact Zaheer Rajah on 067 057 4803 or email zaheer.rajah@islamic-relief.org.za

 

‘Buy a Brick’ Campaign Lays the Foundation for Ennerdale Orphanage

Everything great begins with one decision, one step in the right direction, one donation, and one brick to lay a foundation. The Muslim community of Ennerdale, in the south of Johannesburg, have pooled their resources together to establish a much-needed orphanage in the area.

Plans for the Bait Haleema Sa’adiyya Orphanage are being funded through the aptly-named ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign, which encourages all Joburg residents to donate towards building material and make a difference in the lives of desolate kids. The purpose of the noble project is to reduce the suffering of orphans and prevent children from ending up in dismal conditions on the street. The home hopes to create a loving and nurturing environment, and produce young adults who will become valued and productive members of society.

Each brick costs just R20, and the finished building will be able to house 120 vulnerable children. Donations of R6000 per square meter can also be made or an entire villa can be sponsored at R380 000 for the purpose of Sadaqah Jariyah (a form of continuous charity someone does that remains operative even after the person has passed). Each villa will accommodate 8-10 orphans and one house mother.

The campaign got ‘off the ground’ on 10 September 2017, when a soil-turning ceremony was held to mark the momentous occasion. Local public donors had collected R25 000, with R300 000 pledged by surrounding communities. This is an ongoing construction project which is being built as and when money and bricks are donated. Since Bait Haleema is a non-profit organisation, they rely heavily on donations to complete this project.

Currently, two villas have been erected with the third and fourth still under construction, aiming for completion at the end of December 2018 – Insha Allah. The facility will be a safe haven for kids of all races and religions with no place to go, and will feature a salaah khana (prayer room), toy library, play room and study area. The home will open its doors offering care and guardianship to abandoned children from as young as a few months old to age 18. The Bait Haleema Sa’adiyya Orphanage will recruit 12 full-time house mothers to tend to the children who will also be able to seek academic, personal and emotional support, and counselling when needed from qualified mentors. 

The organisation is grateful for all the sponsorships which they have received so far and guarantee all donors that their pledges will ensure that each orphan child stays in school, continues their education, and becomes a leader within their community.

 

We anticipate the official opening of this welcoming children’s shelter and applaud the Bait Haleema Sa’adiyya Orphanage team for their hard work and efforts, bearing in mind that big things are built one brick at a time. 

For more information on this project, contact Nazarene Mohammed on 083 653 5669 or email bhorphanage@webmail.co.za

Alternatively, make a donation to:

Madressah Ihya Uloom ud Deen

ABSA – Lenasia

Account no: 407 404 5915

Branch code: 632005

Ref: Bricks

Please email the Proof of Payment to: bhorphanage@webmail.co.za

 

ICare Children’s Foundation Hosts Annual Muharram Senior’s Lunch

One of the greatest honours in life is taking care of those who once took care of us. While the elderly are often forgotten and overlooked, these incredible men and women should be celebrated as the pillars of society, admired for their contribution to their communities and consulted for their wisdom and experience.

The ICare Children’s Foundation in Rylands, Cape Town, recently commemorated these venerable souls by hosting a Muharram (new year) lunch in their honour. The welfare organisation, which usually works in aid of the youth, acknowledges senior citizens annually with an enjoyable and memorable luncheon to ring in the Islamic new year. For some of these respected guests, this is the only outing of its kind that they attend during the year.

The event was held at The Gatesville Civic Centre in Gatesville, Cape Town, on 11 October 2018. A total of 320 guests were treated to a delicious 4-course meal which included starters, two mains and desserts. Other than the appetising dishes and splendid company, the retirees were also delighted by entertainment and gifts.

Young talent entertain the esteemed elderly guests

Seniors from all walks of life, races and religions united under one roof and rejoiced in this special occasion, gratified in just being remembered. The guests were invited from various old age homes and villages through senior networks in the area, including Apricot Village, Beitul Amman, Women Who Care, Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies and Kensington Home to name a few.

The function wouldn’t have been possible without the generous contribution and assistance from local businesses and individuals in the community. They were able to raise R20 000 in sponsorships and R5000 in cash.

 

ICare thanks all their donors and mentions that they wish to grow the annual event to benefit even more people in the future. Inshaa-Allah.

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

 

Schools in Limpopo Receive Mobile Desks Thanks to Penny Appeal and the TutuDesk Campaign

While children have a natural curiosity and an avidity for gaining knowledge, by giving them the right tools and the best possible learning environment, these will only serve to elevate their education even further.

Humanitarian and welfare organisation, Penny Appeal SA, has established the ‘Education First’ project which aims to give underprivileged learners the means and implements to supplement their studies. The noble campaign is aimed at supplying access to quality education, stationery, school bags, shoes and mobile desks to specifically identified schools which have very limited resources.

