With the recent downpour in Cape Town dubbed #CapeStorm, disadvantaged communities remain vulnerable to the effects of harsh winter months. Local non-profit, Mustadafin Foundation has been committed for the past 31 years to serving and assisting communities affected by severe weather conditions. In partnership with the City’s Disaster Management Centre, the Foundation provides relief to those affected by floods and fires.

Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, says, “During the recent storm in the Western Cape, we assisted over 500 families in disadvantaged communities. This is in addition to the 15 000 people we feed daily in New Horizon, Valhalla Park, Delft, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha. The area that was hit the worst during the storm was Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, where people had to move to a safer space as their homes got destroyed during the harsh winds. With the assistance of the City we were able to provide communities with much needed clothing, blankets and cooked food.”

The Foundation also donated water to residents in Knysna following the devastating fires.

The non-profit started its first winter warmth distribution in St Helena Bay on Saturday, 20 May 2017 and will continue to assist communities in the coming months by providing blankets, warm meals, gloves, beanies, scarves and socks.

“Knowing that winter is the coldest season of the year and although it comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival, particularly the frail and vulnerable. Young and old should be cautious during the winter season by preparing for harsh weather conditions,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

Johnstone-Cassiem provides the following guidelines to keep warm and safe this winter:

1.     Keep the cold out

“Place a plastic bag between two socks to keep your feet warm and cover the windows with old newspaper and blankets to keep the winter draft out,” guides Johnstone-Cassiem.

2.     Beware of fire risk items

“Residents should be increasingly vigilant of frayed electrical wires on appliances, burning candles, paraffin heaters, matches, and fire places. These are all fire risks items, which have contributed to the recent fires that have devastated informal settlements in the Cape Peninsula. Make sure you extinguish fires before going to bed; never leave any fire unattended,” says Johnstone-Cassiem.

The Foundation’s winter warmth project is currently underway and Capetonians are encouraged to assist where possible. “Residents can assist by donating food, clothes, and blankets; items that will be much needed in disadvantaged communities during the harsh winter months,” concludes Johnstone-Cassiem.

To find out how you can assist and for more information on Mustadafin Foundation, call (021) 633 0010 or visit www.mustadafin.org.



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Nadia Nel

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