Towards the end of 2019, Constantia made a donation to charity organisation, Ethembeni, to help support the Kromdraai community.
Ethembeni is a non-profit organisation (NPO), which is dedicated to community upliftment through school feeding programs, emotional and spiritual support, community care and skills development. The NPO has two food processing facilities in Gauteng and Mpumalanga and currently provide 1.2 million meals per annum in Gauteng alone. Most of the feeding schemes are at schools and crèches connected to informal settlements. At most of the schools, this meal – a warm and nutritious cup of soup served with bread – is the only meal of the day for more than 90% of the children.
Through our donation, Ethembeni managed to start a new feeding station coupled with an existing early childhood development programme (ECD) in association with Lego SA, in Kromdraai – a small community west of Ruimsig with approximately 400 families and 500 pre and primary school children.
Our contribution went towards purchasing gas, a gas freezer, stove and some cooking utensils (pots and cups) and enabled the supply of 200 meals (soup and bread) every day, and will do so until at least the end of November 2020.
On the 2nd of October 2020, some of our staff had the opportunity to partake in handing out food parcels, interacting with the children during early childhood development sessions and serving soup and bread to community members.
It was an early start to the morning. The team met the Ethembeni volunteers at the church where all the food for the soup gets prepared, packed and transported to the various locations. After a quick briefing session, the teams drove to the Kromdraai community centre before parking along the dusty streets and walking to the community centre where hundreds of people were queuing to receive their food parcels.
Small children stood in organised lines waiting for their chance to visit the ECD learning centre and receive their Lego packs, and the warm welcome of the staff along with the smell of freshly cooked soup that filled the air made it a perfect welcome.
From offloading maize, handing out vegetable parcels, serving soup and bread, chatting to community members and partaking in playtime with the children, our staff were buzzing around and trying to lend a hand wherever possible. It was hard work, but the laughter of the children and the smiles of the volunteers who assisted in these activities made it all worth it.
The magnitude of the day was put into words by one of the Ethembeni volunteers, who said: “To know that someone will have a meal today because of something you did, is a feel-good factor in itself. It reminds you to be grateful for your own blessings and humbles you to a point where you keep the less fortunate in your prayers.’’
The head of the Ethembeni outreach programme, Pastor Frank Weitz, noted that it was a humanitarian effort that completely changed his view on life. “We learnt so much about humanity and the spirit of ubuntu that is intrinsically a part of every South African. And you know, teamwork really does make the dream work.”
It was a very emotional day knowing that collectively we were making a difference in people’s lives. The children of Kromdraai could go home with something in their tummies, something to play with and be able to learn at home.
For more information about Ethembeni please click here : https://www.ethembeni.lfcc.co.za/