Soup kitchen brings much-needed relief to the poor

Seniors who attended the Women's Month celebration in traditional gear.

Nontsikelelo Ndlazulwana has become a beacon of hope for her community of Makhaza.

She runs the Soup-Kitchen and Community Upliftment Project, which grows vegetables and feeds up to 40 senior citizens and young people from the community a day.

The project also seeks to find jobs for unemployed youth.

Ms Ndlazulwana started the soup kitchen in May this year after seeing how seniors and young people struggle to make ends meet.

She said seniors came knocking on her door to ask for something to eat.

She also noticed young people falling into a life of crime.

The project celebrated Women’s Month with an event on Thursday August 22 at Ms Ndlazulwana’s Makhaya home.

The 40 seniors who attended got a chance to sing, dance and speak about the past.

Speaking to Vukani during the celebrations, Ms Ndlazulwana said: “The plight of the community prompted me to start a soup kitchen.

“The sight of young people and lonely seniors sitting at home just touched me. Khayelitsha as a whole has a high rate of unemployment so most people have no means of income.

“There are those who live on a social grant but it is not enough.”

She said she runs her project out of her own pocket but has applied to the Department of Social Department for help.

“I hope I will get funding one day. In the meantime I use the little I have. But I know what I am doing is a worthy cause. It is my passion to help people and uplift my community.

“It is not good to see seniors struggling to have their treatment on an empty stomach. It is painful to see your people suffering,” she said.

The group is served warm meals daily and are taken through some physical exercises on Fridays to improve their health.

Talking about the Women’s Month celebrations, Ms Ndlazulwana said the idea came from the seniors who constantly reminded her that they have to celebrate the month before it ends.

She said she is happy to have such people around her.

“They wanted to feel good I guess. It has been their wish to celebrate the month and I had to organise things.

“They are all phenomenal women. But we also have few males with us that give us much needed support,” she said.

Recipient and a member of the project, Cynthia Rhubushe praised Ms Ndlazulwana’s willingnes to do good in the community.

“She saw our struggle and decided to use her house. We do hand crafts like sewing, beading, gardening and we also exercise here,” she said.

The excited senior said she was happy to celebrate the month with other women.

She said it was the first time she celebrated Women’s Month close to home with people she knows.

“In fact we are celebrating her for all she did for us and our children. She has a heart of gold. May God keep her for generations to come,” said Ms Rhubushe.

The women invited community leader Lungile Nobaza to encourage and motivate those in attendance.

Mr Nobaza commended the women for coming together and doing something.

He said the women of yesteryear were successful because they stood together.

He applauded the work of the women and their leader, Ms Ndlazulwana.

He encouraged them to stand together even in difficult times.

The women ended their day with song and dance.