Champ sets sights on empowering community

Anthea and Shaun Jones are the founders of Manenberg-based non-profit House of Hope Community Development.

A former SA table tennis champ turned pastor and his wife are running a non-profit organisation to fight poverty and despair in Manenberg.

The couple believe the church needs to do more than just hold church services to be relevant.

When Anthea Jones shared her idea for House of Hope Community Development with her husband, Pastor Shaun Jones, he was eager to get involved, and the registered non-profit has been running since last year.

“We started in our yard with a soup kitchen once a week, but we don’t just want to be a feeding scheme; we want to empower our community,” said Mr Jones, who started the Duinefontein Table Tennis Club five years ago.

Ms Jones decided to do something about Manenberg’s social ills after noticing a child watching one of her children eating a piece a cake in the couple’s front yard.

“At one point, some of the cake fell on the ground, and that child’s eyes followed where it fell. I then made the child something to eat and decided right there to start an organisation. House of Hope Community Development, is more than just about giving food, it’s about giving hope. Nowadays, drugs have taken over our communities, and children are heading up homes,” she said.

The couple run an annual House of Hope Day, which started in October last year and is a chance for children to just be children.

“We have lots of games and jumping castles,” said Mr Jones.

“We were also blessed with many donations, so we were able to hand out toiletry packs and clothes, and the children were also fed,” he said.

In December, Ms Jones asked her family and friends to consider helping a child in need with Christmas clothes, and she was overwhelmed with the response.

There is also an aftercare programme, where primary school children can do their homework, and the couple have plans for a music school, poetry sessions, public speaking instruction, a charity donating school uniforms and groceries to the needy, a skills programme for school drop-outs and a creche.

They are looking for community support to make these plans a reality, and need donations of musical instruments, clothing and food, among other things.

For details, email Mr Jones at
houseofhopecommdev3@gmail.com or call 073 618 3238 if you want to help.