By Lizelle Henegan

Vulnerability is growing in impoverished Eluxolweni – a small Pearly Beach neighbourhood in the Overstrand. 

Young children and their families are going hungry and they are growing more desperate. Due to our longterm investment in and care for the wellbeing of the community, as Flower Valley Conservation Trust (FVCT) we are re-evaluating our service methods and delivery, as well as our impact in an ever-shifting landscape.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust dropped off food parcels in Eluxolweni, Pearly Beach on Thursday 23 April. The funds were raised through an appeal coordinated by the Trust. Flower Valley’s Kieran Whitley delivered the parcels from door-to-door to 64 families. 

Our ECD Programme Manager, Gabrielle Jonker, shares some personal words on how within the deep inequalities, strained today to a critical point, we can consider our approach to support these and other communities:

 

“I am not sure that people living in the reality of today’s inequality (or somewhere in between it) know what the others’ world looks like. We have vague glimpses depending on where we have been or what we have been exposed to, but to really see and understand separate worlds is not easy. Yet we still share commonalities like the love for our children, the encouragement of friends during hard times, the joy that bird song brings in the morning, the awe we experience when we see a sunset. However divided, misinformed, prejudiced, conflicted or separated we may be, these simple things in life are powerful universalities that remain strong and constant and bring us comfort and joy.

“All my life I have been troubled by inequality: what it means, how it manifests, what it does, where it comes from and how I can be in service to all beings, equally enjoying the same rights and care. In this tense and terrifying time, I can hear and speak the words of rage or judgement, shame or accusation, or even imagine that I have some (miracle) answers as I see inequality raise its ugly claws. But I can also choose to look to where love, care and sharing come to heal and help us learn more about ourselves, about each other and the world we live in.

“Can we show the willingness to find another way of being? To think differently? To question our beliefs, our habits, our assumptions and views? To question ourselves first and foremost?

“Food parcels and feeding programmes are wonderful, and offering even the smallest contribution do have the potential to inspire an internal transformation – especially today, when the bare basics are so urgently needed. But we must acknowledge, as we give, that they are temporary and only provide a band-aid to much deeper wounds that are going to need individual, group and systemic change. If we are really going to be honest about what we are facing, maybe we might see that change begins with all of us sharing from the abundance of what we have. Sharing the stories of our childhood, the skills of our hands, the knowledge of our minds and hearts, our gifts, our money, our food, our spaces, our family, our friends, our lands and forest and fields. As we start to share and to ask relevant questions, as we become willing to learn and unlearn, we could shift, step by step from what does not serve deep transformation to what does.

“So in the tiny microcosm of Eluxolweni, how do we apply these sentiments, these ideas, these hopes? I am not really sure, but I am willing to be a part of this great emergence, not with all the answers but with an open heart and a deep knowing of the interbeing that is life and of the sources of ancient wisdom which we all share and which will carry us through this.”

 

Flower Valley will continue to maintain close communications with our field workers, parents and care givers, community leaders, the Overstrand Municipality, the Department of Social Development, ward councillors, and other NGO’s to stay informed of the needs arising in our most vulnerable communities and to collaborate our support efforts.  

In this time of crisis, we will continue to be inspired to work in close partnership with people to investigate sustainable ways and projects that can generate a healthy future.

Together with local families, in our home based programme and with you, our friends, we will strive to use these challenging times as a catapulting force to help break down old socio-economic patterns and liberate ourselves and others from the strongholds of the past.

Kieran travelled to Eluxolweni with a car full of food parcels. Our thanks to all the wonderful donors who have supported us so far, and to OK Gansbaai for putting the food parcels together. 

Change has never been more urgent and we invite you to share in this conversation.

We are furthermore appealing to the public to please make financial donations and will use these contributions to help feed impoverished families with pregnant woman and young children 0 – 4 years old during this time of need.

To find out more or to make your much needed contribution, please contact:

Kieran Whitley
Home Based Coordinator
Flower Valley Conservation Trust
Email: kieran@flowervalley.co.za | Mobile: +27 (0)83 654 1425

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

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