A Surrey Estate family will soon be able to live in their home without fearing that the walls will collapse on them, thanks to a generous donor.
The lives of Gabeba Hattas, a single mother, and her three children, aged of 11, 14 and 17, changed drastically after a fire destroyed their home four years ago.
Ms Hattas is unemployed and could not afford to fix the house.
For a year after the fire, she and her children were able to live in two of the rooms, as the other part of the house was left without a roof.
The community assisted where they could, but there are still many gaps between the roof and the wall, and the house has no ceilings.
Ms Hattas said she and her family lived in fear every time a strong wind blew. Some interior walls are skew and with one wall, half of the bricks are gone. The walls are also still blackened from the fire, and the house has no electricity.
“I have lived in this house since the age of 5. My father built this house with his own hands. The fire destroyed the house completely four years ago, and since then it has been a challenge. When a storm hit in June 2017, there were leaks all over. I used every bucket, pot and pan I had in the house, and mopped out the rain.”
Ms Hattas said over the years, some people used her name to collect donations, but most of these did not reach her. She would hear from people about it, and not know anything.
Help came in the form of a neighbour who moved to the area recently.
Amirah Mohammed said she got to know Ms Hattas, by greeting whenever she walked past her house. She was informed of the circumstances Ms Hattas and her family have to live under.
“I had an idea to appeal to people to donate R20 towards a brick to rebuild Gabeba’s house. I can help by offering bread or providing a meal, but my help is limited. Gabeba is also unfortunately not in a position to work for an employer. I did not want to create false hope, so did not discuss it with her initially. So I shared my idea on my chat groups. When I approached Gabeba, she cried, because so many people have conned her by using her name for fundraisers. For this reason, I asked her to open a bank account, so that all the money people donate, goes directly into her bank account.”
Ms Mohammed said she was shocked to see the condition of the house.
“No human being can stay like this,” she said.
However, much to Ms Mohammed’s surprise, a donor offered to rebuild the house.
“The donor wants to remain anonymous and is based in Johannesburg. The donor already sent a project manager to assess the house. The donations Gabeba received after my appeal, amounted to R12 900, and this money will be used to buy a wendy house for the family. They will have to live in the wendy house for two months, while the house will be thrown down and rebuilt. The donor will even furnish the house,” Ms Mohammed said.
Ms Hattas expressed her gratitude not only to the anonymous donor, but thanked all those people who assisted her and her family over the years.
On Thursday November 7, Ms Hattas and her children will move into the wendy house, so that construction can begin.