Healing Minds receives much-needed upgrade

2017-10-18 06:00
Nancy Sihlwayi (Eastern Cape Social Development MEC) cuts the ribbon at the official opening.         Photo:THANDI SETOKOE

Nancy Sihlwayi (Eastern Cape Social Development MEC) cuts the ribbon at the official opening. Photo:THANDI SETOKOE

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IT was a joyful occasion for the Healing Minds Centre in Walmer Township last Friday when representatives from Sun International’s The Boardwalk and the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development visited the premises to officially hand over an upgrade project worth over R300 000, which involved building a fully equipped kitchen and a sewing room.

A special certification ceremony was also held during the event to acknowledge the 19 individuals who have successfully completed the sewing skills training programme at Healing Minds.

Speaking at the event, the Boardwalk’s general manager, Mike van Vuuren, described how the upgrade of the sewing centre aligned very closely with their objective to build and maintain a sustainable community.

“It is here that people of Walmer Location, many of whom do not have an education, are able to learn a skill that can empower them to be productive and generate an income for themselves and their families.

“The sewing project is teaching the individuals a skill that will enable them to become self-sustained.”

He said The Boardwalk took pride in helping to build and maintain a sustainable community by committing resources, support and skills to projects that ultimately lead to a better quality of life.

Healing Minds was founded by Nomtembiso Mangaliso in 2015, who while collecting refuse in Walmer Township as a service provider to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, witnessed the appalling living conditions of the people in the community.

She gathered a group of brave women and whatever resources they could put together to begin to combat the negative effects of high unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and crime, which are the root causes of the perpetual degeneration in the location.

“We could not stand idly by and watch from the sidelines as children are born into the sickening cycle of disease, violence, ignorance and sloth.

“The problems we try to address in our community are nothing new and we do not claim to have foolproof solutions to bringing about positive results.”

Today, with the help of many willing contributors, the non-profit organisation is a beacon of light, providing refuge, assistance, counselling, skills, information and opportunity in order to uplift the community and introduce a healthier and more productive way of life.

Healing Minds also started to duplicate its model so that other communities can work to create an active and involved workforce focused on community upliftment.

Eastern Cape Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi noted that helping such enterprises to do great things could only mean great things for both the community and the stakeholders.

“It has been a long road to sustainable development. Walmer is the most poverty-stricken community. This centre was one of the dilapidated centres of a school, but today it has been turned into a home.

“People should understand that the private sector’s programme for social responsibility makes a change and we call on all the private partners to associate themselves with programmes of this nature. This is the first sustainable CNDC in the country.”

The NPO also runs a number of successful counselling programmes to promote mental and physical vitality in the township.

In addition to the daily feeding scheme, Healing Minds delivers food and medication to the sick and elderly, assists the police with victim support and facilitates reintegration initiatives to assist ex-convicts, who want to make amends and rejoin the community.

Van Vuuren said they were inspired by Mangaliso’s story and her efforts to drive meaningful change.

“The Boardwalk is pleased to be in a position to make the new kitchen and sewing room a reality for Healing Minds. These facilities and equipment are going to make daily operations at the centre so much easier.”

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