At the beginning of August, the month we celebrate Women's Month in South Africa, we met three women - Astrid*, Margaret* and Refilwe*, each with different stories but the same plea - their own safe space to call home. Their situations were desperate and we couldn't turn them away, so we released a call for help to raise funds to build them each a low-cost home, and were positively overwhelmed by the instant response. Within just 2 days, we had enough money to go ahead with the building!
We started to help the ladies by offering food parcels, clothing donations and baby goods for their little ones. The local police and a few local connections helped us to source lots of land to build the shacks on, and 2 of the ladies managed to find temporary shelter at a pastor's home nearby. By mid-September, all three homes were built and the families moved in!
A home is not only a place to sleep and be safe; but also dignity and the start of a new life. It gives us a platform to work in their lives and prepare them for better opportunities. Lesedi la Batho will continue to support these women with food and clothing donations, counselling and free skills training to help them get on their feet. Two of them have decided to start a small business together, making and selling candles - which our sponsors at Rays of Hope have generously decided to invest capital in to get it off the ground. It is our mission to see each family self-sufficient and independent of handouts.
Thank you from Margaret*...
On her first night in temporary shelter while waiting on her house to be built, Margaret told us, "I have slept the whole night for the first time in a long time, surely now I believe there is a God. Thank you Lesedi la Batho and Rays of Hope for building me a new home and for giving me a new start, I am really grateful for all the help I received."
Thank you from Astrid*...
"I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Lesedi la Batho and Rays of Hope for seeing us through our problems. We have been on the streets for plus minus 11 years now. We've been begging to stay in people's yards, we've been begging all over the place. Not having a home, especially for me as a teenager growing up, was quite frustrating. It disturbed my school work, my personal life, my social life... so I had quite a hard upbringing. While on our travels, we ended up in Winterveld, after that we went to Boekenhout, then Mabopane - that's how we found Lesedi la Batho. I went there to ask for help, and they never hesitated to help us in any way, starting with food parcels and anything else we needed. They asked their sponsors to help build a shack for us, which they did. This is a great new beginning for us because now I'll be able to look for work and go to school freely and do a lot of things. My daughter now has a place to call home which I never really had. So we thank you very, very, very, much.
*Pseudonyms used to protect beneficiary’s identity
Watch this video to see how we build a low-cost home... !
Thank you to Alejandro Garcia, Talking Images & Rays of Hope for creating this beautiful video!