Protests leave group helpless

2018-05-09 06:01
The project manager of the Douglas Aids Action Group, Lauretta Seekoei, in the burnt admin office of the non-profit organisation.Photos: Supplied

The project manager of the Douglas Aids Action Group, Lauretta Seekoei, in the burnt admin office of the non-profit organisation.Photos: Supplied

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All they could do was stand and watch as the flames engulfed what they believed was everything that they have worked for over a period of ten years.

Members of the Douglas Aids Action Group, a non-profit organisation (NPO), could not believe that community members, who they have served for free from the bottom of their hearts, could destroy their own future in that manner.

The building of the group was torched on Wednesday, 18 April, by angry protesters who complained about service delivery.

They burned down a municipal building and vehicles.

Members of the group only realised after the incident that the centre was also first looted before being set on fire.

So far, they could not get any tip-off as to where the culprits with the stolen goods can be traced.

“We were called by concerned residents who told us that our building was on fire,” said project manager Lauretta Seekoei.

“We cannot understand what the centre had to do with the grievances towards the municipality as we run an NPO to provide free services.”

The members of the group are now struggling to pick up the pieces.

At this stage they are trying to work from a good Samaritan’s house as their rented building was unusable after the fire.

Established in 2008 and registered in 2010 as a NPO, they were rendering key services on HIV and Aids awareness for residents of the vulnerable Siyancuma Municipality.

She said they are constantly busy with out of school programmes, rehabilitation programmes with inmates, and after school and pregnancy awareness programmes.

The centre was also running a soup kitchen.

“We consist of six staff members, and were all left helpless, disappointed and emotional to realise that the culprits are from our own community.

“All we can do at this stage is to start sending out letters, requesting assistance as we do not even know where to start working.

“We currently do not even have a single chair, a building to operate from or equipment to work with.

“Our whole data system, dating back to 2008 when we started the NPO, has also gone up in flames.”

Anyone interested in assisting the Douglas Aids Action Group NPO to get back on its feet can call See­koei on 078-400-1905.

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