Alexandra non-profit organisation Ucedo Lwa Bantu (Help for the Nation), originally established to help patients with chronic illnesses adhere to their medication programmes, has instead become a feeding programme.
Every day after school, hundreds of children gather at the organisation’s premises for soup and bread.
According to the organisation’s founder Hilda Rasebeka-Phalama, they decided to start feeding children after realizing that there were many hungry families in the area as well as child-headed households with no means of survival.
“We want them to get used to a nutritious and a balanced diet. Proper food is necessary for their development, and we are able to provide that thanks to the generous contribution of our sponsors. We have also realised that many parents are not working. We need to meet them halfway,” she said.
The scheme, introduced a few years ago, has had a massive impact.
“Some of the kids we have help through this feeding scheme are now studying at universities, running their own businesses and working.”
Saving on food costs
Parents say they are grateful as the soup kitchen has reduced their food costs.
“I now can save a meal per day. Instead of eating after school, my kids can now wait for supper. This feeding scheme has helped a lot,” said unemployed parent, Grace Masalesa. Her four children eat at Ucedo Lwa Bantu after school every day.
“The only challenge is on weekends where kids are at home and they eat a lot. We wish there was also a feeding scheme on weekends. But we are grateful for what we get,” said another parent, Hames Paige, who is also unemployed. Her two children are few at the kitchen as her husband is also unemployed.
Beside feeding children every day, the organisation receives other donations that enable them to give some children clothes and also throw them a year-end party complete with gifts.
For their chronic patients, they hold adherence clubs every week and serve as the collection point for medication.
“We want to do more, and wish more companies to come on board and help. We do this out of love not pity,” said Rasebeka-Phalama.