Women honoured

Christine Revell staff members are, from left, director Alicia Rhoda, social worker Arlene Esau, Anneline Scholtz, Charmaine Pretorius, Rewena Hendricks, Bomkasi Zonke, Elsabe Rudolph, Lea Willemse and Rayleen Gertse.

Women who play a significant role in the lives of the children at the Christine Revell Children’s Home in Athlone, were honoured on Women’s Day (Tuesday August 9).

The breakfast event, held at the Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town, was to pay tribute to all current and former staff members, volunteers, and host parents. As a non-profit organisation, there is not always resources available to show gratitude, but thanks to the hotel, which “adopted” the children’s home a few years ago, the venue and breakfast were sponsored. Staff members also worked tirelessly to organise the event, and secure prizes for the lucky draws and content for the goody bags.

Singer and author Chrystal Swanson, who shared her life story, said the day was also about “celebrating the love you have for the children”.

Guest speaker, Claudine Cornelius, had many in tears when she spoke about the pain women sometimes carry, but do not show or share. She said all women sometimes do things for others, or even in their own homes, without receiving any appreciation.

The Christine Revell Children’s Home is home to 55 abused, neglected and orphaned children, and according to the director, Alicia Rhoda, so many women do significant work with the children – whether they are host parents during weekends or school holidays, or make time to come and play with the children at the centre.

“There are so many we would like to honour, but every year we can only invite 80 women, and it’s always so difficult to choose who we can invite. This is our way of saying thank you,” she said.

Addressing the audience, Ms Rhoda added: “Everyone in this room plays a major role in the children’s lives. It is lovely to share this day with so many strong women.”

Margiret Thomson, affectionately known as aunty Margie, has been a volunteer at Christine Revell for close to two years now.

Said Ms Thomson: “For me, it is a privilege that I can be a volunteer. My husband, Donald, and I are also host parents. God has really given me a heart for babies. Some of them are rejected because their mothers are drug addicts, and because of this, their foundations are shattered. I believe God opened that door for me to love them and pray for them, so that God can restore their foundations. I children are a part of our lives and I feel so enriched that we can have them in our lives. I visit every Tuesday, and sometimes over weekends. I get so excited that I even count down the days until I see them again.”

Ms Thomson, sisters Murial La Grange and Daphne van der Horn, as well as the Church in Westridge, were among the volunteers honoured for their commitment.

Heart 104.9FM presenter Meghan Hector was the event MC.