I left Siphila Ngomusa with mixed emotions. We had fun, had an impact on hundreds of lives, we witnessed opportunities the people with “no other option” have in Durban. Yet, so few people joined us to be part of it.
We were able to visit a facility in Durban where a homeless lady can be housed, in her own room, with access to hot and cold showers and flush toilets, free of charge. A place where she will see a social worker and a plan will be created for her to re-enter society, yet Durban didn’t get to see it! My second frustration was unfortunately circumstantial as the visit to the one men’s site was cancelled due to unrest. It was disappointing as it’s inspiring to see theses sites and the lives that have blossomed within them.
There is a myriad of factors that resulted in low sign-ups for people to join. The first being COVID and the fear of coming into contact with people unfamiliar to us. We must assure you every COVID protocol was maintained. We also realise many people find it hard seeing others struggle, especially when the need for food and shelter is overwhelming. The location of heading into a Durban market is also tough for many individuals. Volunteering is so important right now and necessary. Many studies have proven that volunteering and giving to people in need increases the feeling of happiness in the volunteer or giver. And our society needs a healthy dose of hope and happiness right now! Another factor that improves the feeling of happiness is showing gratitude. So, we would like to take the opportunity to thank four groups of people.
Firstly, the Siphila Ngomusa team who serve daily and tirelessly. They get up at 2:00am to cook breakfast for the homeless, come back from that round to clean pots and then start cooking an afternoon meal. They serve about 500 people daily. We thank you for showing up each and every day and making a difference despite the circumstances.
Secondly, we would like to thank eThekwini Municipality for supplying and running these facilities for the homeless.
Thirdly, we would like to thank the donors who make it possible to supply food to the homeless. Without your sacrifices, those 500 people would not be fed.
And last, but in many ways most importantly, we thank the volunteers for taking time out of their very busy lives to come be present and serve those in need, we appreciate you!
2021 is our 10th birthday and to mark the occasion, we are challenging Durban to 10 actions for good this year! Saturday was our first celebration event and what is a celebration without food? Our food went to those in need. The next challenge, 10.2, will be in the education sector – we look forward to hosting you at one of our partner organisations on the 13 March 2021. Make sure you watch out for sign up information, and sign up to join us! Let’s make Durban all it was meant to be, together!