Vivian Reddy, eThekwini mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede, officials and special guests cutting the ribbon to officially open the new facility.
Businessman and philanthropist, Vivian Reddy, contributed R10 million, through his charity arm, the Sibaya Community Trust, to the construction of a new children’s home for the KwaMashu Family and Child Welfare Society.
Reddy, chairman of the Sibaya Community Trust, handed over the building to the chairman of the KwaMashu Family and Child Welfare Society, Ronald Cele, at the ceremony which was also attended by special guests and members of the community.
“This special project has been 18 months in the making and we are delighted to officially hand it over to such a deserving organisation. When we first received KwaMashu Family and Child Welfare Society’s (KFCWS) plea for assistance, we were deeply heartened by the tremendous work they were doing in the community, despite very limited resources and from severely inadequate premises,” Reddy said.
KwaZulu-Natal first lady, Zodwa Mchunu, welcomed the official opening of KwaMashu Family and Child Welfare Society, and paid tribute to the Sibaya Community Trust and chairman Vivian Reddy for this bold initiative.
“It is estimated that young people aged between 14-35 years constitute close to 38 percent of the total population of this province. The youth faces challenges such as broken families, unemployment, grinding poverty, HIV and Aids including teenage pregnancy,” said Mchunu.
An aerial view of the new facility.
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Mchunu said her husband, KZN premier, Willies Mchunu has always believed that crime is fed by the nature of life that young people live in and by the nature of the environment within which they conduct their daily activities.
“I believe that this facility will strengthen the families of this community and help raise future leaders. We must all acknowledge the fact is that some of those who get involved in crime are people who never received any sense of love and warmth when they were brought up. They grew up in an environment where there is alcohol abuse, domestic violence and hatred,” she said.
Mchunu added that some young people who have turned into drug addicts were forced to make choices earlier on in life at a very vulnerable stage.
“As a result, they are turning into crime, alcohol and drug trafficking. These are things that require our society to stand together,” she said.
Mchunu added that there is a need for more facilities such as this across the province and in remote areas with a higher level of poverty.
“We are calling upon more companies to emulate Sibaya Community Trust and initiate corporate social responsibility programmes,” she said.
Before the new building was sent, the KFCWS had nearly 41 staff members who worked out of a three-bedroom house.
The staff had also built a shack which provided protection from the elements for visitors while staff had to make use of a small, secure office to access printers, files and other administration necessities.
The new building now houses offices including an aftercare and learning wing with a library and computer room, a kitchen and canteen, as well as a large multi-purpose hall.