Tug at heartstrings K

2016-08-23 06:00
 Photo: SUPPLIED Paula Strydom with a child from the valley, who she assists through Heartstrings.

Photo: SUPPLIED Paula Strydom with a child from the valley, who she assists through Heartstrings.

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WHEN Paula Louise Strydom, saw the plight of the people in her community, she knew she could not do nothing.

Instead, the mother of two decided to rally the help of her family and form Heartstrings, a Christian community organisation. Her vision is to empower disadvantaged people with hope and dignity by teaching them skills and creating employment.

Speaking to the Fever Strydom described herself as a creative soul, empathic by nature.

“I love people and even as a little girl I was drawn to helping others,” she says.

In high school she was involved with organising a group that used to visit a children’s home called William Clarke Gardens, which deeply impacted on her life.

In the holidays she used to teach children to read by getting involved in the Smile programme.

After school Strydom studied residential child care, and would visit an orphanage in the Valley of 1000 Hills called Makaphutu, and run educational and stimulation programmes with developmentally delayed children and babies.

“I also volunteered at a place for the elderly that was run by the Salvation Army and led by Captain Miranda. Thembela is a little piece of heaven. I was asked to share messages with the residents one Sunday a month,” said Strydom.

Her passion for reaching out to women began to grow when her children were at school.

I realised that many stay-at-home moms where lonely, doing the children drop-offs and going back to an empty home. I had, at that stage, been part of a remarkable ladies group through my church.

“I wanted others to be able to have that same experience. Six years ago I began hosting meetings for ladies from all walks of life. I am a qualified counsellor and in-between meetings given my time to caring for ones who could not afford counselling.”

Every Thursday her home is filled with the chatter of community ladies.

“It was these ladies who spurred my husband and I on, they supported our vision to start Heartstrings Community Project. Fundamentally Heartstrings is about connecting hearts and being a flow of life and support from one person to another.

“There are many facets to this, from creating employment and up-skilling gentlemen who make beautiful décor that we sell through Heartstrings Trading Co.”

Strydon said with Heartstrings they help gogos, distribute food and clothing to those in need, find ways to help those in really impoverished situations and have run some teaching programmes.

“Currently we are building two classrooms in Molweni. The small crèche is run by two pro-active and dedicated ladies who had a dream of their own. One of our new ventures we are very excited about will be to start a creative arts programme with the children in the valley.

“In our community there are many incredible women, pioneering, brave, tenacious ladies, who felt a burden that caused them to rise up and say something should be done, and I thank them for this.

For more information, contact Strydom on 083 782 4531 or email paula.strydom@gmail.com

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