Having lost her son to violence and recognising the continued need for intervention, support and help, Avril Andrews is on a mission to serve her community.
Having grown up in Hanover Park and being involved in community work for most of her life, she had a keen interest in helping and started an organisation with her sons to try and make a difference in the lives of local youths.
Her son, Alcardo, was especially interested in the fatherless generation and was inspired to try and make a difference in their lives.
Andrews says while raising her two boys in Hanover Park, their home was also touched by the social ills that plague the area; something she now hopes to change.
In 2015, after Alcardo was tragically murdered, Andrews says she was angry for a long time – that a community she did so much for, had taken her son away.
In this, she recognised the need for support for mothers who were going through the same struggles. “I realised how many mothers were losing children and that is when the MOMS Move For Justice Peace and Reconciliation Western Cape was created,” she says.
They offer support to mothers who are grieving but the initiative has been met with a few challenges along the way.
“Because of the lack of manpower, we have to turn some away because there are so many mothers and not enough. The moms were receiving a stipend as Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) contracts which ended last month,” she says.
The initiative is one leg of the Alcardo Andrews Foundation which operates from the family home in Hanover Park.
The foundation, which was officially registered in 2017, provides daily feeding and has done so since 2015, thanks to the assistance of a silent partner.
Andrews says to expand their projects, and to remain in line with Covid-19 regulations, they need more space.
Their other projects include a men’s group which addresses their issues. “We believe it is not just that women should talk about their issues, that men can also. It is not enough to have gender-based violence programmes (for example), without the other side as well.”
The foundation is also back to feeding daily.
“When Covid-19 started, it weighed heavily on me. I could not sleep. I wondered what would happen to all those people we were feeding before Covid,” she says.
The need has increased significantly, she says, with the foundation preparing an average of 1 000 portions daily.
The foundation currently partners with the Desiree Elis foundation, the Harfield Village Association and Uthando South Africa, among others.