A little gift can go a long way to changing someone's life, as has been demonstrated time and again by Mama Asnath Teffo, the founder of Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng in the township of Olievenhoutbosch.
Meaning "little gifts of home" in Setswana, Dimphonyana Tsa Lapeng has helped hundreds of children and their families in the township, just outside of Midrand in Gauteng, by giving them the care and support they needed after the loss of their parents, or because of poverty.
Fourteen years ago Asnath, or Mama-Assie as she is affectionately known by the community, moved from nearby Noordwyk to Olievenhoutbosch with her family, bringing her passion for improving the lives of others closely in tow.
When she arrived in Olievenhoutbosch the area was dominated by shacks and other informal housing, before the RDP houses that dominate the landscape today were built. Here she became aware of the need to intervene and help those around her who were struggling because of the circumstances they found themselves in.
Knowing she couldn't battle all of life's misfortunes she prioritised the care of destitute women and children, taking orphaned or abandoned youngsters into her home to raise among her own children.
Mama-Assie has invested countless hours of her time and a huge amount of her resources in the improvement of the lives of those around her. She has put a particular focus on the young people having to grow up facing challenging situations such as child-headed homes.
THE RECYCLING SWOP SHOP
As part of Diphonyana's attempts to provide for the basic needs of the Olievenhoutbosch community, they are currently setting up a recycle swop shop which, as the name suggests, will combine recycling with helping people get their day-to-day necessities.
The project is planned as a three-pronged tool to fight poverty and help the community. It will help clear litter and waste from the environment while providing people with their daily needs, all the time fostering self-help, independence and dignity.
The idea is for people to collect recyclable waste such as tins, bottles and plastic products, and bring it to the swop shop. In exchange they will be given a ticket valued according to the amount of sorted materials they have collected.
The tickets would then be redeemed at the organisation's shop for essential products such as toiletries, food and clothing, depending on what has been donated to Dimphonyana by members of the public sympathetic to the cause.
An example of the valuation system is as follows: 5 points for a loaf of bread, or 35 points for a standard food parcel containing mealie meal, bread, tea bags, cooking oil, soya mince and other basic cooking necessities.
If all goes to plan, this innovative approach to tackling poverty while cleaning up the township will kick off on 1 June this year.
Another smart environment-friendly idea is the Dimphonyana