In celebration of its 21st anniversary, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has launched the ’21 years of Giving Back’ campaign which is basically them giving away R2.1 million to 21 worthy causes. You have until the end of February to nominate any South African charity that matters to you. Then in May, 21 winning beneficiaries will be chosen from the list of nominations to each receive R100 000, and the supporters who nominated them will each receive a R1 000 Woolies Giftcard.
This is all pretty awesome right! But why go through the trouble of entering a competition when the bulk of the money does not come to you?
Well, I visited the charity of my choice, Aurora Special Care Centre, this week and flip the way I hope you guys vote for them!!!
I arrived rather early with my favourite mini Woolworths cupcakes and two giant tubs of play dough Aidan and I made for the kids weighing me down.
The Aurora Special Care Centre, for profoundly mentally and physically handicapped children and adults – which I learnt is a completely different entity to the Aurora Hospital, which shares a premises, but is completely independently funded (the hospital is a private facility while the Centre is an NPO.) – is impressive to say the least.
I am not sure what I expected. I chose them because I read about the work they do and how they go the extra mile for those in their care. It’s one thing to hear about staff that go out of their way for vulnerable children who can often do little to nothing for themselves, but it’s an entirely different thing to see it with your own eyes.
I arrived with my mom in tow as she is very open to assisting and learning more about charities. The tour incorporated a look at facilities including special baths which allow handicapped people to climb(assisted) in and out without the risk of injury, the residence for children and adults from the age of two to 59 (for those who require 24h care), the light therapy room, hydrotherapy pool as well as physiotherapy and stimulation centres.
These were all impressive and looked EXPENSIVE, often out-dated (because who can keep up with the cost) but so well looked after, I know that they get very little help from the Government; each child under the age of 18 gets a grant of R17 a day (that’s not even a cup of coffee for goodness sake) and it’s not like after 18 they put the people out on the street. So they rely heavily on donations, their charity shop and fundraising.
Those attending the centre do so either as a resident or as you would a mainstream school arriving by bus or with their guardians every day. I saw a mom drop off a beautiful blond little girl and thought of my own school run, which suddenly felt like a cake walk by comparison, the little girl struggled to walk but her determination and the love in her moms eyes pushed her on. At that point I knew I was in for ALL THE FEELS.
The facilities were impressive but what really got me (and had my mom and I discussing it for ages as we blinked back tears at lunch) was the dedication of the staff we met at the Stimulation centre.
Flip, I have been known to pull my hair out when Aidan and his cousins get too much. I lose my patience when they don’t grasp a concept or relay a story for the 50 millionth time, especially a story I told them in the first place. But these staff members deal with way more, including low salaries, and high work loads like champs.
Their eyes light up when they tell you how a child reached for a chip all by himself or made eye contact for the first time. They take such pride in these angels, seemingly understanding body language and inaudible sound with the care of a parent.
“He wants to shake your hand,” said one carer when a child motioned at me, not even reaching out his hand and certainly not saying anything the rest of us could understand. But that was it, he wanted to shake my hand.
These carers really give a damn. They give a multitude of damns actually. They know each child by name. They know their habits, their likes and dislikes and how to get the best from them.
They hug and hold and understand, they do music circles and wheel chair dancing, they show a simple task over and over again often with not as much as a smile in return.
They cry with the parents as milestones are missed and cheer when they are met.
These are the people I want my “winnings” to go to.
Check out THIS VIDEO for a tour of the facilities
Who do you want to assist? Don’t miss out on the chance.
*Each cardholder can nominate up to three beneficiaries and donations are made by participating retailers on their behalf, and at no cost to them.
MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is also making donations to a selection of causes, in celebration of their milestone birthday. So far 21 of the SPCA’s most in need each received R10 000-00; 21 000 Book Dash books were added to Santa’s Shoeboxes; 2 100 Tutudesks will be donated to learners at under-resourced schools in Limpopo; and 21 ‘Smiles’ (cleft lip/palate operations) with Operation Smile will be implemented in April 2019. The 21 Years of Giving Back campaign is open to MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet supporters throughout the country. If you are not yet a cardholder, you can sign up for free at
www.myschool.co.za or download the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet App, nominate the
cause that matters to you, and be part of the active citizenship our country needs.