Image via www.jeffrandleman.com
#Charity #SouthAfrica #Purpose2Serve
I’ve been writing updates on this blog for a long time and whether you follow or not, you may have wondered what the Ilze Halliday Foundation is about. Why was it founded?
Well, the story begins back in 2011 when I got involved with the Santa Shoebox Project. I was only a volunteer back then, but the idea of this one box making a difference in the life of a child captured my imagination.
The next year I was approached by their coordinator in Pretoria, who wanted me to become a team member. I jumped at the chance and was soon more involved than I thought I could cope with. My first task was to visit the facilities allocated to me, to screen them, take pictures, etc. The screening process is part of the organization’s way of getting to know its beneficiaries. It is a brilliant way of connecting with them, as you get to meet their managers, the children and get to view the facility grounds and the community it serves.
My first visit was to Ikaneng Daycare and Drop-in Centre in Soshanguve, North of Pretoria. I met their manager. Back then it was Itumeleng Masia (Itu sadly passed away a few years ago). While chatting with him, it dawned on me that this one box a year may help a little, but their need is so overwhelming that it barely scratches the surface. In a way Itu inspired me to start my own project, my own organization. You see, there is SO much more that one can do to help these people.
As I worked my way down the list of facilities for screening, it only became clearer to me that there is more to be done. I noticed a communication gap between the facilities and projects and orgs, like Santa Shoebox, that can help them in some way. They also have no way to source donations from the public. I decided to do something about that.
Most of the facilities (daycares, drop-in/after school care, places of safety, orphanages, etc) have no internet connection and therefore no ‘open’ line to communicate their needs to the public and business sector. They have no funds to launch marketing campaigns either. Their needs are mostly fulfilled by word of mouth and while some are lucky in receiving contributions from big businesses and international organizations, many are still struggling to get by on the minimum fees the parents pay each month to keep their children in the facility. That is, if they pay at all.
The answer, for me, was obvious, I wanted to give them much needed exposure by sharing news about them, requesting donations on their behalf and listing them on my website. In addition I wanted to help them get in touch with the ‘right’ people, meaning other projects and organizations that can benefit them like 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, The Sweethearts Foundation, Dignity Dreams, JYB NonProfit, Breadline Africa and many more.
The Ilze Halliday Foundation was founded in November 2012. Named after a child we lost 30 years ago, it was my way of ensuring that her memory stays alive, especially since I suspect she would have grown up to be a generous, kind and compassionate human being. I immediately started to gather information about facilities in and around Pretoria. By the middle of 2013 I had 14 facilities, by the end of that year it had grown to 25. Although I contacted many of them from my side, most of them got in touch with me, as the word was spreading about what I plan to do.
Today I list 96 facilities across South Africa, one in Masaka, Uganda and am officially involved with 4 organizations that help to support them. Two years ago I was contacted by Timothy Matovu from Macfo Uganda in Kampala. We’ve been communicating ever since and I have helped him with some of his projects. The distance makes it difficult, though, since postal fees are exorbitant, but I help him with advice and managing some crowdfunding. Last year, for instance, we did the ‘Hope in a Box’-project, which is similar to the Santa Shoebox Project. Timothy packed nearly 80 boxes, filling them with donated items and they had a lovely Christmas party. My contribution? I set up a crowdfunding campaign on his behalf, made a marketing video and gave tips on how to manage the project.
The Ilze Halliday Foundation is not yet a registered NPO, but all the places I list and support are, so people can freely donate, knowing that, should they require a tax certificate, it can be provided.
I hope to expand to retirement homes, homeless shelters and shelters for abused women and children soon. I just wish I had more time! (And more hands, of course.)
At the moment a priority is to finally finish the website. Hopefully it will be done within the next few months, but in the meantime I’ve shut down the site completely. I will definitely let you know when it is up and running.
As you can imagine, the work never ends. Like the communities’ needs, it is forever growing. You may have noticed that, in many posts, I mention ‘we’ when referring to the organization. Basically there is no ‘we’, there is just me and a handful of helpers. These helpers usually get involved when I have do to a site visit and sometimes they help me spread the word about projects I am running, like the ‘winter warmer project’. It is rather difficult to get all the work done, especially since I have to keep a presence on social media on behalf of my projects, organizations and facilities, request, collect and deliver donations and do project administration in between.
The foundation receives no funds, unless it is to support the projects and orgs I’m involved with. For instance: I recently purchased Dignity Dreams sanitary packs on behalf of the ladies at Zambesi Retirement Village. The packs were distributed to teenaged girls in Soshanguve and the donors were informed where their funds were spent.
And then there is the question of official registration. I will get there eventually, I hope. But in the meantime my job is to serve the communities, without prejudice, with compassion, kindness and love. If there is one thing I am certain of, I will never change my mind about helping these people and will devote my life to serving others.
My mission? To bring hope to the thousands of people in South Africa who feel lost and desperate. They need to know that their is someone who cares, someone who will stand up for them, a champion of sorts.
If you want to contribute to the foundation, please complete the contact form below and I’ll be in touch: