Winston Park mom starts charity drive

2016-10-11 06:00
 Photo: supplied Justine Rae Kool (left) and Sibongile Groenink donate essentials for underprivileged crèches in the area.

Photo: supplied Justine Rae Kool (left) and Sibongile Groenink donate essentials for underprivileged crèches in the area.

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WHEN Winston Park mother-of-two, Justine Rae Kool, watched a video of a two-year-old Nigerian boy, who had been left to fend for himself on the street until someone stepped in and helped him, it pulled at her heart strings.
Kool could not get the images out of her mind and realised that sorrow was not the answer and decided to form an organisation to care for children in the same situation here.

“I started a small charity drive called Little One in March as a way of helping those in need and began carrying food and blankets in my car to give to those on the street.

“I then sent out a message to friends asking for old baby clothes and toys. I had no idea who to give it to but then I found the Feed the Babies fund and did my first drop-off with Sibongile Groenink at a crèche in Inanda.”

Kool said she will never forget the little faces on her first crèche visit.

“They had not one toy or book. The pure joy of pushing a toy pram and riding a plastic bike sold it for me. I think I got more out of it than they did.

“We have now done nine crèche and two hospital drop-offs at the maternity and the paediatric wards. We are currently packing for our third drop-off and are in need of soft toys and rattles for the packs.”

The mother with a heart of gold said that the needs in crèches are many.
“The most important is food, mealie meal and rice, as well as mattresses, linen and blankets.

“Most of the babies and children sleep on the hard floor and it breaks my heart. After those needs are met the next need is anything educational. So many of these places are mere drop-off centres.”

Kool said that the crèches have no books, puzzles, dolls, toy cars, plastic tables and chairs.

She said many of the ladies who run the crèches are not trained teachers so she encourages the community to volunteer their time to read a story or lead an arts and craft lesson for the little ones.

Describing herself as headstrong, she said she draws her passion for helping others from her mother.
“My mother is an amazing environmentalist. She stands up for what is right, even if no one else does and I admire that in her.”

Her message to parents and the youth is to always be prepared to work hard and have goals.
“Parents need to involve their children when they give back. They are never too young to get involved with helping people and watch you carefully with everything you do.
“It’s just about becoming socially aware.”

For more information about Little One or how to help email Justine_kool@hotmail.com

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