Friday, August 29, 2008

More Zen, Less Phobia

Friends of mine who work for a Cape Town NGO rallied up to help the many refugees that ended up in the Desmond Tutu Hall in Khayletsia during the attacks.
I just found out that they started a blog about it, and I am still working my way through the posts:

Along with them giving hands-on love, attention and support that continues months after the drama, they begged us public to also rally up… Apparently we did R76,648.95 worth of rallying ourselves!

Good for us. Back pat. Back pat.

In a most professional admirable way, they emailed us an update three months down the line, and gave us a break down on where our donations really went:

Airtime for people in the hall to contact family members: R559.76
Food, heaters, medicine, baby stuff, kitchen equipment and gas refills: R37,565.82
Money for displaced Zambian learners at IkamvaYoth KZN to replace uniforms and textbooks: R1000.00
Mattresses: R16,950.00
First month's rent for families to re-integrate into the community: R13,583.54
Printing for survey of needs and plans for the future, plus conversion of dv tape to dvd of footage from the hall: R480.26
Transport and telecommunications: R2610.68
Transport for unwell young woman to return to Zimbabwe: R1000.00
Investment in Willard and Juma's arts and crafts project: R1352.18
Bank charges: R565.11
TOTAL: R76,648.95

So, not out of laziness as much as it warmed my heart, here are bits of the mail from yesterday. And then go and check out their blog:

Hello again everyone,

It's been three months since I sent out an email appealing for your help as the xenophobic crisis hit Khayelitsha. Your response was overwhelmingly rapid and generous, and has enabled us help the people who ended up living at the Desmond Tutu hall. (By now, most have re-integrated into the community, and about 30 of the original Desmond Tutu hall dwellers are now in the nearby Solomon Mahlangu hall).

In total, IkamvaYouth received R76648.95 from a large number of people. Thank you so much to all of you, and especially to those who forwarded the email on and got your friends and family to donate as well. Thanks too to the people in the UK, Ireland, the US, Antigua and Basque Country who collected funds and transferred money to us. A very big THANK YOU is also due to the ikamvanites (learners, volunteers and interns from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Ireland and the US) and TAC and other volunteers who gave their time and skills to help.

In the midst of this hugely depressing and disillusioning situation, your response gave hope. And it also provided basic essentials to people who have had everything taken away from them. Please see the break-down of the expenditure of your donations below
[ed. Above in the case of this blog post]. Your response to IkamvaYouth's appeal to help us help our neighbours was far larger and more effective than we had anticipated. And the impact was also further reaching. In addition to helping the displaced people, the involvement of our learners and volunteers in purchasing and distributing the food, medicines, kitchen equipment etc, sparked discussions and debate on issues of xenophobia and poverty, and helped to ensure that the Makhaza community was one into which many people have been able to re-integrate.

Please also have a look at the blog that we created, which features letters of thanks from Willard and Juma, the extremely inspiring young men from Zimbabwe who stood up to lead the community of hall dwellers. Despite the dire situations in which they found themselves, and the daily challenges they faced (one example of many: two women employed by the Department of Housing broke into the kitchen in the early hours one morning and stole the donated groceries), Willard and Juma never failed to put the others in the hall before them, and worked tirelessly to ensure that the hungry were fed and the sick received care.

Willard and Juma's response to the xenophobia that has wrecked their lives is one of forgiveness and reconciliation. In order to rebuild their lives and address the poverty they believe caused the violent outbreak, they have established a wire art project in Makhaza. They are inviting the members of their community to join them (both South Africans and foreign nationals), and the objectives of their project are to provide a means for creative expression, income generation and collaboration for peace and prosperity.

If you would like to help Willard and Juma to purchase materials for their project, please
[contact them via the blog].

Unfortunately, the crisis continues. There are still many halls and camps filled with many destitute people. The Treatment Action Campaign's amazing work to help people throughout the Western Cape is completely inspiring. From lobbying the Government in court
to continued humanitarian aid on the ground, TAC's leadership and action is interminable.
Please help them with the funds they desperately need to continue:

Thanks again!

And on that note, HAPPY WEEKEND!!

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