As temperatures drop, we often tend to retreat to where we are most comfortable – physically and emotionally. We’d like to challenge you to get out and make a difference in July.
For many, winter is a matter of survival whether it’s about the physical challenges like the basics of food and a place to stay or emotional challenges we face due to hardships we face. One thing that we have realised is that we all live in our own little boxes – isolated from the outside world – and we forget that there are other people around us who are struggling with exactly the same issues or worse. Staying in your own bubble this winter is not going to warm any hands or hearts.
No one has ever become poor by giving.
With it being Mandela Day on the 18th of July, but also with it being a wintery month filled with physical and emotional challenges, we’d like to see Pretoria come together as a community and step up to the challenge of helping each other and being there for one another. Even the smallest gestures often make a big difference.
There are so many options out there when it comes to volunteering and helping others. Volunteering is not limited to the preservation and conservation of South Africa’s wildlife, it is also much needed in children’s homes, at animal rescue centres, in old age homes and on our streets.
Jakaranda Children’s Home in East Lynne Pretoria looks after 250 abused children who have been removed from their parents due to abandonment, neglect, emotional and physical abuse. You can make a difference in a child’s life by volunteering at this children’s home, helping out with the kids’ homework, excursions, mending clothes and helping out with maintenance, events and company golf days.
LifeLine Pretoria provides confidential, free counselling to members of the community and they have been doing so for the past 40 years. Trained counsellors are committed to giving emotional support either telephonically or in face-to-face interviews. The organisation is community based, which means LifeLine involves the community at large to achieve its objectives. They have four centres serving the community, including Val de Grace, Queenswood, Mamelodi and Soshanguve.
PEN serves the community under a number of themes, one of them being Community Support and Citizen’s Rights. Their objective with this is to provide access to the basic needs of vulnerable children, adults and elderly in the Tshwane community in the form of emergency shelter, clothing, food and access to sanitation. Through this program, they guide the people they serve to get a clear understanding of their basic human rights, to have access to services they are entitled to (like identity documents, healthcare and grants) and they also take an advocacy role for communities whose rights have been abused.
Khuluma Family Counselling
Emotional and social health is every person’s right and even though we can’t necessarily see the scars of emotional damage, it’s just as important to attend to as physical scars. Khuluma Family Counselling offers a broad spectrum of psycho-social support services to people from all walks of life and have touched over 8000 people’s lives in the bigger Tshwane community. Their projects include victim empowerment, family counselling and children and adult play therapy.
Kungwini Welfare Ogranisation
This organisation manages the Paul Jungnickel Home (a home for adults with disabilities), the Kungwini Children’s Home, the Kungwini Early Learning Centres as well as community development projects and social work services. They invite volunteers to become involved either through special activities with their residents or on a more long-term basis. They offer medical care and residence to 140 disabled adults and education, care and residence to 20 children with special needs between the ages of 14 and 18.
Founded in 2013, Brainlife has since been supporting an average of 125 people at any given time who have been affected or who are affected by acquired brain injuries. The members’ injuries include motor vehicle accidents, strokes, injuries from assaults and diagnosed brain tumours.
The Character Company
This initiative’s goal is to help to change the culture of violence and abuse by helping boys to grow into good men by instilling honourable values in them. The Character Company is active in Pretoria and Johannesburg and through weekly afternoon activities, monthly camps and other events and fundraisers they get to touch the lives of boys who don’t necessarily have a role model to look up to. They help single mothers and the community to raise good men through a MENtorship program, positively impacting families and society.
Wollies Animal Shelter
If your heart lies with our furry friends, there is ample ways to get involved in the feeding, sheltering and loving of Pretoria’s animals too. What started out as a sterilisation project, grew into a full-scale shelter for animals where they are well looked after, fed and loved by volunteers from all over. There are numerous ways in which you can get involved to help a dog or a cat, whether it’s by being a sponsor, a volunteer or adopting one of these little furballs. Wollies also makes an effort to create awareness when it comes to topics like pet theft.
We pass people (and animals) on the streets on a daily basis who often haven’t had anything to eat for days. In the evenings many of them have nowhere to go, with the bare minimum on their backs; toes sticking through the front of their shoes. Winter is no joke for many people and the scary part is that we often think we live in different worlds while we actually live among each other – we just choose not to see it.
Let’s make July the start of something good – helping others through the chill of winter, whether it’s a physical winter challenge where they just have no home, food or warm blankets or whether it’s a wintery season emotionally.
Let’s do some good.