During September 2018, Penny Appeal partnered with the Desmond Tutu ‘TutuDesk’ Campaign in order to provide mobile desks to impoverished schools in the Limpopo province. 2000 Desks were distributed across five schools in three localities between 5-6 September 2018.

The deserving schools were selected as recipients as they do not have access to school supplies such as stationery, desks, chairs, etc. Most of the attending students come from destitute backgrounds, and therefore their schools become a central focus of hope and education. On occasion, meals are also provided by the schools.

 

Through this beneficient donation, the students will wholly benefit from being able to write, read and work on the mobile desks. These ergonomic tables come in handy at schools where there are no available writing surfaces or where desks are badly damaged. The mobile units can also be taken home where learners are encouraged to use them for homework, learning and in some cases, it has been known to be used as a table to eat their meals off – as the child’s home may not even have a table.

Thanks to the kind donation from Penny Appeal SA and the TutuDesk Campaign, these children can now improve their learning experience with proper equipment. Penny Appeal’s ‘Education First’ project envisions providing relevant assistance to disadvantaged schools and students that is sustainable. This valuable sponsorship also marks the beginning of the ‘Education First’ project and it’s an excellent way to start. Changing the lives of these learners is the only appreciation that the organisation requires.

In addition, Penny Appeal SA aims to address sanitation and hygiene issues within the supported schools and plans to provide access to sustainable farming that will benefit the youth and curb poverty in the community. The locations identified are in dire need of sanitation facilities, empowerment projects, and solutions to issues such as poverty.

Until these obstacles are resolved, students can look forward to going to school each day and having a special place for each of them to work on. What is merely a small portable table to the rest of us, is in fact, a symbol of promise, progress and aspiration for these kids.

To find out more about Penny Appeal SA’s upcoming ‘Education First’ and health and sanitation projects, email hello@pennyappeal.org.za or call 081 407 2753

 

Caring Women’s Forum Hosts Cancer Fundraising Brunch

Cancer doesn’t just affect the life of the patient, it’s far-reaching consequences also tragically ripple across the hearts, lives and emotions of family and loved ones. September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, bringing attention to the fact that over 300 000 children across 100 countries are diagnosed with cancer each year. Around 80% of child cancer patients come from low- and middle-income homes, and don’t have access to proper medical care. Most sufferers and their families can barely afford the exorbitant fees required for ongoing treatment, medication and visits to specialists.

 

While the cost of treatments for patients continues to rise, the Caring Women’s Forum (CWF) intervened by hosting a fundraiser to help cover expenses. The women-led community-based NGO organised a fundraising brunch to create awareness around this critical topic.

The Parisian-inspired brunch was held on 15 September 2018, when dynamic speakers and generous community members – brought together by their compassion and solidity of purpose – were treated to a delectable spread.

This ‘ladies only’ event was held at much-loved halaal eatery, Ozzy’s Kitchen in Wynberg, Johannesburg. First National Bank and Islamic Relief SA charitably sponsored the full amount of every ticket paid to the cause. Amka also generously contributed towards the event. All proceeds will be donated towards cancer organisations that specifically aid individuals who are afflicted by cancer.

The event was compèred by Akila Mayet and featured an emotionally moving talk by guest speaker and cancer survivor Asima Moosa, as well as Tasneem Khan, who sadly lost her mother to the disease. Both ladies bravely shared their own journeys while on the podium, and were signifiers of strength and fortitude. Dr Fatima Bhabha also graced the audience with her vast knowledge and experience. Other guest speakers included Nabila Mayet-Cassim, who represented Islamic Relief SA, as well as Martha Nkhwashu from First National Bank.

An impressive amount of R60 000 was raised on the day, and this will surely make a significant mark on the selected charities. Islamic Relief SA recently funded a R150 million state-of-the-art Oncology Unit at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, setting the bar for modern, child-centred healthcare facilities in Africa.

The dedicated CWF team worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the event. The fundraiser wouldn’t have been possible without the kind sponsorship of FNB Islamic Banking and Islamic Relief SA, which believe in the work CWF do and support causes that make a positive impact on lives and communities.

CWF has its own cancer care support group. The funds raised will also be filtered to this worthy cause while a sum will be donated to other cancer organisations in different communities. The money collected will be used for food, medical appointments, medical tests, palliative care, medical equipment and support of cancer patients who cannot afford any of these services. Deserving patients can now look forward to receiving the dedicated care, relief and medical attention that they desperately require.

The Caring Women’s Forum continuously strives in the direction of social upliftment and we admire the commitment and benignity of these special ladies.

