On Tuesday this week we met with Tsidi and the lovely (lively) group of gogos who gather to stitch up our blankets at the Chiawelo Community Centre in Soweto. Tsidi heads up Sisonke, an organisation that has gathered up to 50 elderly women in that area in order to ensure their wellbeing by providing them with support in the form of mutual goals, friendship support, health talks, weekly exercise classes and various other activities to keep them active and engaged.
Hundreds of thousands of gogos all over South Africa are caring for orphaned grandchildren, even great grandchildren, with very little hope of assistance from the State. Most of this older generation live in dire poverty and are a “forgotten” sector of the population until people like Tsidi come into their lives!!
Tsidi and Ronda at the Chiawelo Community Centre.
The purpose of our visit was twofold. Firstly, we wanted to thank the gogos for the incredible contribution they have made to KAS over the years by so ably creating blankets from many of the squares we receive from around the world. We decided that a sumptuous high tea would do the trick and it seemed to hit the right spot completely!!
Our tea time spread.
We also wanted to share with them the news that, going forward, we hope to be able to give them R10 for each completed blanket that is returned to Knit-a-Square via Wandi. In this very small way, we are able to help supplement their income and also hope they will be encouraged to continue helping us as they do.
It has always been a KAS dream to be able to sustain communities and empower people to make a difference in their own lives while helping others.
Wandi with a letter from KAS, Ronda and Tsidi talk to the gogos and a lovely certificate of thanks!
Knit-a-Square donated R500.00 yesterday in cash, to get the new gratuity system started… the resulting explosion of enthusiasm and gratitude was to be seen to be believed, as the gogos leapt to their feet to sing songs, dance the toyi-toyi, shout out prayers of blessing, make impromptu speeches and ululate for us in an explosion of noise and colour!
Tsidi will encourage them to pool the money they receive and use it wisely for the mutual benefit of Sisonke members.
A great time was had by all.....
Tea time is over ladies, let's make blankets!
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Great to hear news of our team-workers Ronda - they are the valuable & important link between us and the children. Without their willingness to stitch the squares together, nothing could happen. So pleased they will receive a small reward for each blanket, as it will provide a sense of well-being and appreciation.
wonderful news !!
That tea looked stupendous. I hope they feel the gratitude from all knitters and crocheters who send squares. Thank them for us! They are very special.
Wonderful to see the gogos who are supporting the work of KAS and to know they will receive a small recognition of their efforts. This amount will help the women more than [non-existent] government services.
How lovely to see the faces of the wonderful gogos who do all of the stitching to make the blankets. I'm thankful that they are helping KAS in this way and am happy that they will receive a stipend for their work. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the US and we have so much to be thankful for...this is one more reason I am thankful...for KAS and all of my friends worldwide!
Thanks to the Go-gos for stitching the blankets. I am really happy we can give them a bit for their work. Tsidi has a lovely kind face. She is doing a marvellous job.
How wonderful that they will get something for their efforts. They were obviously so happy with the announcement!
What a wonderful woman Tsidi must be to do what she has done for the Gogos, and what wonderful women the Gogos are for contributing their time and effort to helping KAS. Wherever would we be without them! So glad they were able to enjoy the spectacular looking high tea and be recognized. The idea of a small stipend for each blanket made is brilliant.
How grateful I am to the Go-Go's all over South Africa for their caring, giving hearts, and it's wonderful to think that perhaps my small monthly donation is going towards empowering them and supporting them in their vital work. What a super High Tea you all had and what a great day! I love seeing reports like this, it just encourages me no end!
What a truly uplifting report. These wonderful Go-gos do an amazing job.
I just looked up the exchange rate. 1 Rand = 11 cents (Aus). I don't have paypal so send money less often, must do it again.
I agree Bev. I looked up the exchange rate too. 1 Rand is 6p in the UK. It sounds such a small amount to us but it makes such a big difference to them. I remember when I was in Kenya in 2000, the stonemasons (skilled workers!) were earning 40p a day. And that was a good wage for the area and the time. We really are privileged in the Western world.
What a great report! I think every lady put on her best hat to come fully dressed to the Tea Party. Many thanks for their unstinting generosity in stitching blankets for so many years.