Local Heroes 2022: NPO founder devotes life to helping community
For Bulelani Fowl, it only took a pair of shoes and ragged trousers to kick-start his life into one of community service, leaving his job to assist his community permanently.
As one of the Daily Dispatch Johnson & Johnson Local Hero winners for 2022, Fowl has been hard at work fixing whatever he can for the residents in Mdantsane.
“In 2011 I saw children walking on the road who didn’t have any shoes or proper uniforms, so I started buying clothes, ” Fowl, 39, from Mdantsane, said.
What started as a simple uniform drive has now grown into the Real View Foundation, founded in 2017, and a soup kitchen, house and school renovations, food parcels, clothing drives, wheelchair donations and skills development programmes.
“I know I’m not a jack of all trades but I want to help where I can. If I told you of all we do, I could speak for an hour. I’ve seen so many things happening around the world and I want to help all over Africa.
“This was a calling to me. A spiritual message assigned to me to do this. The thing that motivates me is the people of this community. They are staying I’m their hope that motivates me as well as God— God is the one each and every day, whatever God is telling you to do, follow your heart.”
The Real View Foundation NPO operates from a shipping container and a large shed built from donated materials in NU3, Mdantsane.
I got a container which we use as a shelter to accommodate people when we have a soup kitchen. The soup kitchen in NU3 in Mdantsane feeds 380 children and 45 old people with rice, bread, soup or samp.
“I got a container which we use as a shelter to accommodate people when we have a soup kitchen. The soup kitchen in NU3 in Mdantsane feeds 380 children and 45 old people with rice, bread, soup or samp.
“I also go out to visit the families of those who are not working or stay far away, and we drop off donations of food parcels.”
Though still unemployed, Fowl said focusing on the NPO full-time had helped bring on more sponsors for projects, like Spar and Build It.
“We receive groceries on a weekly basis from our local supermarket Highway SuperSpar Build It donated funds and labour to build the organisation’s structure in 2018. I get helped by four elderly women who cook daily without compensation.”
Fowl said the foundation was busy every day with different tasks, including renovating local primary schools or transforming homes damaged by fire.
“We paint and clean houses and leave the occupants with food parcels. Since last year we have helped build four houses and three schools so far.”
Skills development includes woodworking skills, with unemployed youth taught how to construct Wendy houses, chairs and tables.
“The woodwork would assist us in raising funds, but we are still in need of sponsorships to sustain the foundation to improve the livelihoods of those who are in need.”
Since 2016, the foundation has donated 200 wheelchairs to the Nontyatyambo Community Clinic in Mdantsane.
“Seeing my community members having nothing to do on a daily basis, ending up abusing alcohol and drugs or doing unnecessary things, is what made me decide to start the organisation.”
A beneficiary of the NPO, Tara Time, from Mdantsane, said her family relied on the monthly food parcels.
“I’m really thankful for the help we receive. I rely on a grant to feed my family and it doesn’t go far. This really helps my family as times are tough,” Time said.
Avela Matinise said he had nominated Fowl because of his unfailing commitment to helping his community.
“He goes out and communicates with employers to ask them to give community members jobs through learnership programmes,” Matanise said.
“He also helps people who have lost their homes to fire.
“Through his sponsors he gave food parcels to the less privileged and on Mandela Day he and his team cleaned and painted houses for the ill and less fortunate.
“He visits schools to check on students who are in need of shoes and uniforms.”
Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.