The fact that we live in South Africa, in a warmer climate with relatively mild winters, doesn’t mean that we are all comfortable during those long, cold nights. Some areas of our country are known for it’s below freezing temperatures at night. So remember next time while you are sitting in front of the television with a steaming cup of tea, that somewhere close by a baby may be lying on a cold, cement floor, too cold to even cry.
You think I’m exaggerating?
When was the last time that you drove through a township in the middle of winter? Did you notice that many of the residents actually live in shacks? Said shacks often made of flattened cardboard boxes and plastic. Did you see the barefoot children, shivering their way to school? Did you bother to stop and watch the gathering of elderly men around the small fire they made in the metal drum? I guess you didn’t. But no worries, you can just go to your local park. I’m sure you’ll see enough homeless people, huddling together behind a wall, trying to keep warm. Or perhaps you needn’t even leave your home. Just look through the window. How sure are you that your neighbor across the street can afford heating? How sure are you that he or she has something to eat?
Did you know that during 2014 South Australia’s rate of hypothermia related deaths exceeded that of Sweden? “Most of the deaths from hypothermia in South Australia involved elderly women indoors who were living alone, often with multiple underlying illnesses and limited contact with the outside world. Many of them had been dead for at least a day before they were discovered,’ Professor Byard says. [University of Adelaide: 2014]
This, people, is an unfortunate reality.
Have a look at the symptoms of hypothermia above. Would you want any of your loved ones suffer these? Would you risk them dying because you did nothing to help? Remember, whether a freezing child in a township or an elderly person in town, living in a house, we have a responsibility.
You may think that donating one blanket and a packet of soup will not change anything. You are wrong. Your donation may mean the difference between life and death for someone.
Please consider supporting our Winter Warmer Project and donate used or new blankets, warm clothes and soup.
Complete the contact form below if you wish to donate or want more information.
- Donations can be dropped off at our offices in Pretoria or you can e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements for collection.
THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE. 2014. Higher rate of hypothermia deaths in SA than in Sweden. [Web:] UA [Date of Access:] June 20, 2017.