A beacon of hope

2019-03-05 06:00
Juanita Smith helping pastor Edwin Du Plooy of the Restoring Hands non-profit organisation to serve the community.PHOTOS: tiyese jeranji

Juanita Smith helping pastor Edwin Du Plooy of the Restoring Hands non-profit organisation to serve the community.PHOTOS: tiyese jeranji

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A pastor in Hill View is restoring hope in his community by giving food and teaching residents the importance of recycling.

In 2010, Pastor Edwin Du Plooy started a non-profit organisation (NPO) Restoring Hands - giving locals something to eat every Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The NPO also gives hampers when residents bring something to recycle.

Du Plooy runs the organisation with his wife Angela and they get help from locals who volunteer there.

Du Plooy says it was never his dream to do community work, but now he is amazed by the difference he has made.

“My idea was to go to America because I wanted to make money. I had a construction business, but just after the 2010 World Cup business went downwards, so I decided I will go to America and then my family will follow. No one knew that I was going except my wife, but then a friend came to me and told me God spoke to him and said I can’t go to America. I have to do community work.”

Du Plooy says he had never done community work in his entire life. “My friend told me I had to start a soup kitchen and help my community. My mindset was to make money not to start a soup kitchen. I didn’t do anything, but God started sending children, women and men to my doorstep asking for food and help. That is when I knew that I had to do something,” he says.

With only R100 the couple bought stuff and fed people. “We had 10 people coming for the first feeding. With each week it grew and now we have over 100 people coming,” he says.

Du Plooy says the numbers sometimes increase to over 300 people. He takes turns with Angela to cook for them and serve the meals from their garage. “Only when we started this organisation we began to see the real need in our community,” he says.

In 2015, Du Plooy says he had a command from God to give stationery.

“We have children in the area staying out of school because they don’t have stationery. We had to give out stationery and we thank God that it worked and a lot of our children are going to school. I remember one family was almost torn apart because the child didn’t have a pair of shoes. We bought him a pair of shoes and everything changed in that house. It was so amazing what a pair of shoes can do to a family, especially a child. That shoe was everything. We are happy that we have seen a change in the community since we started giving out stationery,” he says.

Apart from providing food, Du Plooy says what he loves the most is that children now have a sense of hope and they can dream big.

“We run little programmes for children and we ask them what they want to be when they grow up. When they first start with the programme they are clueless and their dreams are shattered. All they see is just poverty, gangs and drugs. However, here we teach them to believe in themselves. To love themselves. Now our children have dreams. They want to be lawyers, police officers, firefighters and teachers. We live in a beautiful community and we all have potential if we are given the opportunity,” Du Plooy says.

Du Plooy also teaches locals to recycle. He keeps the money and at the end of the year he gives those that recycled, a food hamper.

“This is also to teach them to do something and not to rely on hand-outs. It is really heart warming when they get their big hampers at the end of the year. They work for it. They also get extra income to do other things through recycling. We really thank God for the strength and the people support us and help us to help our community. This was not my plan but to be able to make such a difference can only be God’s will. We never thought of this, but we have become a beacon of hope for our community,” he says.

They also help residents with dilapidated shacks to rebuild their homes, put together CVs and do excursions. “Our aim is to restore a sense of pride and self esteem. We want our people to also have an opportunity like any other person,” Du Plooy concluded.V To help the organisation call Edwin Du Plooy on 060 310 2367

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