My name is Kerrie (22) – an eye opening and learning experience.

Today was an eye opening and learning experience, as I got to see how the other side lives and tried to also play my part instead of turning a blind eye. I went to Reiger Park not knowing what to expect, but we must remember that in life our expectations do not always turn out to be the reality.

Helping the penniless is often thought to be determined by the moral character of the potential help giver. ‘‘It’s a lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.’’ Of course, I cannot take all the credit, with the help of some kind-hearted volunteers, we managed to pull strings in a very short period of time to help those in need.

Meals Prepared by the volunteers

Our pursuit to secure a sponsor from our local businesses to get food and packaging was a bump on the road moment. From each person having a different mindset on what product/quality they would like to buy for the project, with a limited budget was a hair pulling struggle but in the end – by God’s grace- we managed to get on the same page and focus on the real matter at hand, which was to feed the needy children.

Many kids grow up in poverty and the effects are saddening as it can last for the rest of their lives. The main effects of growing up in poverty may include poor health, high risk of teen pregnancy and lack of education which results in them making bad life decisions such as joining gangs and selling drugs.

One of many people in my community decided to act and join the cause to alleviate poverty in the youth. Mizanurrhman, a local grocery shop owner, was the hero of the day. He was more than willing to sacrifice profit over charity and was one of the reasons the feeding scheme in Reiger Park was a success, saying ‘‘I am so happy to join IVOTESA, thank God we’ve done a wonderful job. We continue and try to make a difference in the community. I will always try my best to support people in hunger especially children.’’ Mizanurrhman supplied us with bread when all odds seemed against us, he supplied us with an improbable discount and more food items that was not budgeted for.

Now this is what communities need more of. Mr Vincent, a local in Reiger Park, is another man we must shine our light on as he donated his container for us to be able to feed the children in even though he did not have much. No man is an island! More organisations for feeding the less well off are being formed in Reiger Park, so I ask you my Born Frees; what are you doing to alleviate poverty in your communities? What do you think the purpose of life is?

Shane Abrahams from IVOTESA is playing his part by providing skills and creating jobs. Shane gave the community of Reiger Park hope by showing people how to make soaps and forming businesses, which is a step in the right direction.

Shane Abrahams teaching the community to make soaps

The cycle of poverty begins when a child is born into a poor family, these families often have limited or no resources at all to create opportunities to advance themselves, leaving them stuck in the poverty trap. We need to count our blessings every day and be grateful for the littlest of things we have in life.

Today was an eye opening and learning experience, as I got to see how the other side lives and tried to also play my part instead of turning a blind eye. I went to Reiger Park not knowing what to expect, but we must remember that in life our expectations do not always turn out to be the reality. We do not know whether the food we gave out today could have been someone’s last meal. When we do it in love, when we give and do not receive, it is okay because someone is blessed regardless., this is what I learnt from IVOTESA. I look forward to more projects like these and bigger, remember one man can’t change the world.

Working as a team

‘’One of the worst enemies that sets the platform for developing a poverty mindset is your background. Where you come from, the mindset of the people you deal with, what you know, and your experiences can set the tone that can cause you to believe that you are born to be poor. You can only get out of that dungeon of a mindset by revolutionizing the way you think.’’-Oscar Bimpong

Meet Uncle Vincent – Local Hero

These people #Ekurhuleni are NOT animals and should be treated with dignity and respect. Uncle Vincent shows more care for his community than your career politicians. Uncle Vincent does not have much yet will provide what he has to make his community better – and you #Ekurhuleni who takes the people’s money to provide increases to self-worth while making Reiger Park worth-less!

Uncle Vincent has been living in Reiger Park for “donkeys years”, his experiences can be dated to the very transitions of political power in South Africa. Those differing changes also affected the conditions of life in Reiger Park.

He told us of a time during Apartheid of how residents were treated. Despite the prejudice of the colour of their skin – they were offered the services which gave Reiger Park a pride to live in. Bins and litter were cared for by the Council.

Today, as one drives into the community – uncut grass, rubbish flies around and large rubbish skips are positioned to where the children usually play. Now they play on the road making room for even more rubbish. Such is the stance of the Ekurhuleni Council has taken by associating these folks to being treated as rubbish.

Over 75% recorded as unemployed, and with high substance abuse people are left to fend for themselves – “hassle”, the term used to describe this survival outlook. Despite all the negativity we came to meet Uncle Vincent. He heard of our intentions to make Reiger Park a better place, he immediately offered his container. The container was once full of car parts – however on returning a week later – the place was cleaned out and ready for us to use.

#Ekurhuleni Council the people of Reiger Park are NOT animals and should be treated with dignity and respect. Uncle Vincent shows more care for his community than your career politicians. Uncle Vincent does not have much yet will provide what he has to make his community better – and you #Ekurhuleni Council who takes the people’s money to provide increases to self-worth while making Reiger Park worth-less!