A PIETERMARITZBURG organisation, Reach Out, is looking for financial assistance from the community and businesses in order for it to continue the work it is doing in the informal settlement, France, where residents live in abject poverty.
The appeal comes after founding owner, Melanie du Plessis, had to let 42 children, which the organisation had been looking after for many years, go.
“Due to budget restraints Reach Out had to discontinue helping elderly people who are heavily burdened with looking after little children on a mere grant of R1 400 a month. Some of them are not even able to apply for a grant as these children have no ID documents,” she said.
Currently the organisation, the only one in France, looks after 62 children who are the head of their house. Reach Out provides them with breakfast, lunch and supervised homework.
Du Plessis said that over the years the organisation has dealt with many crèches in the area, giving them weekly hampers. There have also been bread distributions to over 300 people in the Kwayamazane area of France. Reach Out has also held a soup kitchen for over 300 orphans at the local school.
“Most of these people live on only loaf of bread a day,” she said.
At one stage Reach Out was feeding 900 children and families a day.
Reach Out only has limited sources and, while it is appreciated, does not fully fund the running of the organisation.
“With the inflation rate it has now become impossible to continue achieving our primary goal of feeding the less advantaged,” said Du Plessis.
She is therefore appealing to the Pietermaritzburg community to donate to Reach Out.
“If we can get 20 businesses in the city to donate R300 a month, we will once again be able to feed these children who have no parents to provide them with meals.
“Money raised will be used to feed the children who depend on their daily meals and any extra funds will be used to re-implement the projects that have been done throughout France informal settlement since 1997,” Du Plessis said.
Education is also a big part of uplifting the community. Various schools, including St. Nicholas Diocesan and Epworth have been to the centre to help with entertainment and teaching the children English. “Volunteers are always welcome. Our children have always enjoyed having people visit them,” she said.
Du Plessis added that any help received from businesses will be used to help these children live a better life.
For more information, contact Du Plessis at 081 856 9187 or email reachoutwithlove@
Banking details: Reach Out, Absa, account number 9191875622, branch, PMB 632005, savings account