Islamic relief collective offers tips on safety

2016-04-28 06:00

The Western Cape is gearing up for what is expected to be a cold and wet winter. The Mustadafin Foundation urges residents living in informal settlements to be safe (and dry) this winter season.

The Western Cape, much like other provinces, is in dire need of rain. However, those living in impoverished areas should be prepared for when the rainy season starts.

“We realise the devastating implications of the rainy season on those less fortunate; homes are damp and wet, diseases spread quickly and houses can be ruined in minutes. Mustadafin Foundation calls on all residents to gear up for the winter season, and be prepared to keep warm and dry,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, Director at Mustadafin Foundation. The Foundation provides disaster relief to impoverished areas and also distributes hot food and blankets in the Western and Eastern Cape as part of their annual winter warmth project.

“Our project teams have already started distributing warm clothes, food and blankets in the Western and Eastern Cape areas. In Beaufort West alone, we have impacted five areas with over 4 000 residents,” explains Johnstone-Cassiem.

In addition to food and clothing, the non-profit organisation also assists with water distribution in the drier areas for drinking and washing purposes. “In total, we have received over 15 tons of water donations from Libstar Chamonix in Franschhoek, Woolworths and Meadowridge Primary School in Mitchells Plain. We would like to thank these organisations for their contribution – it is making a huge difference in areas where water is a scarce commodity,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

A 70 year old resident in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, says, “It’s the thought that counts, because not everyone thinks of the elderly in winter. People tend to look the other way. It’s no use complaining. But then we find organisations such as Mustadafin that go the extra mile and give us a warm, decent blanket and a meal to fill our stomachs.”

“It is heartfelt to witness what a simple blanket can do for a person. Often, they have nothing else to help keep them warm,” mentions Johnstone-Cassiem. “Our volunteers and employees have worked tirelessly to tend to those in severe need of winter warmth assistance”.

For residents living in informal settlements, Johnstone-Cassiem has the following tips to stay warm, dry and safe this winter season:

1. Block all cold drafts coming in your home by covering openings of doors and window sills with blankets.

2. Fix all roof leaks timeously.

3. Layer up with clothing – a plastic bag or newspapers inside your jacket works wonders to keep you warm. Plastic bags can also be worn over your clothes for when it rains.

4. Half fill a hot water bottle before going to bed – it keeps the water warmer for longer when it is not filled to the brim.

5. Move your bed away from the wall slightly – this will help keep cold air away from you.

6. Do not drink alcohol as it drops core body temperature.

7. Use sandbags around your home when it rains to keep water from entering your house.

8. Never leave a fire unattended and ventilate your home if you do use fire for heating or cooking.

9. Try to eat nutritious, warm food such as soup.

10. Exercise – by staying active you will keep warm and it also assists with your overall health.

“We call on all Capetonians to assist this winter and make a difference in communities by donating clothing and blankets or by volunteering,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

Mustadafin Foundation distributes warm nutritious meals, blankets and second hand clothing to destitute communities in the Western Cape as part of their winter warmth initiative. Call Mustadafin Foundation on 021 633 0010 or


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