Giving two children a lift home from church almost 20 years ago, opened Sue Davies to the plight of poverty in Mzamomhle, an informal settlement in Gonubie.
Davies, 70, a human resources practitioner at Mercedes-Benz South Africa at the time, continued to visit the children, explore the area and create relationships within the community.
It wasn’t long before she retired at the age of 58 to focus on developing the area, which continued to leave her with a heavy heart.
“We started Catch Projects, an NGO which caters for children and vulnerable women within the community of Mzamomhle.
“To date we have more than 500 children coming here as we want to protect them and keep them away from crime by keeping them busy with activities. We are building confident children with resilience.”
Davies said 60 women were being mentored to help other women in the community. Women are informed about their human rights with particular reference to violence against women and children, gender equality and HIV/Aids.
“Every Thursday, we distribute tea, coffee, milk, sugar, juice and biscuits to each of the women in the Masikhanye Mama’s programme. They go home and share the knowledge and skills they have learnt from us.”
Catch Projects operates on a farm between the Mzamomhle informal settlement and Gonubie, which was bought by Mercedes-Benz South Africa in support of the work done by their former employer.
The organisation is run by about 15 volunteers from the informal settlement while other volunteers come on scheduled days.
Children visit the centre after school daily where they are helped with their homework and involved in various programmes.
“Over the years we have grown a lot and established a variety of programmes to develop the community, ranging from reading, youth, boys and girls clubs among others.
“We have even established an award-winning soccer team which plays in the league, but due to financial constraints, we are struggling to get them around.”
Programme manager Thobela Sojola, 26, who started visiting the centre when it was established seven years ago, said it had educated and introduced him to a different world.
“Being here has opened my mind. It has challenged my thinking and helped me gain my independence.
“I now understand the importance of gender equality and know that women too have a voice and rights, something society and culture seemingly undermine, but as a man, I am very passionate about gender equality.”
Davies was nominated by Jenette Lloyd who applauds her for her tireless involvement in Mzamomhle.
“She is always giving so much of her time to the children and she tirelessly works to see their development – it is so humbling, what she is doing.