Mustadafin Foundation celebrates 30 years

NABEELAH MOHEDEEN

Established in 1986 in response to political unrest and violence that erupted due to faction fighting in Crossroads, which had devastating effects on the local communities, particularly women and children, the Belgravia-based Mustadafin Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Mustadafin Foundation is a NPO that works across the Western Cape to uplift destitute communities. Its motto is: “If every man helps his neighbour, then who will need help?”

Through education, feeding schemes, health care programmes, youth interventions and skills development, they empower impoverished people to reach self-suff ciency, self-reliance and independence.

The foundation feeds up to 15 000 people every day and has ensured the successful integration of 150 homeless children into the public school system. It has also established health programmes, adult literacy programmes, a bursary programme for students in tertiary education, and 22 pre-schools.

Recent initiatives by the foundation include the delivering of cooked food and Christmas parcels to 1 000 people, including 100 senior citizens, in underprivileged communities; distributing hot meals and blankets to 120 survivors of the Nomzamo fire disaster; giving 1 700 bags away to patients at the Groote Schuur hospital who could not go home over the holidays; and treating children from destitute areas to a day of fun in the park.

One of the founders of Mustadafin, Ghairunisa Johnstone, is excited about the foundation’s 30th anniversary and reminisced with the Athlone News about when her journey with Mustadafin began.

“The foundation started in 1986 when a group of men and women from different backgrounds went into Crossroads when the violence in the community erupted. We took blankets, food, and clothing for the community,” said Ms Johnstone.

Since then the organisation expanded to different communities and now holds offices in Sherwood Park, Hanover Park, Delft, Montrose Park and Tafelsig in Mitchell’s Plain and Site B and Makhaza, both in Khayelitsha.

“The organisation has five main objectives, to make a difference in education, poverty eradication, health, community development and disaster relief.

“We work together with the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Management department who calls upon us to assist them.

“At the moment we are cooking food for the residents of Masiphumelele who experienced various fires over the festive season,” Ms Johnstone said.

Mustadafin Foundation has also established adult literacy programmes, a bursary programme for tertiary students in need and a partnership with Ibn Sina Institute of Tibb for accessible alternative community health care.

They recently partnered with the National Association of Child Care Workers, who launched the Isibindi Project in the Eastern Cape. The project implements community-based care and protection programmes that help children and youth who have been left desolate by death in the family due to HIV/Aids.

“We have found out through our visits in the Tafelsig community that there are children aged six to 13 who have never been to school or some have dropped out in Grade 3. We are trying to get them back into school as many of them are experimenting with various drugs. More than 300 children from Hanover Park, Manenberg, Tafelsig, Khayelitsha, Montrose Park and Heinz Park have already gone back to school,” she added.

Ms Johnstone added that the foundation is grateful for the continuous support of the community for the past 30 years and urges them to keep supporting the foundation.

“We would like to thank our community for their ongoing support and ask them to keep supporting us. Education is the future but is also important today,” she said.

You can get involved with the Mustadafin Foundation by donating to their various programmes, or by becoming a volunteer.

For more information about the foundation, log on to www. mustadafin.org.za or call the foundation on 021 633 0010 or 021 633 0060 or visit the head office at 18 Belgravia Road, Athlone.