Today is the 24th of March 2021 and roughly one year into the Coronavirus pandemic in South Africa. South Africa as a developing country faces many of the same challenges as other more developed countries in terms of this pandemic. Of course individuals who were already living in crisis before the pandemic are so much more likely to be the worst affected by it and this is definitely the case for the homeless here in South Africa. These are individuals who under the circumstances they find themselves living in are unable to look after themselves in terms of being well nourished and having a warm and safe environment to go home to. Where does this then leave them in terms of having to take safety precautions like having to sanitize and wear face masks as none of these things are free? These are all things we as more fortunate human beings so easily take for granted. Maybe worse still is that those people who thought nothing of these homeless peoples existence before the pandemic are now treating them like the plague. This not unlike the way the rest of the world has been treating South Africa in light of the new variant of the virus that was first discovered here.
About me: In 2014 I registered a non profit company “Fragments of Hope NPC” to assist women and children who are victims of human trafficking and other forms of gender based violence. I had it all planned out and started a website and Facebook page and had fliers printed, started a online business directory and had a video posted on YouTube to help create awareness and secure funding for the non profit. As the online directory got off to a slow start most of the funds to start up with came out of my personal bank account. I didn’t exactly know what I was doing at the time so I donated the raised funds to other organization's that supported the same causes thinking as soon as things start taking off the funds will be utilized by my own non profit. I got discouraged after a while as the response I received was not at all what I expected or was hoping for. I learnt just how difficult it was going it alone and became less and less active in trying to raise funds. For the past few years the non profit has only been making a small monthly contribution to another non profit company in Port Elizabeth. For quite some time now I have believed that helping others is my calling and therefore not really having helped anyone directly has left a part of me empty and guilt ridden. As humans we are simply able to move forward with our lives and we forget or become numb to the ugliness out there in the real world. This was certainly the case for me when I near abandoned the non profit and those that could have benefitted from it had it been successful.
I suffered a stroke when I was 5 or 6 years old and this left me with a permanent disability on my left side. Life was not easy growing up and even now 40 years of age I have still not made piece with my disability. In my head I often try use this “condition” as an excuse for my lack of confidence assuring myself once I make piece with everything I will go on to achieve all the things I hope to achieve through this non profit. Due to the pandemic I cancelled surgery to my left hand that was scheduled for May last year. This was to reduce the spasms in my left hand but would also reduce the functionality so the outcome of the surgery remains mostly unknown. I do intend re scheduling the surgery in Cape Town as soon as the pandemic is fully under control and my hope is that after the surgery I will some how gain renewed confidence to assist me through the darker days that lie ahead.
I do not seek sympathy by mentioning all of this on here but if you are going to be donating to my cause then you deserve to know exactly what you are donating towards. Also it is a way of holding me accountable so I can learn from my own past mistakes and build on future goals and ambitions for this non profit organisation. The lesson maybe is that life happens whether we are ready for it or not and using excuses to try and justify my past is no different from owning up to my own failures.
This cause: A few weeks ago I drove up Albany Road in Central and at the robot on the corner of Albany and Govan Mbeki Road stood a young girl possibly in her late teens or early 20s begging for money. Usually the first instinct when seeing a beggar at a robot is to avoid eye contact and hope the light changes green to spare us the feeling of guilt and discomfort. But on this day I looked into this persons eyes and just instantly felt all the guilt and emptiness rushing into my bloodstream, leaving this heaviness on my chest like my lungs have stopped working. If this is how I felt I couldn’t even start to imagine what must be going through this girls mind and what she must be living through every single day. My first instinct was to see how much money I had on me, as if giving her money would make me feel better about myself and would somehow make all her problems go away. But then your head tells you things like (you know any money you give her will likely be used to purchase some sort of narcotic), or at least that is what we are told. Then the light changes to green and you drive off without having taken any action at all and you wonder (Why didn’t I just try reaching out to her? Why didn’t I just ask if she was ok or if there was something I could do for her?). In a way I now feel responsible for this girl. Like we as human beings are all connected and responsible for one another and yet we are so self consumed that we are able to look at another desperate person in need and walk right past them without blinking.
William Wilberforce > Quotes
- “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”...
I then thought about what I could do for this girl so I contacted this non profit organisation that takes people off the streets and helps them by giving them a roof over their head and gets them into a program that gets them clean from any drugs or addictions if they had any and teaches them life skills to make them more employable should this be necessary. It’s a lot more than just a rehab program. This non profit organisation is willing to help this girl if they have beds available and the girl is willing to receive their help. The problem is that I have not been able to locate her again despite driving on all the routes where I thought she might possibly be. Very recently we mentioned this girl to a friend of ours and after describing her she said she regularly sees her standing at various points, so like me she too now drives around with a note to give to this lady offering her help if she wishes to accept it.
My hope is to talk to this girl and get her into this rehabilitation program and to offer her whatever assistance I can until she is completely self sufficient and off the streets. I realize that I do not know if she will accept this help when I do speak with her or even if she does that this centre will be able to accommodate her.
My reason for appealing for financial help today is to be in a position to help this girl by any means possible if and when I do find her. Should she refuse this help, which I doubt she will, will I through your donations be in a stronger position to help others who do wish to be helped and to again focus on my own non profit company in helping those who I initially intended on helping.
These people on the streets are in the situations they find themselves in because of personal circumstances beyond their control or maybe even because of bad decisions made in their past. The reason they are unable to improve their lives is largely because of a dysfunctional government that has absolutely nothing to offer its citizens. This is why we have to stand up and help these people who have possibly given up on life a long time ago already.
I believe this is an incredibly worthy cause and I appeal to every person reading this who can assist to do so. Please support this cause to help this girl and through your donation hold me accountable to ensure she gets all the help she needs.
Please feel free to contact me via email should you have any questions or wish to discuss anything related to this cause.[email protected]