Trauma Unit – Cleveland Police Station.
The social services department of Region 9 operates out of an office at the Cleveland Police Station, East of the Johannesburg City Centre. This area is dominated by slums and poverty, and the unit is an outreach program offering the local community assistance by way of information on and access to the government programs in place for social assistance, as well as immediate care for those in dire need. Every Friday afternoon, under the guidance of the local social worker, approximately 200 kg of maize meal and 50 kg of soy broth mix, supplied by the Trade plus Aid outreach program, is distributed to the poorest of the poor of the community. Any donations that are made at the Trade plus Aid Cleveland offices during the week are distributed to the community at the same time.
AIDS related deaths are most poignant in this scenario, where child run households of up to 8 people are at the mercy of a system struggling to keep up with the rapid loss of major breadwinners in family structures. An entire generation is being affected by this, leaving grandparents to raise grandchildren on a meagre pension, barely enough to sustain themselves, let alone entire families; or children to raise themselves and each other. In the most extreme of these poverty cases, we will put together a food parcel of the most basic of their requirements. It is a difficult situation, as we do not want to create a sense of dependency by the destitute families. However, it is to assist people like these that funds were raised in the first place.
Persimmon Street Hospice.
This is a converted house around the corner from the Cleveland Trade plus Aid office. This project attempts to assist the dying with a comfortable transition. There is no government assistance and the Hospice relies solely on donations. We supply the staple food requirements for their feeding program, by means of maize meal and donations received at the offices during the week. At any one time, the Hospice is home to some 30 people, and the short period the patients remain there is astounding. The Hospice staff can only care for these patients and do what the can to provide shelter, meals, comfort and pain relief in the patients’ last days. In many cases, the patients at the Hospice are in the advanced and final stages of their illness and cannot afford hospital care. They have often been shunned because of the stigma attached to the disease, or simply because their families and communities cannot afford to care for them. Due to the nature of their illnesses, and the fact that most of the patients are in the final stages, most patients face their transition soon after they arrive at the Hospice. The caregivers can only try to make the patients as comfortable as possible for the short time they are there. Regular warm meals, warm beds, safety and sanctuary are all provided at the Persimmon Street Hospice, and all of this is provided to them via donations and sponsorships.
Cleveland / Denver Informal Settlement and Ekukhanyeni Combined School.
With the assistance and co-ordination of the traditional leadership within the Informal Settlement, it is ensured that the correct protocol is followed for a twice weekly community feeding program to be implemented. The food, provided for the sponsorship and donations, is collected at the offices and taken back to the Informal Settlement, where it is cooked in a central clearing. People then gather at this clearing and the meals are distributed accordingly. Tuberculosis is also a leading cause of death within the Informal Settlement, as it has fatal effects of HIV/AIDS sufferers, as well as those who do not suffer from HIV/AIDS. Being an airborne disease, it is easy for TB to be transmitted in a community where there are up to 8 people living in one room, and where houses are literally built with one wall being that of the neighbour’s. At the Ekukhanyeni Combined School, 300 children are fed every day at lunch time, and we supply an additional 50 kg per week of Maize Meal and Soya for the students in their final year, who live at the school in a “Boarding School” style environment. This allows them an opportunity to study in a more stable environment than they may have in the Informal Settlement, thus giving them an environment where they can focus on their current studies and plans for future studies or life goals, and ultimately one that is more conducive to productivity. Many of the older students face pressure from their peers in terms of drugs, sex, crime and other such issues. However, they have chosen to focus on their studies in order to avoid these pressures, and to try and be part of the future. They have dreams and aspirations, and because they have chosen to board at the school to focus on achieving their goals and uplifting themselves, they are more likely to go on to do great things. Many of the former students have gone on to receive bursaries to universities, and get jobs.
City Centre Methodist Church Outreach Programme.
The City Centre Methodist Church runs an outreach program in Central Johannesburg, which feeds between 3 and 4 thousand people who live on the streets in the vicinity. Volunteers assist with distribution of food and other items donated, assistance with acquiring documentation such as IDs, and there are medical volunteers on board who provide basic health care to the communities at the same time. We assist the City Centre Methodist Church with their Outreach Program by supplying the soy mix that is used to make a well balanced broth, cooked at the kitchen of the church and distributed by car to various prearranged points throughout the city to people living on the streets of Johannesburg. The church also runs a support group on a weekly basis, which encourages individuals to set goals, and assists them in achieving these goals.
This project assists numerous children living on the streets of Johannesburg, the majority of whom choose to stay on the streets and sleep in streets, sewers and storm water drains for various reasons. For many of these children, living on the ruthless streets of Johannesburg is better than living in the homes they fled. Most often, these children have left home due to abuse of various natures, and say they would never go back.
FLOC – For the Love Of Children.
Located in the basement of a church in Pritchard Street, Central Johannesburg, this project has been running since 1989. It was created to provide pre-primary education to ensure firm grounding and a solid foundation for learning in young children, aged between three months and six years. There are 89 children, 35 of whom are from homeless, refugee or unemployed communities in the inner city of Johannesburg. Many of these children’s parents have come to Johannesburg seeking employment, but the reality is that finding jobs in the city is much harder than they anticipated. Maize Meal and Soya broth are provided to FLOC to provide morning porridge, a warm lunch and afternoon snacks for the children, many of whom would otherwise not receive any meals for the day.
Twilight Children – Hillbrow.
This project was established to provide support to children who, for various reasons, are living on the streets within the inner city area of Johannesburg, without any adult or family support. We supply the maize that is cooked and distributed during lunch time at the project. Homeless people of all ages receive a warm meal, basic medical treatment and whatever social services that the project can offer to assist with.
WWISA – Willing Workers In South Africa.
This is a development project in the Western Cape that assists the local community by facilitating international volunteers for the needy community. The schools in the area are supplied with maize meal for a feeding program that is targeted at the children from the informal settlements in the area.