Absa Foundation donates R350k to the Gift of the Givers Foundation

03 November 2017

Absa has stepped in to provide R350 000 towards relief efforts for the residents of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. The settlement was ravaged by a fierce blaze, the worst ever to occur, which ripped through the settlement displacing over 15 000 people and destroying 3 500 structures.

Whilst the support of the Hout Bay community and from citizens in surrounding areas has been overwhelming, the community relies on contributions from corporates to fund the provision of supplies and infrastructure that is needed in Imizamo Yethu.

“We are shocked at the devastation that this fire has wreaked in the community,” says Doug Walker, Managing Executive Absa Western Cape, “and are delighted to be able to go some way towards alleviating the dire circumstances that the Imizamo Yethu community are experiencing.”

“Absa’s strategic focus, Shared Growth, is centred on supporting the specific pillars of education and skills, enterprise development and greater access to appropriate financial services, however, being corporate citizens we respond proactively and quickly to natural disasters and to address to the plight of these people. The Imizamo Yethu is one such case where we wouldn’t sit by when there’s a disaster of this magnitude and, being part of the community, have responded.”

“Urgent funds are needed to ensure that the basic needs of the community, such as food, clothing and shelter are required right now with basic support ongoing once they are able to move back into their homes.

Gift of the Givers, the largest disaster response NGO of African origin on the African continent, was one of the early responders to the fire in Hout Bay arriving on Saturday morning, 11 March 2017 and their work is ongoing. The immediate provision of water was the first emergency intervention as all possible sources of water had dried out in fighting the fires. This was followed by the distribution of blankets and food items.

They have organised drop off points and directed volunteer efforts in distributing the thousands of items of clothing, blankets, linen, perishable and non-perishable food items, household and other sundry items that we received. Gift of the Givers teams assisted in sorting the items, providing logistics and transporting 20 truckloads of supplies to the affected areas.

Gift of the Givers, in consultation with Absa, have agreed that all funds will be used towards the upliftment of the community of Imizamo Yethu for both immediate relief needs as well as the ongoing sustainability of the community. Relief efforts will ensure that residents continue to receive food parcels and hygiene packs consisting of soap, shampoo, antiseptics, soap powder, feminine toiletries and adult and baby diapers). The funds will be deployed as needs are specifically identified during the rehabilitation process of the community. For example, the community has a school and some of the funds will be used towards the purchasing of desks and stationery for the children.

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