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Helping hand to South Africa continues

Dianne Boardman

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Lisa AshtonGlossopSouth AfricaWinnie Mabaso Foundation

It’s over a year ago now since we interviewed Lisa Ashton and reported on her fantastic efforts to help the community of Meriting and the vulnerable children in rural South Africa with the Winnie Mabaso Foundation.  We decided to catch up at her Glossop home as she prepared to make another trip to see how things had progressed since our last chat.   

“Our biggest achievement in 2017 was planting our 100th Veggie Garden.” Lisa told us.  “2017 saw more members of the community being trained to grow their own organic produce and planting their own gardens.  Along with relieving hunger our gardens are restoring dignity.  Some of the community is even growing enough veg now to sell or to swop with others for much needed essentials such as candles and paraffin.”

Sew Amazing

“The other exciting development is 'Sew Amazing' - our sewing school for 20 members of Meriting informal settlement.  10 ladies with limited knowledge of sewing have been partnered with 10 ladies who have no experience at all.  We have obtained funding for a sewing teacher for two days per week for a year.  Later this year we will begin selling the items they are learning to make.  Our school is empowering and equipping these extraordinary women with useful skills.”

I asked Lisa what she had planned for this current trip over to South Africa. 

“The purpose of this trip is to create a brand new homework room at the orphanage and in addition I am taking a film crew and we will be making several short films to document the work we are now doing.”

“2018 is a BIG year for us” she went on, “as it is the centenary year of Nelson Mandela's birth.  We are kick-starting our celebrations by having a huge mural of the man himself painted on our library container in Meriting.”  

The library was another wonderful addition to the school recently and they now have a pre-school set up for the youngest children and a Granny Club where more mature ladies gather to support each other whilst working on projects of their own.  Lisa went out at Christmas dressed as Father Christmas to surprise the children much to their delight and on another occasion 4,000 pairs of socks travelled the thousands of miles.  The children have had days out and a dressing-up party, schooling and healthcare, thanks to donations and sponsors. 

They are still looking for sponsors and donations for various projects including new veggie gardens (which cost £25 each to set up).  You could ensure a Granny gets spoilt for £5 a month or educate a child for £20 and receive updates on their progress. 

Lisa’s Winnie Mabaso Foundation has a very active Facebook Page and a website:www.winniemabaso.org for more information.