The Jonas family in Makhaya, Khayelitsha, can breathe a sigh of relief after their dilapidated home was renovated and handed back to them last Sunday.
The renovation was thanks to Khayelitsha Community Trust (KCT) in partnership with Masakhane Zimbokodo Women Empowerment who fixed the house and donated groceries to the family.
Zoleka Jonas, 52, wept silently and could not contain her emotions as she had been yearning to see her house in a decent state.
She said she was unemployed and her son had been working part-jobs so they were unable to repair their home.
However, she said she was over the moon with joy and had deep gratitude for what has been done for her family.
“I have no idea how to thank everyone who has extended a helping hand. What makes me emotional is the fact that I don’t know these people who have travelled all the way from their homes just to make my house look better.
“I wish what they have done for me, they would do it for someone else as well. I pray to God to give them more blessings and spare them more time on this ruthless earth,” she said.
Ms Jonas said she always feared that one day the house would collapse because of the bad condition it was in.
KCT community liaison Officer, Mphumzi Mange, said they had received a letter from Masakhane Zimbokodo Women Empowerment describing Ms Jonas’ unbearable living conditions.
He said when he visited the family, their house had holes in the walls and roof was also riddled with holes and some windows were broken while doors were in an extremely bad condition.
He said the first thing they did was to close the holes in the walls and plaster the walls inside and outside.
He adds that they then painted the house and replaced broken windows and doors.
“The ceiling was completely ripped off and we had to put in a new one and before you could easily see outside looking through the roof. They put curtains in the other rooms as there were no doors. We have spent more than R32000 in fixing this house and buying material.
“We are proud of the work that we do and we receive too many requests for help but due to limited budget we cannot at times respond to every request that needs help due to financial constraints. Ours is to advance the development of Khayelitsha through various means,” he said.
Masakhane Zimbokodo Women Empowerment Group founder, Nosethu Manxilana, said they discovered the bad living conditions Ms Jonas was living under and felt the urge to lend a helping hand.
However, she said the group does not have funds so they opted to write to KCT for help. Through their collective efforts, she said the family’s story has taken an extraordinary turn and rising from a foundation of love and shared humanity the house was renovated.
Ms Manxilana said the group was established last year as a support system for women who are married to share their challenges in marriage and motivate each other.
However, she said they felt the need to help women who are unemployed and facing difficulties.
“When we got here it was like this family was living outside even though they have a house. We want to support women who are facing challenges and show a helping hand and not look down on anyone who is facing difficulties,” she said.