On Tuesday this week we met with Tsidi and the lovely (lively) group of gogos who gather to stitch up our blankets at the Chiawelo Community Centre in Soweto. Tsidi heads up Sisonke, an organisation that has gathered up to 50 elderly women in that area in order to ensure their wellbeing by providing them with support in the form of mutual goals, friendship support, health talks, weekly exercise classes and various other activities to keep them active and engaged.
Hundreds of thousands of gogos all over South Africa are caring for orphaned grandchildren, even great grandchildren, with very little hope of assistance from the State. Most of this older generation live in dire poverty and are a “forgotten” sector of the population until people like Tsidi come into their lives!!
Tsidi and Ronda at the Chiawelo Community Centre.
The purpose of our visit was twofold. Firstly, we wanted to thank the gogos for the incredible contribution they have made to KAS over the years by so ably creating blankets from many of the squares we receive from around the world. We decided that a sumptuous high tea would do the trick and it seemed to hit the right spot completely!!
Our tea time spread.
We also wanted to share with them the news that, going forward, we hope to be able to give them R10 for each completed blanket that is returned to Knit-a-Square via Wandi. In this very small way, we are able to help supplement their income and also hope they will be encouraged to continue helping us as they do.
It has always been a KAS dream to be able to sustain communities and empower people to make a difference in their own lives while helping others.
Wandi with a letter from KAS, Ronda and Tsidi talk to the gogos and a lovely certificate of thanks!
Knit-a-Square donated R500.00 yesterday in cash, to get the new gratuity system started… the resulting explosion of enthusiasm and gratitude was to be seen to be believed, as the gogos leapt to their feet to sing songs, dance the toyi-toyi, shout out prayers of blessing, make impromptu speeches and ululate for us in an explosion of noise and colour!
Tsidi will encourage them to pool the money they receive and use it wisely for the mutual benefit of Sisonke members.
A great time was had by all.....
Tea time is over ladies, let's make blankets!