Nutrition programme for the needy

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Nomalungelo Phakathi and Letheni Mngadi (left) are members of Thembani SHG under the Thandanani Cluster. These two ladies are passionate about looking after children. They saw children in their community who have nothing and they began to plan how they could help them. Thembani SHG started to buy toys for a toy ‘library’, where children can come and play on weekends. For the orphans they did even more: “We started with 5 kids who we bought t-shirt and shoes for, and an old man who we are looking after by giving him food and washing his clothes. We need to build him a house because he is staying with his neighbours,” the ladies report.

In October 2014 they introduced their project to the cluster and started working with the children, a group of OVC whose number has risen to 54. They feed the children with porridge at eMbeka Primary School, fundraising to collect the money for porridge by selling cell phone airtime, soap, and skirts. They also run a mini-tuck-shop, “and sometimes we take from our own pocket”. They serve the food on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, while on Tuesday and Friday they focus on Home-based care recipients. “We wish to work 5 days a week but the problem is that we cannot afford to feed them 5 days a week because we don’t have proper support. We also have to do Home-based care,” they explain.

Their feeding scheme has had an interesting spin-off: the number of absentee pupils has decreased as the children come to school early to have their porridge. In addition, their grades have improved – “The passing percentage is higher and teachers are very happy about what we did for the children. Sometimes when we haven’t seen them they pass by our homes and ask why we didn’t come today,” the ladies say.

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Above: The children receiving their porridge and smiling for a photo.

Report by: Malusi Ziqubu

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