Akasia Avenue Foundation aims to change lives

Liesel and Marion Bakker, who are both volunteers at Akasia Avenue Foundation, hold some of the donations they received.
Clockwise, from left, Carol Haupt, Tougheeda Hutton, Lynton Cupido, Warren Volkwyn, Jaylynn Maneveldt, Liesl van der Rheede and Keenan Blaauw, prepare food for distribution.

Within just one year of its establishment, a Bridgetown-based foundation was recognised with a mayoral award for its work in the greater Athlone area.

Warren Volkwyn started the Akasia Avenue Foundation in June last year, in honour of his late mother. Akasia Avenue is the road he grew up in.

Mr Volkwyn said he had always been involved with community upliftment projects, and he is still a board member of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).

“I wanted to do something in honour of my mother, who died in 2019. It was only when the lockdown happened and I saw so many homeless people in Crawford, that I knew exactly what I wanted to do in her honour. A few of my cousins and I then got together to cook a pot of food. It broke my heart that it was not enough, but it also opened my eyes as to how big the need was,” Mr Volkwyn said.

Shortly thereafter, he called on his family and friends again, as he was collecting toothbrushes, toothpaste, face cloths and pads, among others, to distribute among pupils. So far, the foundation has been operating on the kindness and generosity of his friends and family. He usually reaches out to them on social media.

Mr Volkwyn, who works full-time as a recruitment consultant, registered the foundation as a business.

When asked why, he said: “Government and global funders’ priorities change, and for this reason funding cannot be guaranteed. The idea of registering the business was so that we can generate money. The idea is to grow a business and have it linked to the community-upliftment projects. My dream is also that we acquire a building so as not to do this from home. Our motto is to reach out and touch lives.”

For now, the foundation does outreach once every two months, as Mr Volkwyn does all the co-ordinating himself, which can take up a lot of time. With his birthday and Women’s Day coming up in August, Mr Volkwyn is planning another community-driven event.

He said the mayoral award for social support that the foundation received came exactly a year after he made his first social-media appeal. It meant he was on the right path, he said.

If you’d like to assist Akasia Avenue Foundation, contact Mr Volkwyn at akasiaavenuefoundation@gmail.com or 084 502 9112.