As we step out of our Covid lockdown and open up the borders to South Africa, we look back on the last six months with many mixed feelings. It has been a tough time for all, but we are grateful for the help and support of so many people throughout this time. In our last newsletter, we were just starting our lockdown journey. Below are some updates of what we have achieved during this time and our plans going forward.
Thank you to all of the wonderful people who made these things possible, from blankets to ice cream days, food runs to maintenance support around the centres and much more. We appreciate each and every donation, as well as all the support and help that came in throughout the lockdown period.
Tiyimiseleni Home-Based Care Centre
The Home-Based Care Centre reopened its doors at the beginning of October and it was wonderful to be able to see the beautiful faces of the children happily running around once more in the playgrounds and going back to school. The Centre maintains strict Covid safety protocols, which the house mothers are instilling in the children.
Through the generosity and donations that we received from Savanna’s guests when lockdown started, we were able to purchase lovely warm blankets for all the children, to keep them snug through the cold winter months. The food parcels continued throughout lockdown and, on a weekly basis, the children would come to the Centre at different times with their wheelbarrows to take their food supplies home, as we were unable to feed them at the Centre.
Although it was a tough time for the house mothers and the children, owing to the unknown nature of lockdown, seeing the camaraderie between everyone was heart-warming and it proved a wonderful time to bond people together.
We mentioned previously the wonderful donations of seedlings that we received. The vegetable garden flourished throughout lockdown and the ladies at the Centre were able to produce enough to give all the children fresh vegetables to take home, as well as to sell the excess produce, which went back into buying more food for the Centre.
The children were recently treated to a special Ice Cream Day, compliments of two special sponsors, to help celebrate the re-opening of the Centre. The timing was spot on, as it was a stifling 42 degrees the day the ice cream van arrived and it provided the perfect ice-cool welcome for all the children.
We are delighted to say that our most recent house for a child-headed household has finally been completed. In the March newsletter, we showed pictures of the work in progress, but in July the Shabangu family were able to move into their own home. What a wonderful day it was to see this family’s excitement to have their own kitchen, bedrooms, running water and electricity. They can now have peace of mind that they have a safe place to live. Thank you to the Savanna guests who have sponsored this project and made it possible.
Although we have been very fortunate to have received some incredible donations, we constantly continue to raise funds for the children’s food, clothing and school uniforms, as well as their basic necessities. With one month to go until Christmas, we are hoping we will still be able to give the children a Christmas party – a well-deserved celebration to end the difficult year of 2020.
Please click on this link to see a short video on our Home-Based Care Centre.
Hlayisekani Nursing Home
Nyiko and his team of nurses continue to take exceptional care of the residents at the nursing home. However, as you can imagine, the nursing home has been under strict lockdown over the last six months. Nyiko has worked tirelessly with the nurses at the Centre to keep the residents healthy and well-fed, with special thanks for the donations from #CommunityCanChallenge, #sightandlife, #matumidistributors and Savanna sponsors.
Being under lockdown without any visitors was challenging for the residents’ mental health too. Many of the residents were feeling low in spirits as a result of the isolation and, once we were able to change to a lighter restriction level, the ‘Youth in Action’ Choir visited the Centre and performed for the residents at a safe distance while wearing masks. I am sure many of you remember these beautiful songs from around the Savanna fire during previous visits. It was such a special day and wonderful to see the residents dancing and singing along with the ‘Youth in Action’ Choir members.
Nyiko faces many challenges in the days ahead. As mentioned in the previous newsletter, with the changes that Covid-19 has brought upon us, he is unsure whether he will receive the government grant which enables the Centre to keep running. We are so grateful for the sponsorship he has already received, but he will need ongoing support to be able to continue this incredible project he has put his heart into.
Centre for the Disabled
Nyiko also has a Centre for disabled people that started in 2017. Initially, the residents were at the Nursing Home, but needed to be separated from this facility due to their special needs. He has rented a home for the disabled residents to live in, but it has no running water, electricity or washing facilities. A company helped him to start building a Centre for them, but the funding ran out. We would like to raise funds to help finish the building work at this Centre, which will enable these children and adults to have toilets, running water and a decent room to live in. The current living conditions are very poor, as you can see from the pictures below.
Our focus for 2021, as we recover from the challenges of 2020, will be to maintain the two current Centres and improve the Centre for the Disabled. This will be done to the best of our ability, so that we make sure that the children and the elderly residents will continue to be cared for, as they rely on us for support. As Nyiko has so beautifully phrased it, many of these people do not have any family, so we are now their families and we are here to care for them.
It costs R2800 to make sure that a child or a resident has food, clothing and all the necessary support needed throughout the year – that’s $150 per person. If you would like to donate to support this worthy cause, or any of the above projects please click on this link or the below button (use your surname as the reference) or contact Sandile on email@example.com or Natasha on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
With warm wishes
The Savanna Trust Team