WHERE DO ALL THE BLANKETS GO?
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
It’s getting REALLY nippy outdoors.
Do dropping temps need to get you down?
We don’t believe it should and have been inundated with messages from Mad Chariteers excited about the May Blanket drive.
The number one question on everyone’s minds has been, yes you guessed it…
Where are all the blankets going to?
Before I divulge where they are going, let me share a quick back story with you.
In early January my doctor told be about this amazing patient she had that has been selflessly serving the children of Johannesburg for the last 30+ years.
She spoke so highly of Sister Helen that I knew I had to meet her.
A Tuesday Morning Field Trip
Situated a short way up the R554 to Lenasia off the old Vereeniging road I turned down an obscure dirt road. Easy to miss this dirt road marks the start of the start of the Eikenhof informal settlement.
Met by the site of brightly coloured containers and a sports field I turned into the gates adjacent a small sign indicating that I was at the right place.
Bustling all around are small children in school uniform rushing to form a line as they wait for their teach to lead them off to class from break time.
The grounds keeper notices my arrival and promptly motions to come unlock the wire mesh gate, welcoming me in.
Having parked in the limited space available for cars I switch the engine off take a quick sip of water and disembark.
There she stands…
Short in stature but MASSIVE in heart, wearing a purple fleece she comes over to greet me with her easily recognizable Irish accent. We dispense with hand shakes as she pulls me closer for a hug, the type of hug your loving gran would give you.
Accompanied with her is the schools principal Amanda, concealing a pair of socks that one of the children had obviously temporarily misplaced.
I feel the immediate need to straighten up and count my words as one does when faced with any principal. Amanda on the hunt for the owner of the socks politely excuses herself and walks off with purpose.
The Grand Tour
Sister Helen in her calm manner invites me to come walk the school grounds with her.
We start the tour with the kitchen area just adjacent to the gate. Inside the kitchen one of the schools longest serving staff members, Suzanne, is starting the preparation of the 500 meals that are served to the children twice daily.
Departing the same way we came in we proceed down a walkway between two pre-fab classrooms. Interestingly their are long rows of steel hooks down the walls of these classrooms adorned with backpacks that would be typically over-sized when slung over the shoulder of grade 1.
Sister Helen emphasizes the schools strict stance on personal hygiene and that pupils are to arrive as clean today as they departed the day before. The constraints are obvious, there is no running water freely available within the settlement.
Nevertheless, dignity and a hope for better circumstance are strong on the agenda here.
As we walk along I peak into the classrooms trying not to distract or disturb these young minds but kids being kids, a distraction is always welcomed.
The littlest of ones in the creche follow a curriculum specially focused on Early Childhood Development, “Play with a Purpose”.
The older children (and by older I mean Grade 1-3) also follow a curriculum set out by the department of education. Literacy, Languages, Maths and Computer skills are all front and center ensuring when the children leave to go to primary schools (Grade 4 and up) that they are well prepared.
The school also provides a facility for children in the area to come in the afternoons and complete their homework.
As we finish our walkabout and head back to the office for a cup of coffee, we get to the real purpose of this visit…
Any fantastic facility such as this relies largely on donations from generous people such as yourselves (Insert Back Pat Here)
Feeding, clothing and educating these children in a safe environment does not come without a cost. Every measure is taken to ensure nothing goes to waste.
So how can you help?
Step 1: Action
There are 507 children that would stand to benefit greatly from your donation of even one blanket.
We’ve made Donation simple, just head over to the DONATE HERE tab above and add a blanket (or a couple) to cart.
Proceed to Check Out
Fill in your billing info and proceed to payment:)
It’s as quick and easy as that!
Step 2: Volunteer
Want to come with when we deliver the blankets and meet these lovely people? Just drop us a mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll keep you updated with when we plan to go.
Step 3: Connect
Sister Helen and the wonderful staff at the Lerato Educational Centre are doing phenomenal work. Check out their Facebook page and give them a shout out of encouragement, contact them and see where you can help out.
Visiting the school is a great experience and one that I can highly recommend!
The Greater Need (Paving)
Sister Helen is always striving to better the facility which is largely proportionate to the support they will receive from organs of the State.
This being said, a vast amount of the pathways and play areas are dirt and gravel. We would like to pave this area for them.
If you feel you would like to be part of this special project, know anyone who might or are looking for a project your company can sponsor. Contact me directly on 0723520408.
Your support means the world to us and we look forward to embarking on this months challenge with you:)