Ubuntu cares for the needy

2016-03-22 06:00
Ubuntu Crisis Centre founder Pumla Mbelu. Photo: nosipho mkhize

Ubuntu Crisis Centre founder Pumla Mbelu. Photo: nosipho mkhize

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UBUNTU Crisis Centre founder Pumla Mbelu, once a community health care worker in 1996, used to do door to door visitations to families in need of social grants while at the same time teaching them about healthy living.
However, as time passed she realised that most of the families needed more than just being educated because many of the children were orphans and families suffered from poverty and domestic violence was rife.
“It was saddening to see so many people suffer in various ways. I would visit a beautiful home, but once I entered the house I found people sick and bedridden.
“I found women were married to violent men who cheated and abused them. I realised it was useless to educate them about healthy living because families were faced with a long-term crisis.”

At that time Pumla worked with Mpho Mthembu from eThekwini Municipality and Joey du Plessis from Hillcrest. So in 2000 and 2002, she pitched an idea of teaching people on how to start a vegetable garden.
“There was a bush in Wyebank were people would get raped, killed and dumped. I then mobilised community members to cut down the trees and start a sustainable garden.

“In 2005 we tried to register our organisation, but things did not work out for us. Then in 2006 we were showcasing our beadwork and fortunately people were interested in what we do. There were two men who were members of Khula Youth who assisted us on how to register the NGO and directed us to the right channels and Ubuntu Crisis Centre was officially registered in 2006.”

Ubuntu’s focus was to educate and assist people infected and affected by HIV/Aids and those suffering from poverty.
“The Department of Health taught us how to train care givers in counselling HIV/Aids victims and families affected by it, victims of domestic violence, suicide, the youth, victims of substance abuse, child abuse, orphans and rape.

“We work with children and the youth who are vulnerable and orphaned and if we unable to assist, we then refer them to Open Door Crisis Centre in Pinetown. The Department of Social Development gave us a social worker who is based at our office.
“A lot of youngsters are involved in crime because they are unemployed, therefore we created job opportunities for those in need. We trained them in home-based care, community health work and various learnerships.”

UBuntu also trains community and religious leaders on how to educate their followers in issues such as HIV/Aids. This project was recognised by the Office of the Premier and Operation Sukuma Sakhe.
“At the moment we are busy with a project called ‘New Venture Creation’, where we train people on how to start a business. It is a one-year course and we have 150 youth members of Ward 19, and they also get a stipend. We want to take this venture to other provinces as well.

“The eThekwini Municipality gave us a donation of sewing machines for women to start a sewing project. We also have an after-care and a tuck shop that assists with fund-raising purposes. The money made from the tuck shop assist our members with bus fare. We want to call upon community members to assist in sponsorships because we highly rely on it.”

For more information, phone 073 527 8600 or email info@ubuntucrisiscentre.org.za

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