 

For more information, please contact Zaheerah Bham-Ismail on zaheerah@innovate.co.za

Penny Appeal SA Partners with Lumkani to Donate Early-Warning Fire-Detection Systems in Masiphumelele

Every year, townships around the country are devastated by rapid and widespread shack fires, often leading to loss of property and possessions, and sometimes, the tragic demise of precious lives. The combination of strong winds, flammable building materials and densely populated settlements with few access roads make informal communities extremely vulnerable to the spread of uncontrollable fires that are difficult to put out, and often, there isn’t enough time to warn residents and get them out safely.

 

In order to mitigate damages and prevent loss of life, Penny Appeal South Africa partnered with Lumkani in August 2018 to donate and distribute 100 early-warning devices within Masiphumelele, a township in Cape Town. Lumkani is the name for the compact device that acts as an early-warning system to reduce the destruction caused by the spread of slum fires in urban informal settlements. The ‘fire-detection device’ concept was born from a collaboration between Samuel Ginsberg, a lecturer from the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Cape Town, and his student, Francois Petousis, who came up with a solution to the problem, which they named Lumkani – a solution that would change the lives of thousands of people.

When the risk of a fire arises, the detectors send out an early-warning alarm, networked within a 60-metre radius, which allows people to evacuate their living spaces, and for help to be alerted. This, in turn, allows for the community to become pro-active in ensuring that the risk of injury and loss of life can be averted, belongings can be salvaged and disasters minimised. The collaboration with Lumkani was smoothly implemented, along with the help of the community liaison officer, who provided excellent support in identifying locations and areas where the devices should be installed.

Residents who inhabit the Masiphumelele informal settlement will undisputedly benefit from this intervention, as being signalled as soon as a fire breaks out will allow them to grab their most important belongings, gather loved ones, and immediately evacuate the affected area. 

In addition to Penny Appeal SA’s generous blanket distribution and provision of warm meals during the winter months, this charitable organisation wanted to invest more in the safety and wellbeing of our fellow South African citizens.

We hope to see Lumkani early-warning fire-detection systems allocated across all local townships in future, as this innovative invention could be the answer to saving homes, personal effects and most importantly, lives. 

For more information, please contact Shaheen Sha from Penny Appeal SA on 081 407 2753 or email hello@pennyappeal.org.za

To learn more about Lumkani, visit their website

 

Dress-up Diaries Gifts Pre-Owned Evening Wear to Underprivileged Girls

Every young girl revels in the opportunity to dress up in a beautiful gown and accessories, with dreams of being the belle of the matric ball or just to have something tasteful and pretty to wear to a family wedding. The Dress-up Diaries affords girls from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to ‘shop’ through a fabulous selection of second-hand evening wear, shoes, bags and accessories, promoting the concept of femininity, inner beauty and self-confidence.

Run in association with the Caring Women’s Forum, the second DUD project took place at the Suliman Nana Memorial Hall in Crosby on 23 June 2018. Gently-used evening dresses, heels, handbags and accessories were collected nationwide for the event, while members of the public were asked to nominate girls who were deserving and in need of attire suited for a special occasion. 80 Girls from underprivileged schools, orphanages and safety homes were then invited to attend this exciting shopping experience, and were given style tips and advice by the volunteers and organisers, who went out of their way to ensure that each young lady left with the perfect outfit.

The event was graced by Mrs Charity 2018, Candice Robbertze, who spoke to the young ladies about female empowerment and instilled courage, confidence and belief into their minds and hearts by sharing her own experiences. Candice also kindly donated healthy food items to the girls, encouraging them to take care of their bodies from the inside out.

Tasneem Valley shared her knowledge on skin care and beauty tips, and pointed out items which we already have in our homes as the best sources of food for our skins. This proved to the girls that self-care and feeling beautiful and radiant is not dependant on the ability to afford pricey skincare products. The girls left the event not only with bags full of clothing, but more importantly, with hearts full of joy and confidence.

“There are many influences which place pressure on defining the ‘beauty of women’, often only from a perspective of outer beauty. There is more to beauty than the way someone looks; beauty relates to the way a woman feels, her etiquette, deportment, self-esteem and confidence.” 

This trailblazing style project allows girls to select their dream dresses through a make-shift clothing store, that attempts to create a retail atmosphere for them to shop in. What was once someone’s formal occasion gown has been given a new life in the hands of an enthusiastic teen who had only seen dresses like these in magazines. These pre-loved outfits and accessories have been re-purposed and given a new home, lending both dignity and grace to its new owners.

For more information on the Dress-up Diaries, contact:

  • Raeesa – 072 674 2334
  • Fatima – 071 478 0202
  • Tasneem – 083 859 7860
  • Muniba – 072 285 8208