Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Miss South Africa launches social campaign with Miss Universe Leila Lopes

Miss South Africa launches social campaign with Miss Universe Leila Lopes

Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes has recently landed in South Africa, where she was welcomed by Miss South Africa 2012 Melinda Bam, who was to launch a very important social campaign.

Miss South Africa 2011, Melinda Bam launched a campaign in aid of the Thuthuzela Aid Community Centre.  February marked the launch of the “SAVE OUR HOME” campaign led by Miss South Africa 2011, Melinda Bam.

The campaign is in aid of the Thuthuzela Aid Community Centre, a place of safety for fourteen children who have been removed from parental custody for various reasons such as abuse, negligence, rape, abandonment. The children are sent to Thuthuzela by the SAPS, social workers and Child Welfare. “HIV/AIDS infected children receive treatment during their stay here says 22 year old Bam. She continues; the children attend school while the younger one attend day care. The thought of these children being evicted breaks my heart and sadly it is a reality that they face.”

Bam has been involved in the project since 2011 as a Miss South Africa finalist, it is then that she learnt of the owners’ intent to sell the property where Thuthuzela is located. After her crowning in December 2011, she was certain that 2012, her year of reign will be dedicated to helping save Thuthuzela. Elizabeth (Lizzy) Monyela, child minder and the founder of Thuthuzela Aid Community Centre established the centre in 2005 after seeing the pain of children neglected in her community. It was also motivated by the heartache of losing her son, Julius who suffered from Down’s syndrome. “The building we occupy was initially meant to be a temporary shelter. Six years later we are still here sharing the place with other tenants. Nineteen orphans are now sleeping in the same room, sharing only one bathroom.

We are in urgent need of a new home with enough rooms space for the kids to play in. Our day care centre, run in the same premises, is also affected by this lack of space. There are 41 children who share the same garage area. We would love to have proper classrooms, toilet facilities and play areas. The building is currently for sale and our greatest fear is that should the house be purchased by someone we would be evicted. We cannot afford to buy it ourselves nor would it be possible for us to cover the heavy renovation costs required,” says Lizzy as she is affectionately known in the community.

The Business for Empowerment Trust “BET” has come on board donating R100 000 to the “SAVE OUR HOME” initiative and will be handing over a cheque to Melinda and Lizzy on the 23rd February 2012 at Shere Empowerment Conference Centre in Pretoria East. “When I heard about this donation I was out of words. It gave me a sense of hope and purpose and I am grateful to the organisation. This is just the beginning and we are nowhere near our target. I call upon more organisations to assist, this cannot be done without you,” said Melinda Bam.

BET was established in 2008 primarily to provide an independent and expertly administered, managed and monitored vehicle for organisations to channel their Socio-Economic Development “SED” or CSI contributions to beneficiaries that qualify in terms of BEE requirements. Soon after it was established the BET evolved towards also facilitating the integration of Socio-Economic Development with Black Enterprise Development. Towards the end of 2009 a programme was started whereby tertiary-qualified unemployed black youths were empowered to supply the Hunger & Thirst Foundation with feeding packs needed for the children in its programme. This meant that the same money that funded social development was leveraged to also fund black entrepreneurship development. The amount donated will be put in a secure trust fund until enough funds are raised to acquire a new property for mam’ Lizzy and her children. Further expansion plans will also be put in place to benefit the community which played home to Thuthuzela for the past 6 years.

There are strong rumors that Miss Universe 2012 will happen in Sun City, South Africa, in December.

Courtesy of Miss Universe South Africa Facebook Page and MissUniverse.com. GB