Called to community work

2017-05-16 10:13
Christine Williams left her home in the suburbs and moved into a home in the township of Dunoon.

Christine Williams left her home in the suburbs and moved into a home in the township of Dunoon.

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A local woman’s mission to improve the lives of those living in townships has gone viral.

Christine Williams left her home in the suburbs and moved to the township of Dunoon where she started a non-profit organisation. A recent video of the 26-year-old’s story has gone viral, with more than 20 000 hits in the first four days after being published.

Williams – who initially didn’t want to make a video about her story or publicise her actions – left the comforts of Camps Bay in 2014 to relocate to Dunoon. She moved in next to a pastor from a local church, Joshua Generation, and says she began to experience a sense of community with the people living in her cul-de-sac and from her church that she never knew in her suburban life.

“I felt that God called me to move to Dunoon. I’ve always had a heart for townships, have always been involved in helping the poor and then I started to feel prompted to move into Dunoon and actually join the community.”

Staring a grass-roots non-profit organisation called MyDunoon, Williams says she and two other volunteers work towards community development.

“We are currently running a recycling programme at Dunoon Primary School, teaching kids the value of recycling and rewarding them with stationery when they bring in litter.”

They also hold regular meetings with stakeholders in the community, including representatives of schools, businesses and other non-profit organisations.

“This helps everyone network and discuss the problems we all face in Dunoon. We’re like a central nervous system linking people together.”

The MyDunoon workers also partner with locals who “have ideas of their own and want to bring them to life”, Williams ­explains.

“We’re currently partnering with a bunch of guys organising a township boxing tournament, teaching people fitness and the technique of boxing,” she says.

They are also involved in projects to grow produce in food gardens, clean up the streets, paint walls and organise prayer meetings, Williams says.
Williams lived alone in her home in the township for two years until she got married. Her husband, Howard Fyvie, encouraged her to make the video which was filmed in Dunoon township over a year .

“She doesn’t like the idea of publicising her life. To her, publicity, marketing and fundraising are the worst parts of her job – a necessary evil. If she could have her way, she would rather nobody know that she moved into Dunoon township for those two years, and she would just quietly be there serving, loving and helping people. But unfortunately, that’s not how NGO life works. She needs financial support, and therefore – her story needs to get out there,” Fyvie says.

The six-minute video has been shared more than 500 times. People are commenting on Facebook with heartfelt replies, personal messages of inspiration and emails of people who were deeply encouraged by the story of her life, Fyvie says.

Visit myDunoon on Facebook to view the video.

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