Facebook post leads to help for struggling family

EVERYTHING HELPS: Recyclable material collected by a disadvantaged family in Ezibeleni to help put food on the table Picture: SUPPLIED
THANK YOU: Food parcels bought for a family in Ezibeleni through donations made by people after an appeal was made by a concerned Ezibeleni resident Picture: SUPPLIED

The day-to-day struggle of an Ezibeleni family caught the eye of a resident and has resulted in scores of people lending a helping hand.

Lubabalo Zwelibanzi, a resident in the area, was deeply touched by the story of a family in Unathi Mkhefa that collects plastic bottles, cans and boxes for recycling as a way of living. Speaking to The Rep, Zwelibanzi, who took the initiative to meet the family whom he preferred not to identify for their protection, stated that they lived under poor conditions.

“My wife Noludwe who works for Saps and I were on our way to town when she shared the story of an old woman who was collecting bottles and boxes with her 21-year-old daughter. My wife and her colleagues had met the two while doing police patrols in the area. I became interested so I met the family.”

He discovered that the family of three was dependent on a social grant, and indicated that the recycling business had taken a hit due to lockdown regulations and now the family made about R200 a month, a lot less than the R1 100 they used to make before the Covid-19 outbreak.

The daughter who usually helps her mother completed a computer literacy course at Komani Silulo Ulutho Technologies, but due to financial challenges she could not get her certificate as she owed the institution R1 800. Her wish was to pay the outstanding amount so she could get her certificate and look for a job to change the conditions at home. Before the lockdown she tried to volunteer at the Ezibeleni Ikhala Tvet College to assist other students, but had to stop because she did not have the certificate.”

Zwelibanzi then wrote a post on The Rep’s Facebook page, appealing to anyone who might help the family. The post immediately touched the hearts of many who came to the family’s aid.

“I am proud to announce that Silulo Ulutho Technologies paid the outstanding amount. Donations of food amounting to R2 200 and R600 worth of blankets was made. Someone committed to paying costs for the daughter to get a driver’s licence. She signed a temporary job contract this week at one of the companies in town where she will work three days a week,” said Zwelibanzi.

Silulo Ulutho Technologies co-founder Luvuyo Rani said the institution had to respond to the emotional appeal. Rani said people reached out to him and an organisation that was willing to pay the amount had made contact after his team had reached a unanimous decision to assist the family. “We were not that such a matter existed and although we do not want to set a precedent, we want to assist where assistance is needed the most,” said Rani.

The Rep spoke to the happy mother who said the stress of paying for her daughter’s tuition was a thing of the past. “I am out of words. God brought His people and provided. The house is warm and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” she said.

Zwelibanzi sent a word of appreciation to everyone who had mobilised to help, including his wife, friend Solomzi Baliso, Zolile Xalisa of Kora, comedian Nomasebe Dondolo, Silulo Ulutho Technologies led by Luvuyo Rani, Emalahleni Local Municipality mayor Nontombizanele Koni, Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality mayor Luleka Gubula and various companies and individuals for their contributions.

My dream is to help the family make their house decent. I still call upon those who can, to help with electrical appliances, furniture including beds and anything one can contribute. This number is available on Whatsapp 074-577 7534.”

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