KNYSNA NEWS - Whether it is giving food to the poor or lending a hand to the disadvantaged, a couple of organisations are making all the difference in the lives of community members in Khayalethu, Knysna.
At the end of January the Khayamandi Baptist Church in Nekkies, and visiting members of an American NPO, the Khayamandi Foundation, began their home renovation projects for the year, which include cleaning of the streets, painting, fencing, grass cutting and fixing water pipes at the selected homes.
After the Knysna Fires in 2017, the foundation, among others, rebuilt five homes.
"We were able to buy clothes, food and different things that could help the people get back on their feet," said US citizen Christopher Wilkins, who is a minister at the church and also a partner at the Hands and Heart Foundation, a job skills programme in the industrial area.
"We teach brick masonry, welding and carpentry skills," he said, adding they also teach young men basic life skills such as the importance of getting to work on time (a sense of responsibility), as well as financial management among others.
In addition to providing shelter, the Khayamandi Foundation helps feed the needy through various feeding schemes and is also investigating the possibility of using the church premises for a crèche "so we can start investing in these young children before their school age", Wilkins concluded.
Ward 7 councillor Mandla Matiwane said he is pleased with the work done by the organisation and that Wilkins is here to stay at least for some time to come. "I was one of the people advocating for his visa to be renewed," Matiwane said.
When asked how the municipality is contributing towards the community, spokesperson Christopher Bezuidenhout said R500 000 has been set aside for the maintenance of storm water drains during the 2019/2020 financial year in Ward 7 specifically. "… Some work is done from other capital projects the municipality carried out in this area as part of infrastructure upgrades."
He added that "the municipality contracted 30 small business entrepreneurs to maintain neighbourhoods and public spaces".
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