Tribute to my Mom
Hermanus Rainbow Trust
My Mom is one of those, that can turn bad situations around and make them into a success. Through the years, I have seen her work herself to almost breaking point to get her Dancing Schools become a household name. She took a small poultry business and turned it into the best one around at the time, so that the chicken brand was a household name in the province we stayed. She bought a struggling coffee shop and built it up so that Saturday and Sunday mornings, there would be long queues outside as people were prepared to wait to get a table. Mom made many sacrifices, one being, she wasn't around that much to watch us all growing up. Her first two marriages failed. However, her hard work and brillance at organising and entertaining gave us a great example of what to do if we wanted to get ahead. As a result, I think all her children are good organisers and entertainers.
When Mom reached what should have been retirement age, she redecorated the house and then looked around for something to do. Coffee morning and bridge clubs weren't her style, and she decided to get a group of her friends together and teach some of the black women in the township some sewing skills so that they could make items to sell to support their families. My Mom soon realised, that the children of these women were not receiving any preschool education at all. So, she got together a group of friends and started a charity to raise money to build preschool and kindergarten classrooms for children in disadvantaged communities in the townships near where she stayed.
After setting up classrooms, Mom realised that the classes needed teachers, so she set in place a program so that local women could be trained as teachers. Then she realised that the children were starving, and many were lucky to get one meal a day. She started a sponsor-a-child program, whereby people sent money each month which was used to feed the children and clothe them and pay their school fees. As the AIDS epidemic swept through the townships, Mom saw that there were many AIDS orphans being cared for by elderly grandparents, so she started a Circle of Hope which provided support for vulnerable children. Mom was shocked to discover, that there were children aged between 10-14, caring for their siblings with no adults present. The parents had either died, or moved on and left them behind. With AIDS such a big problem in Southern Africa, many AIDS sufferers are left to die alone in their rooms with nobody to care for them. Mom started a 'home visit' service, whereby home helpers go in and help the AIDS patients and she then employed a driver to take them to the clinic for regular check-ups. Then Mom saw that children with special needs weren't getting any support, so she had some of the classes adapted for children with special needs. My Mom, Vivienne Owen, looked at the townships around her and saw what was lacking and did something about it to make a difference in the lives of people devastated by poverty and AIDS.
Her charity, the Hermanus Rainbow Trust, has become a registered NGO. It employs teachers, drivers, home care helpers, social workers, occupational therapists, nurses. All money raised goes into feeding and clothing and setting up kindergarten classes for the children. Most of the admin costs for running the charity come from my Mom's own pocket. For the past year, my Mom has been very sick and often bedridden for days on end. All that keeps her going, is her dream and desire to some how make a difference in the lives of these children. Luckily, she has some really good people working for her who have been able to continue the charity and watch it grow while my Mom has battled with her health.
My daughter, Kerri, is collecting sponsorships to run the Great Wall Half Marathon in China in May 2009. She has never run a marathon in her life, but this is her way of raising money for the Hermanus Rainbow Trust. All money raised, will go to setting up another much-needed kindergarten classroom with wheelchair access for special needs children. She is trying to raise $2000 or R20 000. My Mom, has inspired us all to put back into the world, what we have taken out. You go Mom! You rock!
Hermanus Rainbow Trust
- Hermanus Rainbow Trust
Awareness, consciousness, conscience, care, hope, support, protest, cr
Kerri's Great Wall Marathon Sponsorship Event
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