In celebration of Women's Day we paid tribute to a very special Blue Mooner, Kelly McGillivray. Her decision to start making a difference in the community of Soshanguve in July 2012 has seen Kelly completely transform the lives of a child-headed family.
Kelly's self-initiated upliftment project, "One Family at a Time" began with five young Soshanguve orphans who were forced into adulthood by circumstances beyond their control. 17-year-old twins, Nthabiseng and Nthabelang, head the household and look after their three siblings: 13-year-old Zodwa, eight-year-old Xolile and seven-year-old Xolani.
Kelly pledged to assist these children by getting them into a safe and warm environment, helping them with resources and enabling them to reach a place where they can sustain themselves. So, with the help of many generous Blue Mooners, some of our suppliers and many others who have given their time and donated money and goods, the lives of the children have been completely transformed. These are just some of the things that have happened for the family over the last year:
Monthly electricity payments
New bedrooms (two Wendy houses)
New beds and a bunk bed for the boys, a mattress, plus linen and blankets
A fridge and kitchen cupboards
New shoes every three months, plus clothing
School bags, books, stationery and toys.
Once Kelly started the ball rolling on this project she realised that these children are just few among many thousands of kids living in similar circumstances. Due to the increased rate of HIV infection, child-headed homes in SA are common - as in the case of the Soshanguve family. It's estimated that there are over 100 000 children living in these homes at present, and the number is growing every day.
Kelly's mission was to make One Family at a Time visible to people and organisations who wanted to assist, so she opened up communication channels via Facebook, Twitter and email and, with the help of colleagues, friends, family and even strangers (by word of mouth), the initiative took flight.
The great thing about this project is that (in true Blue Moon style) Kelly has documented it in detail and created a process model highlighting what works and what doesn't and what's needed with regards to people's time and resources.
Already, there is an enormous change in the Soshanguve children's lives with a small but growing network of kind and caring people making a difference where they can. Kelly went further than the initial set up for the children, and made her approach one of sustainability, where she has now enabled the children to run a small spaza shop, thus teaching them basic business skills and developing further life skills. Assisting the Soshanguve children is the pilot to Kelly's larger vision. Once this family is in a position to sustain itself, she will identify another family that needs assistance and start the process all over again.
It is appropriate that we recognise Kelly on this Women's Day, as Kelly is celebrating her tenth anniversary as a Blue Mooner this August. Kelly inspires us at Blue Moon, and we would like to say thank you and well done for her courageous and caring vision that has resulted in a tangible and sustainable programme of goodwill. We hope that with our support she continues to shine her light where it is most needed.
If you can help One Family at a Time project please email Kelly on: . As a collective we can help those who cannot help themselves.
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98 Oxford Road, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg
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