A partnership between two organisations, not only ensured that children were fed a nutritious meal on Friday September 11, but that they also partake in an art therapy workshop.
The Jill Fernandez Foundation, an organisation founded by Kurt Fernandez and his wife Rochelle, started a feeding scheme at the beginning of lockdown. The pair was introduced to Michelle Karevaar by Ward 50 councillor, Angus McKenzie.
Ms Karevaar is a marketing strategist who founded Changemakers Hub, an online platform that highlights the work of charitable organisations and links them with people who would like to help.
On Friday, about 50 children who regularly receive their meals from the foundation in Bluegum Road, had an opportunity to paint, draw or colour a picture with a positive message – thanks to Changemakers Hub.
Mr Fernandez said his organisation wants to be much more than just a feeding project, hence it welcomes initiatives like an art workshop.
“We want to establish a safe haven – especially for women and children in abusive situations. We already have social workers on board. My late sister, Jill, never had that opportunity. We learnt about her abuse when it was too late to save her. Part of our plan is also to establish a skills centre, and a place where children can come to for assistance with numeracy and literacy,” Mr Fernandez said.
Ms Karevaar said she started Changemakers Hub as she felt that no stories were being told about “ordinary people doing great work”.
“I work with people on the ground and give them a voice, but we are also focused on partnerships – bringing people together to make an impact. All donations we receive go out to the beneficiaries and we rely on volunteers. We also not only assist with food; it’s about love and light. I was in an abusive relationship and empathise with tough times. We need skills and tools to cope when we are faced with tough times, and today’s activity was all about positivity. We are trying to plant a seed to tell them they are their biggest heroes – so when things are tough, that bad words do not overtake our lives. We can choose to be positive,” Ms Karevaar said.
Ms Karevaar was accompanied by Justine Schäfer, whom she describes as her accountability partner, and who made the donations for the workshop available.
Mr Fernandez said his organisation is supported by a phenomenal team of volunteers, – which include family, friends and neighbours. They feed up to 400 people daily with porridge, and do a cooked meal as well every Wednesday.
“Whatever donations we get, we serve the community with it. We have no words to express our gratitude to all those who support and assist us. However, we do need more donations to sustain our project,” Mr Fernandez said.
If you are able to assist, contact Mr Fernandez at 078 850 9009 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ms Fernandez at 076 0530 359.