Org helps for 30 years

2016-02-23 06:00
Ghairunisa Johnstone, founder and director of the Mustadafin Foundation, believes “If every person helps his neighbour, then who would need help?” This has been the key message and motivation behind the work of the Foundation, a non-profit organisation, for the past 30 years.

Ghairunisa Johnstone, founder and director of the Mustadafin Foundation, believes “If every person helps his neighbour, then who would need help?” This has been the key message and motivation behind the work of the Foundation, a non-profit organisation, for the past 30 years.

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This year the Mustadafin Foundation celebrates its 30th year.

The organisation serves poor communities in and around the province, and lately the Eastern Cape as well, with health, education, poverty eradication, community development and disaster relief.

The organisation feeds up to 15 000 people every day. It ensured the successful integration of 150 homeless children into the public school system by last year.

The organisation has also established health programmes, adult literacy programmes, a bursary programme for students in tertiary education and 22 preschools.

“Our greatest achievements last year included appointing 25 more employees in Tafelsig – with the help of the department of social development – and signing an agreement to collaborate with the National Association of Child Care Workers on its Isibindi project,” says Ghairunisa Johnstone, founder and director of the Foundation.

The Isibindi project implements community-based care and protection programmes that help children and youth who have been left desolate by death in the family due to HIV/Aids.

Johnstone also received the Community Builder of the Year award at the Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) Awards last year. The organisation also achieved second place in the BBQ Innovative Business Award.

Fahiema Kruger, who started as a volunteer cook, is now principal of the organisation’s early childhood development centre.

She says: “Johnstone lifted me up 16 years ago when I thought I was no-one. She inspired me when I thought the world was coming down on me.”

“Our work is not without its challenges; Mustadafin Foundation’s volunteers and staff often work in areas rife with violence and social apathy,” says Johnstone. The organisation also needs a vehicle and funding to complete a building that can serve as a centre from which to operate in Cape Town.

Despite the difficulties, the non-profit continues to actively uplift the community.

Recent initiatives include delivering cooked food and Christmas parcels to a thousand people, including 100 seniors in poor communities, distributing meals and blankets to 120 victims of the Nomzamo fire, giving 1700 bags to patients at the Groote Schuur hospital and treating children to a day in the park.

The organisation is looking forward to a more successful year and to operating from a building owned by the organisation by the end of the year.

However, it is not merely the number of volunteers or the amount of funds that will create change. “This year, we want to see the community being committed to education and its members taking ownership of their lives by beautifying themselves and their environment,” says Johnstone.

V For more information visit www.mustadafin.org.za or call 021 633 0010/ 0060.

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