A busload of BrandSA employees with presents in hand left their usual work stations in Houghton to travel to Ebenezer Hanah Home in the south of Johannesburg to lend a little time as part of their contribution for Nelson Mandela International Day.
Also present to Play their Part were scores of employees from Brand South Africa’s supplier companies.
The children were treated to new toys, games and activities that ensured they all had smiles on their faces throughout the day. “I want to remind you how blessed and privileged you are to come and spend the day with these little people,” said Thabiso magodielo, program manager for government at Brand South Africa. “Anyone can bulid an ARK; an act of random kindness.”
WORKING HAND IN HAND
Mama Shirley Merime, the founder and manager of Ebenezer, has been running the home for 20 years and works hand in hand with social workers providing a home and love for the kids and the elderly. “Ebenezer is a harbour for broken ships; we make sure that we have extra food and clothes for the children.
“As an orphan myself I know what it feels like to be hungry and no one has food for you so it’s important for me to make sure that the children have something to eat and clothes to wear.”
For the third year running BrandSA has been contributing to the improvement of the centre for orphans and destitute elderly people. “We are not here as a one night stand. We want to make sure that we change the lives of people and that takes time,” said Leo Magkamathe, BrandSA programme manager for civil society.
“We never understand the impact we make in the lives of these children, today I am the one who is privileged because I feel like I have done a little bit to better the lives of these kids.”
BrandSA’s three year partnership with Ebenezer has seen to the refurbishment of the homes buildings and the donation of bedding and furniture to help ensure the comfort of the children and the elderly. “This year we are here to play with the kids and show a little love as that is what kids really want, to be loved,” commented Magkamathe.
PRACTICAL SKILLS TRAINING
The centre generates income through baking bread and cakes and selling to the public, but they also rely heavily on the generosity of the public and corporate businesses. The centre has a team of 20 unpaid staff members with Mama Shirley ensuring that they are fully trained in teaching and baking in order to make their contribution as effective as possible.
The centre also provides practical skills training for the youth teaching them skills like building and tiling. “Ebenezer teaches us good Christian values” says Mark Merime, Mama Shirley’s son and active participant at Ebenezer.
“We are seeking to emulate the example of Nelson Mandela in ensuring service in your community,” said Miller Matola CEO of Brand South Africa. “Our message is that the children can take charge of their destiny and they can change their future.” Matola further urged all South Africans to Play their Part in improving the lives of other South Africans.
Mama Shirley and her team only had words of thanks to give at the end of the day. “I am truly humbled by the work that you guys have done here today. I have no word only gratitude and appreciation. You have left a mark in the lives of these little children today. It is because of people like you who helped an orphan like me that I am able to do what I do today.”
Mama Shirley and her team encourage people to get involved in the improvement of the lives of children by donating their time and showing a little bit of love.