Last semester, we decided that, as part of Oxbridge Academy’s corporate responsibility programme, we wanted to make a big charity donation to the Stellenbosch Night Shelter located near the college.
So throughout June and July, our staff members brought in blankets, clothes, food, and other useful items for our ‘Keep Stellenbosch Warm’ charity drive. And on Friday 14 August, we loaded 5 overflowing boxes of donated items into a couple of cars (one of the boxes was so heavy that it broke open and spilled out in the parking lot!) and left for the shelter.
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Dorothy Reyneke, the chairman of the 24-year-old shelter, met us at the gate and took us on a short tour of their shelter. “Most of our food is donated. Clothing is donated. Items that we can use are donated,” Reyneke (herself an unpaid volunteer) says.
Each night, there are 42 people — men and women — who rely on the shelter for a place to stay and for something warm to eat. The shelter occupants get access to two meals, a bed, ablution facilities, and access to social services. But “they have to pay R7 for the night,” Reyneke insists. “No pay – no stay. Because the whole issue is to get them to take responsibility.” Likewise, they need an ID to be admitted, because they have to learn to take responsibility for this important document.
Hanél Haumann, the chairman of Oxbridge Academy’s staff representative committee, also handed the shelter’s manager and social worker, Denise Paulse, 10 Oxbridge Academy Ubuntu Short Courses to give to shelter residents, volunteers, or staff members. Though these might not necessarily satisfy the immediate needs of the hungry and homeless, it might help them to eventually get out of their situation. As Dorothy Reyneke said:
“This is not a permanent home – it’s accommodation till something better… You’ve got to learn that to try and make something of yourself.”
Oxbridge Academy wants to thank Dorothy Reyneke, Denise Paulse, and all their volunteers for all the hard work, time, and effort they put into making South Africa just a little bit better. We also want to thank our own team of staff representatives for all their effort in organising the charity drive and making it such a huge success! Our staff representatives have already organised a number of great charity events throughout the year, and are already planning their next big project for the Ubuntu House for abandoned children in November.