NGOs rely on donations and communities’ goodwill

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Through the goodwill of private doctors, institutions and businesses, the home gets by.

But, were it not for the selfless voluntary assistance, including that of of therapists, who often help with babies who arrive with severe physical conditions if they are born prematurely, Ms Barnard says they would find themselves in a tight spot.

There are also volunteers who help at night time when the babies are being bathed and the home is keen to find more volunteers

In his budget speech speech on Tuesday March 29, Mr Fritz said a “sluggish economy and a growing pool of unemployed South Africans” had placed more pressure on social services than at any other time in the country’s history.

He told the provincial parliament sitting, “This increased need for services, combined with the impact of above-inflation wage agreements and impending equitable share cuts to the province … compelled this department to make some hard budget decisions.”

He said his department “was particularly unhappy with the fact that we cannot give our NGO partners inflation-related funding allocation increases due to the combined impact of the above-inflation wage increase for public servants and the budget cuts”.

This is not good news for Rock a Bye and other NGOs, which the state effectively uses to outsource its social welfare obligations.

“If we had to solely depend on government that would not be enough. We cannot sit and sit and wait. The adoption process can often be a lengthy one,” Ms Barnard said, adding it was a double-edged sword, as often the babies they took in came from state organisations.

“We try to help wherever we can, and we often take in babies when the government homes simply do not have enough space. But if we had money we could expand,” she said. As it is, we can only take 10 babies at any given time.

Marthinus Vermeulen, who works as a senior shift officer for Bassett Alarms in Kuils River, says he often pops in to check all is well and offer help, as he feels the baby house is in a vulnerable situation. “I help them out and do as much I can, also getting food for them,” he said.

The Kuils River Youth Development, a non-profit organisation, was founded in 2008 and runs programmes to counter drug use, crime, unprotected sex and gangsterism. Claude Julius, its founder and president, says it does not get any government funding.

Mr Julius, who is also the Kuils River Community Police Forum’s project manager, said the initiative also draws on the energy of Cape Town’s popular minstrels to fuel its programmes.

“The klopse were brought into the equation to keep the community active and to have interaction with other communities,” he said.

But he’s had to use his own money to keep the project afloat. At the end of last year, a drive to raise funds for the organisation and donations of stationery for school children, at the Jagtershof sports field in Kuils River, saw him dipping into his own pocket to buy food and hire a band and braaimasters. And after all that, only a few people turned up.

As winter approaches, the Haven Night Shelter, an NGO that runs 15 shelters in and around Cape Town for the homeless, including one in Eikendal, Kraaifontein, finds itself under stress.

There’s a constant need for donations, and a shortage of beds. “Monthly donations help us to have a stable income during the year,” says the organisation’s website. Its CEO Hassan Khan says they received a 3 percent increase in state funding for the 2016/2017 financial year.

“We get a lot of food for free and were it not for community donations we would have struggled,” said Mr Khan.

He told Northern News The Haven in Eikendal had 90 beds, and, after consulting a list of beds available, revealed that for Monday night (April 4) there were just three available, with 89 beds open out of 1075 beds the Haven has in the province.

Mr Khan said the organisation often battled to meet the demand for beds. The state funds R618 a bed, but, in effect, said Mr Khan, R1 400 was needed to provide shelter and also pay salaries.

“Looking forward when the Department of Social Development can contribute to each of of our social worker’s salaries it would be an ideal world,” he said. “We have funding for only five of our 14 social workers. The need is growing so rapidly.”

Justin (not his real name) used to live in Kraaifontein, but a range of setbacks forced him to leave his shack and he has been in and out of shelters over the years.

“But at this time of the year when it’s getting so cold, sometimes you’re at the end of the line and you’re turned away,” he said.

“When you rely on charity there just never seems enough to help people like us.”

A former drug user, Brendan (not his real name) is grateful for the opportunity he has been given to start a new life, through the help of various NGOs including MES (Mould Empower Serve), which is based in Bellville but helps place people in employment in Brackenfell and Kuils River.

“Poverty and lack of opportunities leads to drugs and crime,” said Brendan. “So it’s sad that there’s not more money to help people like us more.”

* If you want to donate R30 per SMS to Rock a Bye Baby House in Kuils River, SMS the number 42555.

The baby house also needs volunteers. Call Yolande Barnard at 021 906 6042 to get involved.

To help with volunteering at The Haven Night Shelters or make a donation, call 021 425 4700.