A young man from Eastridge started his own non-profit organisation with the aim of helping people in the community make their lives better.
Aqeel Fransman, 18, started the Aqeel Fransman Foundation in October 2021.
“We feed the less fortunate when we receive sponsored ingredients from those who wish to help our foundation and we help those in need where we can,” he said.
One of the recipients of the foundation, Fazlin Jappie, 44, from Eastridge, said Mr Fransman has always had a heart for his community.
“He was about 9 when our community experienced many deaths. He was always ready to lend a helping hand. If he had to carry a bucket of water or serve the community, he would do it without complaint,” said Ms Jappie.
On September 8 2021 Aqeel experienced a horrific attack on his life.
“My friends and I were playing soccer when I suddenly blacked out, ran into a wall, breaking my scalp and arm. I was rushed to hospital, where I would spend the next two months recovering. I underwent a life-saving operation, and I was grateful to God for giving me another chance at life,” he said.
He had a lot of time to reflect on his past beliefs and actions during this time and wanted to turn his life around.
After being discharged from the hospital, Aqeel spent a month at home, catching up on missed school work, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that he needed to do something more with his life.
The doctor informed him about another operation he had to undergo, which involved putting a man-made bone and a plate in his scalp.
After the successful operation, he returned home with renewed purpose, he said. Groote Schuur Hospital did not respond in time of print.
A month after his ordeal he was driven to help the needy in Mitchell’s Plain, witnessing the struggles of homelessness.
He now organises food drives, collects donations and hopes to open a shelter to provide a safe haven for those living on the streets, he said.
Aqeel’s mother and chairperson of the foundation, Shireen Andrews, 35, said her son inspires her.
“He could’ve been addicted to drugs or gangsterism but I am proud of the young man he has turned into. I love cooking for those in need in our communities, putting a smile on their faces is the best part,” she said.
Ms Jappie is also involved in school projects as well as helping the community with creating a curriculum vitae, to name a few.
“Aqeel shared his heart with me that he wanted to start this foundation. I told him he has already started. He would feed the community, he would create fun days. I encouraged him to get his administration in order to help others.”
She said Mr Fransman’s resilience inspired everyone.
“He helps me everyday. There are resources that Aqeel can assist with. When our lights in the streets are off, he would help by contacting who he needs to put it back on. He is a giant in our community. I respect and salute him,” said Ms Jappie.
Mr Fransman said: “Sometimes it will take a personal experience to open our eyes to the struggles of others. Through my own journey of recovery and self-discovery, I found my purpose in helping those in need, proving that even the smallest act of kindness can make a world of difference.”