There is great scope for hope: SCAN celebrates local heroes
On Thursday, 30 November SCAN members and Working Group representatives gathered for a celebratory picnic in Jan Marais park. This special occasion recognised local heroes from the various organisations present, including; Lynette Rademeyer-Bosman from At Heart, Liesel Koen from Stellenbosch Feeding in Action, Sellwyn from Care Career Connection, Karin Viviers from Vineyard Houses and Rhoda Malgas from The Small Things Fund.
Following accounts of progress for each working group, representatives from their respective organisations had the opportunity to honour and uplift individuals within their teams or beneficiary groups. These individuals were recognised for making a significant impact in their communities.
Recognising Impact: Honouring Individuals Making a Difference
Lynette from At Heart NPO honoured Elvina van Rooyen, who became an integral part of their community. “Elvina became part of our hearts and community,” says Lynette. Elvina shared her inspiring journey of transformation, from feeling like she had wasted her life to experiencing new things with Lynette, like trying pizza for the first time. Elvina’s dream was to create a space where long-lasting friendships could flourish, filling the gap she had experienced in her own life. “It was empowering to work with young women – to become a mother figure,” says Elvina. We celebrate her group’s achievements, as they all graduated and found jobs. Elvina’s group continues to support and care for each other, creating the support system she had always longed for.
Sellwyn from Care Career Connection (CCC) explained that they create pathways of practical training for youth with disabilities, from 18 years old, to create opportunities for job placement. The recipient of this recognition is Kgotso Verlang from the Kayamandi community. Kogotso attended Dorothea Special School and started with CCC in 2018 with a dream of starting his own car wash. Despite facing language barriers, Kgotso demonstrated remarkable dedication and commitment by working in the gardens and acquiring valuable entrepreneurship skills. 1 year ago Kgotso started his own car wash in Kayamandi, “he is a true example of a person with endurance” says Sellwyn.
Liesel from Feeding in Action recognised Margaret for her hard work, heart and delicious dishes. Margaret has been actively involved with Feeding in Action since 2000, and her efforts have made a significant impact. Twice a week, she selflessly prepares meals for 200 children and 30-50 adults at the Long street flats in Cloetesville. “What makes people stand out as feeding point coordinators is when they do more than that” and Margaret is a testament to that. Margaret goes above and beyond her responsibilities, serving the community with her whole heart.
Margaret and her husband not only identify the needs of the community but also actively work to fulfil them. They even extend their support by participating in Saturday distributions and assisting other communities during emergencies. Margaret’s partnership with a counsellor led to a successful fundraising initiative, where they collected blankets, dry supplies, and other essential items for the Welgevonden House Committee. Liesel acknowledges Margaret’s exceptional efforts, “We really applaud Maragaret for the fact that she does more”. “I am so grateful that Liesel and Daphne put their trust in me … as long as our children in Long street have a meal I am happy… And so long as I am healthy I will help” says Margaret.
Karin from Vineyard Houses honoured Koliswa, became a part of the Vineyard community in 2009, taking on the role of a foster mother. According to Karin, Koliswa expressed her passion for children and her aspirations to make a positive impact in their lives. Since then, Koliswa has dedicated herself to nurturing and caring for children within the Vineyard community. After completing her matric through night school she graduated from Stellenbosch University with a degree in Social Work. “When I started working as a foster parent, working with these vulnerable children, it’s where I developed a passion” Koliswa worked at Stellcare as a foster carer and she is the social worker partnered with Vineyard Houses in kayamandi. “Thank you for everything you are doing in Kayamandi, for our foster kids, your love and dedication is beautiful,” says Karin. “It’s not just a job. I am not just sharing theory but my life experience,” says Koliswa who considers herself a social worker and motivational speaker.
In her absence, Rhoda, from The Small Things Fund (TSTF), recognised Rejeanne Louw for her outstanding contributions. Rejeanne, is a recipient of the TSTF and currently works at Usiko as mentor in the Year Beyond Academic Programme. The Small Things Fund was established eight years ago with the aim of providing support to first-generation university students. Rhoda expressed that the fund owes much of its functionality to the remarkable work of Rejeanne. Rejeanne initially joined the organisation to assist with designing canva invitations, but it was not just her designs that stood out. Rejeanne demonstrated genuine care and dedication in everything she did, “she expressed a love and passion for service which she lives out to this day,” says Rhoda. Rejeanne’s heart is set on getting involved in prison ministry, showcasing her desire to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
“Thank you to Hanli, Rirhandzu, Daniel, Lynette, Paul and Mawethu for your selfless commitment to the SCAN management committee,” says Chair, Marli Goussard.
For all her efforts, we also recognise Nanine Steenkamp from RealDeal Trust for her dedicated work in mapping community efforts within the Stellenbosch community. Nanine has demonstrated a deep commitment and passion for her role, investing her heart and soul into this important task. By mapping community efforts, RealDeal has played a crucial role in identifying and understanding the various initiatives and projects that contribute to the betterment of the Stellenbosch community.
A heartwarming and inspiring conclusion to the year for the SCAN network:
Michelle Aalbers, the Community Development Manager for Stellenbosch municipality, expresses her gratitude to everyone involved in making a positive impact on the Stellenbosch community. , “As long as we can make space for each other, as long as we can acknowledge each other. We don’t have to agree, we don’t have to walk the walk together every single step but all of you are waking up every day. And all of you are putting one step in front of the other and you are moving..”