During December, a group of volunteer brothers and sisters from Australia got some funds together and built an additional room onto Bro. Ronald’s house. Bro. Ronald was baptised in September 2014 and it was wonderful to see the huge impact the volunteer building effort has had on him as his family.
Leading the team was Bro. Jonno and sister Clare Russel from Australia. Bro. Jonno writes the following regarding their wonderful experience.
“Nope it’s not a garage and to be honest if it was it would be a little tight for parking the car and finding room for the tools and a work bench. It’s actually a house. A house that belongs to our new friends Pumla, Ronald, Samantha, Oswand, Lukey, Silindile and Likho. That’s right, this five by seven meter house is home to a family of 7.
We met Ronald (now twenty) here in Tembisa, a black township in Johannesburg where he also volunteers with Community Outreach Program (COP) Trust. He is a really great guy and it has been a pleasure to work with him. He tells us that he volunteers because he hasn’t been able to find work and says that sitting at home is “just boring”. As someone mentioned to us a while back “He is the kind of guy that if you gave him the right tools he would change a community”. He lives with his siblings in their little house where they all survive on under 150 aussie dollars a month.
Life is pretty challenging for many in South Africa. After moving to Johannesburg from a rural area of South Africa to look for work this families only choice was to live in a squatter camp. This is basically a suburb of tin shed ‘shacks’ with no power, no sewer and no running water. While living in a squatter camp you can also place your family on a waiting list for government housing. That is exactly what these guys did. Only problem is the waiting time for government houses ranges from 10-12 years. During Ronald’s families wait their father died leaving them with no source of income. They survived on support from a few relatives and were eventually able to move into this small house. Ronald told us they were all so excited to finally have a house, even though it would take another three years before it had electricity.
Sadly not long after moving into the new house Ronald, his older sister Pumla, younger sister Samantha and younger brother Oswand all lost their mother as well. Pumla at a little over twenty years old was left to raise her two brothers and one sister (aged 14, 10 and 8) alone. She has been a great mother to her siblings and now has children of her own, Silindile and Likho, as does her sister Samantha who has little Lukey.
That’s why my wife and I were so excited when Hansen Yuncken offered to make a donation to help us build them an extension on their small house. Before we began Ronald and Oswand shared a bedroom the size of one double bed, Pumla and her two kids slept in the lounge room slightly smaller than the bedroom and Samantha slept with Lukey in the kitchen on the floor.
The new room means they all now have a place to sleep that they don’t have to pack up every morning. Genuinely elated about it, they are now saving up to buy mattresses. It has been such a good experience to help this one family and we loved working on the site with a few other Australian volunteers, all Ronald’s family and a few local kids giving us a hand every day we were there.
We would like to also give a special thank you to those HY staff who contributed personal donations which allowed us to repaint the existing house, fix the existing leaking roof and install a small storm water drain to stop rain water from running in their front door.
As well as our fantastic new friends at COP Trust we have met lots of other amazing people over here changing lives. From a lady who would clear a small area on the edge of a tip at night time to find room for her crèche full of children who are victims of AIDS. To another lady living in a tin shed who borrowed money from her family to buy her first real house only to use it for taking care of children. It has been inspirational to see what some people are capable of when they put others ahead of themselves. “
On behalf of the Kempton park Ignite2020 team
Bro. Ronald’s house before the extension.
Brothers working together
The 5-star team from Australia with Bro. Ronald
and some of the Tembisa Ecclesia Youth Group.