KNYSNA NEWS - StreetSmart SA, an organisation dedicated to helping street children rebuild their lives through donations from restaurants in the Western Cape, Garden Route, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, handed over R90 000 to their Knysna beneficiary, youth development organisation Sinethemba Projects, recently.
The cheque for R90 000 was handed over at an event at Belvidere Manor Hotel on Wednesday, 29 November.
The donation forms part of the more than R1-million that has been awarded nationally for the fourth consecutive year.
StreetSmart coordinator Sue Mills said, “It is one of the best examples of how a little donation can go a long way.
"It shows how those who enjoy a meal can help people who are less fortunate than themselves, so they, too, can become productive citizens of our country.
“We are thrilled with the support of our restaurants and diners," Mills said, "who have enabled us to provide support to those children who might not otherwise have a chance to return to school [if they have dropped out] and advance in life.
By having funds available, means Sinethemba can have dedicated social workers working closely with the children and motivate them to go back to school and for the older ones to attend skills workshops from Youth for Christ to equip them for the job market.”
Sinethemba director Michael Smith, who could not attend the handover, expressed this thanks by saying, “Thank you, StreetSmart, for providing our children with tools to become the best they can be and helping them to reach their full potential.”
At the StreetSmart handover at Belvidere Manor recently, Sinethemba youth development centre received a cheque for R90 000. From left: Sinethemba secretary and operations manager respectively Sharon Dreyer and Sonia Thomas, auxiliary worker Siphamandla Halahala, StreetSmart SA chair Melanie Burke, and Knysna hotellier and StreetSmart coordinator Sue Mills.
Four Knysna restaurants
There are currently four restaurants in Knysna that have embraced StreetSmart’s vision to make a difference to the lives of street children or children who are at a risk of living on the streets.
Some of the restaurants who initially supported the cause were affected by the Knysna fires and are not actively participating this year.
Funds are raised by adding a R5 donation to each table’s bill at participating restaurants. The donation is voluntary and diners are able to donate more if they wish to.
Blend Restaurant, Caroline’s, The Bell Tavern at Belvidere Manor and Chatters Bistro offer their guests an opportunity to give responsibly rather than give handouts directly to children on the streets, which inevitably keeps them on the streets.
StreetSmart SA chair Melanie Burke said, “Through the generosity of our restaurants, partners and other supporters, we were able to continue to expand our national footprint, in spite of the tough economic times.
"For the fourth time in a row, Streetsmart will be disbursing over R1-million to beneficiaries nationally enabling us to support 31 programmes.”
Burke also shared the news that in future they would continue their work not only with the help of participating restaurants but also through accommodation establishments and wine tasting venues and cellars."
Also attending the handover was Siphamandla Halahala who practically grew up at Sinethemba, while he lived in the Dorothy Broster children's home.
Halahala said the help of the organisations and people who genuinely wanted the best for him, has made him and groomed him to be who he is today.
The 23-year-old, who is now a qualified auxiliary worker, said such funds are key to the youth relying on an organisation.
"Such cash injections are humbling and if I had to talk to some of the children from Sinethemba, I'd tell them their dreams are valid and that I am living proof of this.
"Despite my background here I stand, I am still unemployed, but my dreams are valid and so are theirs."
ARTICLE & PHOTO: NWABISA PONDOYI, KNYNSA-PLETT HERALD JOURNALIST
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