Project helps to alleviate drought

2016-02-17 06:00
BEATING THE DROUGHT: A hands-on community water project to alleviate the plight of thousands of residents in the drought-stricken area of Senekal received overwhelming support. People who ensured the project was a resounding success are from the left, front: Di Smith (co-founder of Awesome SA), Rosa McLaren (Barloworld Transport), Ashleigh Keevy (Barloworld Transport), Yassin Essop (Save Hyper distribution manager) and Kithesh Maharaj (Manline Freight); back: Justin Kent (Manline Freight). Photo: Supplied

BEATING THE DROUGHT: A hands-on community water project to alleviate the plight of thousands of residents in the drought-stricken area of Senekal received overwhelming support. People who ensured the project was a resounding success are from the left, front: Di Smith (co-founder of Awesome SA), Rosa McLaren (Barloworld Transport), Ashleigh Keevy (Barloworld Transport), Yassin Essop (Save Hyper distribution manager) and Kithesh Maharaj (Manline Freight); back: Justin Kent (Manline Freight). Photo: Supplied

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SENEKAL. – In a unified effort to alleviate the plight of thousands of residents in the drought-stricken area of Senekal, the transport company Manline Freight, a division of Barloworld Transport, in partnership with the non-profit organisation Awesome SA, Pietermaritzburg-based retailer Save Hyper and Maritzburg College, donated 6 000 F of water to the community.

This predominantly farming community’s reservoirs dried up in December.

Neil Henderson, chief executive of Barloworld Transport, said this was done in the true spirit of ubuntu and that it was important that all the partners involved be given due credit for their roles in making the project a resounding success.

“As a group that provides transport solutions throughout Southern Africa, it made perfect sense to come on board, especially knowing we would be contribu­ting positively in the light of the intensifying drought conditions in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State,” Henderson said.

He said the idea of a community water project was spearheaded by Awesome SA. This non-profit organisation supports other organisations that make a difference in the future of South Africa by helping them to become self-sustainable and to keep growing.

Di Smith, co-founder of Awesome SA and a change-maker on several iconic South African initiatives, said listening to stories about the worsening drought situation in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State struck an emotional chord with her and she immediately sprang into action.

“I made contact with a popular retailer in Pietermaritzburg to establish a partnership for water supplies and my efforts were not in vain,” Smith said.

“Having identified Senekal as one of the most drought-stricken areas in the Free State in need of urgent intervention, it became a calling for me to step in and help.

“There is a deep sense of joy in being affiliated with a project of this nature, which reaches into the hearts of communities and responds to their most dire needs.”

Smith said phase one of the project was to make drinking water available to the community, while phase two would involve the installation of borehole pumps to enable the supply of water to schools and various other institutions in the area.

However, funding would need to be explored for the construction of boreholes.

Mike Odendaal, a resident of Senekal, gave a first-hand account of the severity of the situation.

“At least 27 000 people in Senekal are dependent on water for rural farming activities and their livelihood,” Odendaal said. “This year, the growing season was too short and in the absence of adequate rainfall, the social and economic wellbeing of farmers, as well as the residents of Senekal and Matwabeng as a whole, has been severely impacted.”

Meropa Communications

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