LEAVING her job in 2007 to head a relief and development organisation, Mama Ntombi’s Community Projects (MNCP), was a tough decision for Sandra Pillay, but one that she would do again in a heart- beat. “We initially started off with members of our church coming together to donate food and clothing to the Jika Joe settlement, but since then having being requested to intervene in other areas we have grown from a simple feeding and donation scheme into so much more,” said Pillay. Previously employed at African Enterprises for over 30 years, Pillay said that leaving a paid job to do work for the less fortunate was a tough decision, but through the grace of God she has been blessed in what she has done. “We have been blessed in a sense that we don’t only cater for the Jika Joe area, but also operate in Ezinketheni and since 2014 we have been working in the poor areas of Northdale. “Our project focuses on four primary sectors among children and the elderly, with our main focus on their education, health, community development and sports and culture,” said Pillay.Receiving sponsors from various corporations and organisations, MNCP has been able to establish community feeding schemes and educational programmes in Pietermaritzburg’s neediest areas where field workers educate and provide nutrients to those who are in dire need of it. “Most of the situations we encounter are whereby children who have done nothing to deserve the destitute situations they find themselves in, are left with their aged grandmothers or other caregivers with some being child-headed households,” said Pillay. With their motto being: “Making a difference one smiling child at a time”, the MNCP has even went as far as providing housing for certain members of the community and implores those they help to sharpen their knowledge by educating themselves through lessons provided by the MNCP as well as encouraging and providing the necessary tools for people to feed themselves through gardening. “People cannot focus on an empty stomach and therefore we want not only to educate, but to provide a way for them to sustain themselves,” said Pillay. MNCP is a registered public benefit organisation and anyone wanting to donate or partner up with them can contact: 033 342 6525 or 074 120 0337.