Sappi assists vulnerable children for Mandela Day

Frieda Paton


The Drop-in Centre, where around sixty vulnerable children and orphans from Pilgrim’s Rest are cared for after school and during holidays, received a generous donation from Sappi in response to an article published in GPS News recently. The Drop-in Centre is on the exit road from Schoonplaas, the residential area adjacent to Pilgrim’s Rest.


“We saw the appeal in GPS News and decided to focus this year’s community outreach for Mandela Day on the Drop-in Centre,” said Bernardus Meyer, Plantation Manager for the Sappi Graskop District. “However, Mandela Day came early because of the greater need for food at the centre during the school holidays, when the children aren’t fed at school.”


On June 13, Sappi donated enough food to feed the children for the remainder of the school holidays, as well as two large pots, new plates, and cups. There was also a donation of clothing from Ngodwana that still had to be collected and delivered to the centre.


“I am very grateful for the article in GPS News. It helped so much that the children now have good food to eat,” said Ilina Maabane, who manages the centre on a voluntary basis. Maabane completed a certificate in home based care and completed a short course in Psychosocial Orphan and Vulnerable Child Care, after which she opened the Drop-In Centre.  “Through what I do and teach, I am hoping to prevent the children from begging in the village, thieving and getting involved in gangs, alcohol, and drugs. Social services also assist the children where possible.”


The Drop-in Centre does not receive any subsidy and relies on donations. If you would like to contribute you can call Ilina Maabane on 060 885 6778.



From left to right – Bernardus Meyer and Ilina Maabane, with the children having lunch at the Drop-in Centre


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