Foundation of hope

2018-11-27 06:01
Mymoena Scholtz.

Mymoena Scholtz.

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Where Rainbows Meet Training and Development Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Vrygrond, might be a strong foundation today, but only a few people know the struggles and the tears that went into building it.

Started by Mymoena Scholtz 10 years ago, the foundation will be celebrating its 10th anniversary with a bash later today (27 November) at Erin Hall in Rondebosch.

Although everything looks rosy now, Scholtz remembers how it all started and it wasn’t easy.

“Ten years ago I resigned from my previous organisation because I wanted to explore starting my own business. I was called back by grandmothers in the area and some of the Vrygrond youth that I used to work with. They had this immense faith that I could perform a miracle by starting a foundation that really stands for the people. I was very disturbed by their request, and felt that they expected too much from me. I was not really eager because I was worried about the how, with whom, and with what resources,” she says.

Scholtz says she thought about her own dreams of starting a business, but to her surprise, she agreed. “I looked at the community as a whole, I looked at my family and realised we are only six people in my family, and more than 6000 people pinned their hopes on me and believed in my ability to bring the change. Deciding to do this was a big challenge. We didn’t have resources, no building, but only holding onto the dream and the hope that the grandmas had for their
community.”

She started working out of her car she called the Titanic, because it was falling apart. “It was not easy, we had nothing, we starved without food and water during the day. In the mornings I would listen to social cases and in the afternoons I would work with the youth, teaching leadership and all kinds of performing arts from an open field. My late colleague Michael Mjonono was a great help to me, although he was facing a lot of challenges volunteering and needed an income. I was judged, I was abused, I was told by some to leave the community. I was told that I must not come make money out of the people. I was called a lot of names. There was a time I asked myself if I am strong enough to work in the area, I soldiered on.”

With the foundation taking shape and people seeing its direction, some women offered them a container. “They had a container, where they used to store their equipment, and now they saw how serious we were, they handed the container to us saying we can be a bigger asset to the community. I remember my eldest son was at college, and just graduated. He got his first job at Incredible Connection and sponsored us with a laptop and printer from his first paycheck. We had no electricity, no phone, nothing.

“A year later we went knocking on doors. We were dressed for success but it did not really help us. Businesses were not really open to accepting new projects and some looked at us, with questions, that was not good for us. Needless to say we did not give up. We continued with our work, and became very successful with the needs of the community. We worked until six at night. I worked at night in my house until two in the morning searching for support. There were nights I would cry because of all the challenges I faced, by trying to do good. Already battling for support, I still had to prove myself to the community that I really just wanted to help, in order to help themselves.”

Things started to look up when their first donor, the late Tony van Ryneveldt, came and asked Scholtz how he could help them. “We asked him to install a telephone line and electricity. He did not stop supporting until his last breathe this year. We are glad that he saw something in this organisation and was there to help,” says Scholtz.

From humble, daunting beginnings, Where Rainbows Meet has grown into a multi-purpose training facility, where they offer different services which socially or economically uplift the community. They offer computer training, creche, soccer programmes, aftercare programmes, awareness programmes and a garden project, among other things.“We have something for everyone in the community.”

“We work with children from crèche all the way up to seniors. Mothers can volunteer at the centre while their children are in a safe space to learn. Fathers are welcome to volunteer in our garden project. They get a three-course meal and some food [to take] home in order not to stress about food at night. Volunteers get a small stipend.”

Scholtz proudly says the foundation is a well-respected organisation today, but the process of getting there took them a while. “Our focus was never to chase funders, but merely to make the change in order for the communities to realise their value and their potential to bring the change they need as a community. [Today] I am a proud member of Vrygrond, working beside great community leaders that still strive to bring bigger changes within the area. This is a very special community that moulded and shaped me, as well as taught me how to remain humble under the most difficult challenges.

“Our dream is to get long-term funders, that can support the work we do, so we can bring bigger success to the communities we serve. Our future plan is to have our own youth hall, so that our youth can have a space of themselves. Too many drug dens and shebeens are swallowing our youth and we want to change this. Rainbows is about bringing about change and we will continue to always put our communities first.

“The journey continues to combat challenges, guide, mentor and support our communities in order to create a better life for themselves, their families as well as their communities. We spread the colours of the Rainbow in order for our communities to see how powerful they are and can become.”

To donate or volunteer at, Where Rainbows Meet, call 021 205 3496.

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