A new non-profit organisation has been set up in Eastridge to help the community.
“I love children and I have a passion for them. I don’t have my own children, but you can take care of someone else’s child. The aim was to always assist where I can; to bring change and to make their lives better,” says Sharna Bernhardt, a pharmacist assistant and chairwoman of Sharna’s Helping Hands.
The organisation’s treasurer, Delmon Williams, said it had got off the ground in March.
“Sharna had this dream to have an NPO, and she called upon some like-minded people. There was lots of red tape we had to cross, and we managed to get through all that,” he said, describing the process of having the non-profit registered.
“We have a great passion for this community. Our hearts are in it.”
Daniel Williams, the organisation’s administrator, said he had lived in Eastridge since the age of 8 and had noticed a decline in the community.
“Morals, values were sometimes not where they were supposed to be. We experienced crime and gangsterism. As a young man growing up, we’ve always wanted to see young boys turn from gangsterism as it poisons society,” he said. “There are not a lot of role models, and we would like to see a community with more positive role models. That is ultimately the purpose.”
Stephen Johnson, the secretary of the NPO, said they were also trying to tackle truancy in the community as it was a “big problem”.
Ms Bernhardt said they provided meals to more than 300 needy people from Eastridge and the surrounding areas in Mitchell’s Plain every week and had also taken the youth and elderly on outings.
Eastridge senior Dorothy Valera said Sharna’s Helping Hands was providing much-needed help to the community. “They would give either a plate of food or a bowl of soup. They also make the elderly feel special by taking them out to eat. I pray God bless them as we wish them well for the future.“
Another senior, Evelyn Samuels, said the organisation had taken her out to a restaurant. “Some don’t have the opportunity to be cared for in this way. We appreciate it,” she said.
For more information, call Ms Bernhardt at 073 530 5472.