In the lead up to 18 July and our annual Nelson Mandela International Day, we will all be thinking about doing our 67 minutes of good this Tuesday. While it is good to have an annual reminder that even small actions can lead to big change, someone who puts her money where her mouth is, is PE’s Tara Laing.
On Thursday, 13 July 2017, Tara posted on Facebook, appealing for donations for “bedding, food, anything a 7 year old and under could utilise” for a forthcoming visit to Zanethemba Charity Foundation on 19 July.
What is Zanethemba?
Zanethemba (meaning ‘to bring hope’ in isiXhosa) is a children’s haven which has been serving at risk children and youth in the underserved areas of Port Elizabeth since 2008. Children are usually removed from their families and placed with Zanethemba with a court order. The Charity offers temporary safe care for vulnerable children catering from new borns to 6 year olds, providing therapeutic services, education, nutrition, access to medical assistance and most importantly, love, until such time as the children can be placed in a new home.
Tara explains, “My very good friend Traci Vink is an avid fund raiser for a number of different charities – mainly in and around PE, but also for others. She is an absolute godsend, but sometimes takes on a little too much. I jumped on board with her a few months ago for the Animal Anti Cruelty League (AACL), doing a pledge and challenging my friends on Facebook to match or better my donation. The response was amazing. I had donations from Greg Bortz, Braam van Huyssteen and Choice Carriers to name just a few and collected nearly R30k. That’s a lot of money! The amount of dogs they’ve been able to sterilise with that, you have no idea. I never asked – I just said that I was pledging and challenged other people to match or better me. I was so humbled.”
“I’m quite new to the non-animal organisations, but animals and children are my passion and I have been wanting to get involved with Zanethemba for a while. Traci has a therapy dog named Riley that she takes down there and the kids adore him. When she goes in there with her dog, their eyes light up like Christmas trees. When you see things like that, you know you’re putting back into society what someone else is not doing,” she says reflectively. “Traci normally goes on a Thursday, which is the day before racing, which is not a good day for me, but when I said I wanted to get involved, Traci changed her day so we’re going on Wednesday.”
“Horses are my life,” she continues. “If it wasn’t for horses, I wouldn’t have the job I have today, but I’m fortunate enough to be in a financial situation where I can now help different organisations. In our industry we tend to always focus on animals, but there are children in need as well. The other day they brought in a newborn that had been abandoned. She was just 3 days old. What chance does she have in life? The kids didn’t ask to be in that situation and if I’m in a situation where I can help, then come hell or high water, I will.” To prepare for her visit, Tara is pledging to donate much needed supplies to Zanethemba and is again challenging friends to match or better her.
What is needed
Tara is appealing for “sundries…whether it be toys, blankets, clothes, bedding, food, anything a 7 year old and under could utilise”, but it’s going to be pretty hard to match her because she’s already been shopping up a storm and has a veritable mountain of goodies to take along with her this week.
“If can raise R30k for needy animals, I’m damn sure I can get higher for children who need help,” she says determinedly. “Every cent counts. Whether it’s a facecloth, toothbrush, nappies, formula or a toy, every little helps give these kids some kind of foundation and gives their caregivers the means to give them the best start in life. Ten years ago I wasn’t in a situation where I could help, but now that I’m on my feet and training myself, I’ll help where I can. Even if it’s just a bag of sweeties that costs R2.50. Everything helps at the end of the day. These kids didn’t ask to be in that situation and this foundation exists to try and help get them going in life. The other day, we had a whole lot of suitcases donated which was brilliant. When these kids leave to go to foster care, they end up leaving the shelter with their possessions in a black plastic bag. What a difference a suitcase makes just to help them feel more human.”
Zanethemba is a registered Section 18a, Registration Number 061-457, so all financial donations are tax deductible. Should you wish to make any financial contributions to the project, they can be made into the following bank account:
Zanethemba Charity Foundation
Standard Bank (Swift Code SBZA ZA JJ)
Port Elizabeth Branch (050-017)
Cheque Account 080 417 337
Should you require a tax receipt, please email Zanethemba your personal details after making your deposit.
Tara will be visiting Zanethemba on Wednesday this week and any pledges or donations can be made via her Facebook page or directly to Zanethemba via their website, Facebook page or at the details listed above.
South Africa’s beloved Madiba said “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”