Couple's foundation helps uplift their Mzamomhle community
Mavuyevelile and Amandla Solani have made it their mission to uplift their community. They started the Why Am I here Foundation after two children died after eating food from a dump site. .
The Walter Sisulu municipality ward councillor and his wife have dedicated their spare time and money to establish skill development programmes, feeding schemes, clothing banks and more for their Mzamomhle community in Burgersdorp over the last four years.
“We started the foundation after the death of two children who used to ask for food at our house. We were away on holiday and these kids decided to go look for something to eat at a dump site. They ate food from the dump site and later died in hospital of food poisoning,” said Mavuyevelile.
He said the incident drove the couple to do research into their community and to find ways of addressing the various issues it faced.
“The community faces high levels of extreme poverty, crime and school dropout rates as well as low levels of youth economic participation, so we decided to establish various programmes to address these social ills within the Mzamomhle community.”
Through the foundation, the couple now feed more than 70 people on a daily basis, and provide regular food parcels to those in need.
Amandla said: “Most people in the community live in absolute poverty. Some are beneficiaries of social grants, some work in the Expanded Works Programme but the income they receive is not enough to get a nutritious meal every day.”
The foundation runs a uniform collection and distribution drive, youth camps, after school homework programmes and adult literacy programmes, in an effort to assist their community.
Mpumelelo Mfundisi Primary School principal Eric Bebeza said the Solani couple and their foundation had made a big difference to the lives of the children at his school.
“Our school is considered a 'disadvantaged school' in the sense that the feeder area has a very poor background. Many of the children at our school lack basic necessities and it makes learning very difficult,” said Bebeza.
“Mr Solani and his foundation have helped us very much. They have donated shoes and socks for our learners in need. They also offered to continue with assisting us where possible.”
Mavuyevelile said that the foundation was wholly dependent on private funding by him and his wife, but hoped to see more financial support for the foundation in the future.
“Currently the foundation is dependent on us for funding. We received some food donations and other items in the past, but they were one-off donations,” said Mavuyevelile.
And while it may be tough at times, Mavuyevelile said it was all worth it.
“Knowing that we have been able to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in the community we live in, is what keeps us going.
“Having children who previously did not have a school uniform, finally wear their uniform and knowing that there are people who have received a meal for that day who would have otherwise gone for the whole day without food, brings joy to our hearts,” Mavuyevelile said.