Keeping Site C’s children out of harm’s way

Founder of Azosule Society Soup Kitchen, Noxolo Mafilika, said she has devoted her time to making the lives of others better. Here are children and parents who are part of her programmes.

The spirit of giving and empowering others has always been close to the heart of Noxolo Mafilika even though she felt she had little to offer.

However, Ms Mafilika said the fact that she had limited resources did not dampen her spirit or stop fer from reaching out to help others.

Ms Mafilika said her drive and passion propelled her to launch Azosule Society Soup Kitchen two years ago with the vision in mind to provide food to the children of Taiwan informal settlement in Site C.

But, she quickly pointed out, the intention was not only to provide food to the community but also to address the many social ills that continue to complicate the lives of young people. She said the idea of starting a soup kitchen was to provide food and run educational programmes that seek to empower young people.

Ms Mafilika said in her area there were more taverns and shebeens than school libraries and organisations that primarily focus on changing the lives of young people.

She said alcohol and drug abuse was on the rise in her area therefore she felt that she had the obligation to do her bit to rescue these young people from falling in the trap of drugs and criminal activities.

Ms Mafilika said it was the collective duty of each and everyone to make their communities a better place to live in for children and that it was time to rewrite the history of their community and ensure that it produces sound young people.

She said she could not sit down and fold her arms while the future of young people was at stake. Furthermore, she said, the fact that she was unemployed was not an excuse not to start the organisation.

Ms Mafilika said she was always on the road, week in and week out, knocking on the doors of many local and big business to donate food to the community of Taiwan.

She said at times she gets ridiculed and others think that she wants the food for her own benefit but she said despite these challenges she has never given up because to her it’s all about giving back to the community.

Beaming with a smile, Ms Mafilika said her passion and drive to improve the lives of the children in her community was bigger than anything.

She said she finds joy and happiness when she sees young children talking about their dreams and understanding the dangers and consequences of bad life choices.

She said she hoped other people coulde the importance and value of giving to the community.

“We are because of others. We were taught that the child of your neighbour is yours too.

We need to go back to the values of Ubuntu.

“We should not do things because we expect to be rewarded. We don’t have to have a lot of money to give back. The little things that we can do go a long way.

“We should be crafting the future of our children. We should move away from the notion that as long as my child is not on drugs I don’t care,” she said.

She also urged young people who come from these communities to come back and be mentors and role models to these children.

Ms Mafilika said the positive things about the area should be emphasised so that children in the area can be motivated.

Bishop Xolani Nyanda, who was supporting this project with other religious leaders, said the role of the church was not to only preach about God but it was also to lend a helping hand to organisations that do their bit to better their areas.

He said it was crucial that young people received a proper foundation so that they could be better people in the future.

Parent Nomonde Matiso said she had two children who were part of this project and she had seen the difference the programmes made . She said her children’s don’t spend as much time roaming the streets