Before embarking on their two-week aid trip to South Africa in 2018, former Jenner* Contracts Manager Mark Smith and his wife Louise raised funds to support their mission, totalling an impressive, £9,000. A huge part of this sponsorship (over £7k) was raised by Jenner, mainly through their 3 Peaks Challenge, which was facilitated by Donations With A Difference. Without this money the trip, which quite simply ‘changed lives’, could not have taken place. Colleagues and friends also donated six large suitcases full of clothing and other much needed items to take out with them.
Mark and Louise worked on two separate projects, both based in Orange Farm, 60 miles from Johannesburg. Louise and her team worked in the Kaya Centre - a community centre based within a settlement camp that provides essential child and medical care, a crisis centre for victims of sexual abuse, and feeds over 1,000 people each day. During their time at the centre the team transformed a shipping container into a library and another building into a classroom, giving the children a bright, happy and safe place to visit and learn. They also went into the community and painted the homes of the elderly and vulnerable, which encouraged a sense of pride and inclusion.
Mark, along with volunteers from the charity and the local community, worked on a project to build a church community centre. Mark became the project manager, arranging the team’s working day, ordering materials, and liaising with the architect. The build was a massive challenge as Mark arrived at the foundation stage of the build which is now complete and in use. It’s become a real hub of the community and holds a feeding station which feeds over 400 people (with numbers growing).
As part of the amazing donation from Jenner, Louise and Mark were able to aid the build of 10 new dwellings for families that live in a settlement camp based in Meriting, South of Johannesburg. The work was carried out by The Winnie Mabasa Foundation at the end of 2018, meaning the families had new homes in time for Christmas - a truly life changing gift.
Louise said; “What stands out in these communities is people’s strong beliefs and their courage when they literally have nothing. A relatively small amount of our time makes such a difference and that is very humbling. Small things make a huge impact, that we often take for granted. It very hard to explain the impact the charity has on these people’s lives, they really do make a positive difference and lasting impact. We are only able to do this with the support we get from companies like Jenner.”
*Jenner Group is a regional chartered building company based in Folkestone Kent and working throughout Kent and Sussex.