National Women’s Day, which is marked today, Wednesday August 9, commemorates the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, in protest of the apartheid regime’s pass laws.
But it also gives us the opportunity to celebrate the women who are making a difference in their communities.
One such woman is Nuraan Kalam, who offers her Silvertown home as a safe haven for adults and children who live on the street and are need of help.
Ms Kalam runs The Green Doors For Child Protection Programme, which she started in December 2014, from her house in Petunia Street, using a spare room to accommodate those in need of shelter.
While they are there, she said, she contacts a family member to collect the person from her house – where they usually stay for a day or two – but unfortunately many of them end up on the street again.
Many of them, she said, are addicts or victims of domestic violence.
“It’s sad to see children growing up on the streets, and very sad to see what is happening to families because of drugs. Families are broken up because the children are taken away but at the same time they have a better life now,” she said.
Apart from the safe house programme, the 58-year-old Ms Kalam also runs a feeding scheme every Saturday, from 2pm to 5pm, made possible by donations from the community.
Apart from being fed, the children also have the opportunity to play games together and on a Wednesday, it’s the seniors’ turn, as 12 to 14 of them get together to knit and sew as well as make arts and crafts which they sell to make some extra money.
“I like working with people,” said Ms Kalam. “In this way we can do something for adults and children. It’s not about what you get; it’s the way they make you feel. You just need to have a lot of patience with them especially in our area,” she said.
Ms Kalam said the only problem was that people in the area didn’t stand together to help the elderly as they were being targeted by criminals who robbed them or broke into their homes.
“People need to offer their services to the old people. They need to stand together to combat crime and see what we can do as a community,” she said.
For more information contact Nuraan Kalam on 079 368 4292.