Food and PPE for Ivory Park kids thanks to Battle of the Sports

Funds raised by endurance challenge are put to use in SA communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic

20 October 2020 - 18:04
Tumelo Home in Ivory Park looks after children and older people with mental and physical disabilities.
Image: Supplied Tumelo Home in Ivory Park looks after children and older people with mental and physical disabilities.

Vulnerable children in Ivory Park, Gauteng, this week received food and personal protective equipment (PPE) as part of the BrightRock Battle of the Sports fundraising initiative to support communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The finale of the sports challenge, in which 16 famous local athletes competed at Verneukpan in the Northern Cape, walking 200km each over the past month, was held on Friday October 16. The winning team – rugby, cricket, running or soccer – will be announced later this week.

The organisers had also challenged other athletes and South Africans to raise funds for communities in need of Covid-19 support.

“This is not only about affecting positive change; it is about saving and sustaining lives,” said Clive Grinaker, CEO of Events to Aid, the non-profit organisation that created the Battle of the Sports.

The NGO Right to Care, in partnership with Events to Aid, delivered the food packs and equipment to Tumelo Home in Ivory Park.

Precious Robinson, Right to Care chief technical specialist for preventive care and treatment, said: “We need to support homes like Tumelo which embrace vulnerable children and champion the struggle to care for those with severe and profound intellectual and physical disabilities. Tumelo means 'faith', and the home provides a caring refuge in the heart of Ivory Park.

The home was established in April 1996 by Dr Moses Thindisa and his late wife, Orina Thindisa. It provides full-time residential care and day care for children and others with severe mental and physical disabilities. 

“Right to Care wants to see these children have a better quality of health. We want to protect them from Covid-19 by making those who look after them aware of how they can protect the vulnerable and handicapped, while [also taking their own] precautions if capable,” said Robinson.

“We should always give their carers the necessary resources to protect themselves. We care about their welfare, health and safety, and showing them love and compassion can lead to a more fulfilling and dignified life.”

Vital community service

Tumelo Home’s MD, Rev Solly Khuthama, said the residents at the home were between four and 49 years old, but most had the intellectual capacity of a three- or four-year-old. 

“Giving birth to a child with a mental disability is a daunting thought for parents, and this is why the services we provide at Tumelo are so significant. We fulfil such a vital service to the community and to parents who need to go out to work,” he said.

“Many of our children have sadly been abandoned, so we need to offer 24/7 care. We have also recently expanded into two centres – one for adults and one for children. In terms of our residential programme, we cater for about 20 adults in the one centre and 30 children in the other.”

As it is an NGO, the home relies heavily on donations. “We try to introduce as many programmes for the people living in the centre as possible, but these projects and the people we can take in are limited by funds. We have a very long waiting list,” Khuthama said.

He said the Ivory Park community was incredibly supportive but, to do more, he needed corporate support. 

“Seeing the incredible work at the home and the urgent need for more facilities like this makes our whole challenge so worthwhile,” said Clive Grinaker, CEO of Events to Aid. “We are so proud to be able to make a small contribution. This challenge is a fitting way to create positive change for the most vulnerable in our community.” 

All funds raised from the challenge have gone to Right to Care, which has matched the donations rand for rand.