Nineteen homes at the 7de Laan informal settlement in Strandfontein were made safer and brighter when they were painted with fire resistant paint on Thursday March 10.
On entering 7de Laan, you will notice a few new developments such as the Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre which is also used as a community centre, followed by a greenhouse with a community vegetable garden.
The painting of the houses last week, was organised by NGO Hope Southern Africa (HOSA ) and done by Wings of Support, an NGO supported by Dutch airline staff and Transception, a project implementation company which aims to “work together with key role-players to provide solutions and implementation strategies to social problems.”
Residents were in high spirits and helped with the painting.
Resident Kathy Faro, who runs the ECD centre and soup kitchen, said she is overwhelmed by the pace of development in 7de Laan.
“The ECD centre, community centre, the garden, soup kitchen, cook book and now the painting, it’s amazing. The residents are blessed and I am very grateful for the positive developments in this area. It is lovely to see how the community spirit has grown and how they support each other. We thank all sponsors and donors who have supported residents and their children,” she said.
The cookbook, referred to by Ms Faro is Real Food, Real People, which was created by the 7de Laan community to help raise funds for the construction of the centre.
Marco Spalke from HOSA said the paint will prevent flames from destroying the homes and damaging household items. On Tuesday December 1 last year, 18 residents lost their homes in 7de Laan, when a fire swept through the area (“Raging fire consumes homes”, Plainsman, December 9 2015).
“The residents were traumatised and sad because they lost personal belongings. HOSA was approached by Wings of Support who has been working in the community for years and flew down to do the job. We thank them for their support,” he said.
7de Laan resident David Steyn said in addition to protecting their homes, the paint also added colour and life to the area.
“This place looks brighter and the colour green symbolises growth. If we look at 7de Laan, there has been growth and it makes me very happy. This paint will be beneficial as fires do occur in the area,” he said.
Jura Sala from Wings of Support said the organisation supports the feeding scheme and is thankful to Ms Faro for dedicating her time and efforts.
“The 7de Laan community has a special place in our hearts and we will continue to support where we can. Ms Faro feeds 40 children every day and the kids know they are able to have a plate of food before heading to bed,” she said.
The ECD centre was built by HOSA and is currently attended by 12 pupils. Mr Spalke said there are still vacancies for eight children available.
He added that the community centre runs a range of workshops and are open to residents.
“The centre offers skills development, sport activities and life skills for people of all ages. We also would like to thank ward councillor Elton Jansen for his support,” said Mr Spalke.