Breadline Africa: An African charity with heart

We hear about two remarkable women who have been helped by Breadline Africa

Large group of African childrenBreadline Africa is a registered charity whose aim is to connect people who are struggling to achieve the most basic living conditions with others who are more fortunate and in a position to make a difference, focusing on children and young people in southern Africa.

It’s about offering a helping hand to ground level charities and the people who are dedicating their lives to trying to help the communities around them to realise their full potential and become self-sustainable.

We specialise in renovating old shipping containers to fulfil a variety of special needs. These include soup kitchens, workshops, libraries, classrooms, ablution blocks and clinics. We won the South African Achievers Award in the category of Community Organisation for “outstanding commitment to serving the South African People” in London in April 2013.

Below are the stories of two wonderful women who we have been privileged enough to work with, supporting the initiatives that they set up in their own communities.

Please visit our website for more information.

Amalia Forbes

Amalia Forbes, 56, lives with her husband and four sons about 160km north of Cape Town in a small town called Saron. She gave up her own business after she got a vision from God to start working in the community.

In 2007 Amalia started her soup kitchen, which she runs from her home. She says that in the beginning it was very difficult because she had to buy everything herself and her family was neglected in the process.

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She started off helping a few people, but the number increased rapidly. Apart from giving food to the underprivileged, Amalia and her husband also help members of the community with issues like applying for an identity document so they can qualify for a social grant, visiting the sick at home and making sure they are properly fed, transporting sick people to the local clinic and counselling drug addicts. They also make sure that people who get their medication from the local clinic are properly fed before taking their pills.

Amalia depends on donations from various businesses, especially shops, to help her feed the needy. She also qualifies for a grant from the government for her feeding programme and receives contributions from Breadline Africa.

Amalia faces many challenges in her efforts to provide a meal and sometimes clothes and money for those who need it. Most people work on the farms surrounding the town. During the winter period, however, work is scarce and this is the time that Amalia finds it very difficult to cope with the demand for food and clothes.

Amalia says that after all these years of helping others, she still feels that she was called upon by God to do so, and that is why it gives her such great pleasure to help those in need.

“Just to see the appreciation on these people’s faces makes it so worth all the effort we put into it. And what better compensation can you get than a thankful heart?” says this remarkable woman.

Everyhelda Louw

Everyhelda Louw is a single mum who lives in the historic town of Tulbagh. She is very humble and has a heart of gold.

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Everyhelda’s association with Breadline Africa came about after she was interviewed by a correspondent for a national newspaper who was covering a story about one of Everyhelda’s friends who had died in an accident.

She was heartbroken at the time, even more so because the friend who had died used to help her with her charity work.

The journalist soon took notice of the good work that Everyhelda was doing in her community and decided to contact Edna Titus of Breadline Africa in Cape Town to see whether they would be able to support her in what she was doing.

Even though Everyhelda is trying to make ends meet herself, she never lets her circumstances stand in the way of helping those who have even less than herself. This woman walks from door to door to ask for donations of any kind so she can provide a hot meal to those who are suffering the most.

The majority of people in her community are seasonal workers, and many people are unemployed. The cold winter months are especially challenging as this is the time of year when most people are out of work, and Everyhelda has to make special efforts to provide people with food and clothes.

A few years ago the government decided to help fund people who give food to the underprivileged in their community. When the money provided for the soup kitchens was allocated, Everyhelda was one of those who did not benefit from the government grant.

Many of those who did benefit were people who started their soup kitchens only when they heard that the goverment was going to donate money. Everyhelda’s Soup Kitchen had been in existance for about four years at the time, but suddenly soup kitchens popped up like mushrooms, and a few were even started in the same street where Everyhelda lived. Almost all of those people who got money to run their soup kitchens did not spend the money properly or for the cause it was received.

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Today, Everyhelda runs the only remaining soup kitchen in her community – proof of her good intentions and how she is serving her community.

When asked how she is able to provide for the poor under such difficult circumstances she will always say: “My faith is in God who has provided this far. It is only because of Him that I am able to do what I do and open the hearts of others to help me provide for those who have absolutely nothing at all.”