Corporate Social Investment
DOOR OF HOPE
Berea Bapstist Church is a small Mission Church established in the very heart of Johannesburg. It consists of two houses and a few outbuildings. The main house is used as a place of worship for people from 16 different nations and the 2nd house is for the residing pastor and his wife.
In 1999, the pastor at the time Cheryl Allen, and deacons learned with deep distress that a high number of newly born infants were being abondoned. At the time 40 - 50 babies were being dumped every month and left to die of starvation or exposure. Cheryl realized that many of those desperate women and girls may well have acted differently had there been an alternative. The church made a hole in their wall and a baby bin was installed allowing for mothers to leave their babies anytime day or night. The moment a baby is placed in the bin careworkers on duty receive an selectronic signal alerting them. The baby is taken in and the anonymity of the donor ensured. News has spread and other babies have been brought personally by their mothers or have come through other means such as the police, community members, hospitals or clinics. By faith and reliance on God alone and from small, humble beginnings, the ministry has grown and over 100 children's lives are being saved every year.
Whilst the Door of Hope baby bin was an innovative idea, the mission was criticized as it was felt that we were encouraging abandonment. However, to date we have received only 10% of our babies through the baby bin. It was the uniqueness of this "hole in the wall" concept that has made us prominent and allowed us to become one of the foremost homes in Johannesburg for abandoned babies.
ITLHOKOMELENG ASSOCIATION FOR AGED AND DISABLED PEOPLE
At 81 Marjorie Manganye is still energetic and hands on. "Ma", as she is affectionately known, is the founder of the Itlhokomeleng (Sesotho for "help yourself") Association for Aged and Disabled Persons.
Whenever Ma appears the residents and staff of the home stop what they are doing to listen to her, to answer her enquiries about their wellbeing or to talk about what must be done for the day.
The story of why Ma Manganye began her work with the elderly is not one she likes to talk about. For years she had visions predicting that her work lay in service to others. She didn't quire understand them until one Wednesday afternoon in 1978. Manganye was working as a tuberculosis information officer when an eldery woman died while waiting to receive her state pension.
"I knew then that this was the thing God had been calling me to do - to help elderly people who had no one". The following Monday she resigned from her job.
That year she established Itlhokomeleng. The project began as a women's club in a church and although she has gone on to become chief executive of the association, she is adamant that it is a "community project", with residents from Alexandra volunteering their services. Believing that oldage homes should not merely be places where old people are left to live out their final days, she encourages younger people to become involved in the home. Now a few young people have permanent jobs there and share her passion.
She never strove to become the "Mother Theresa of Alexandra", nor did she imagine that she would meet and spend time with Cabinet ministers or President Jacob Zuma, who recognised the value of her work. All she wanted, on that day many years ago, was to create a place where the eldery and disabled would feel cared for. One of the most famous residents of Itlhokomeleng was Hector Peterson's father, who lived out his final days here.
Itlhokomeleng, which cares for 91 elderly and disabled people, has a staff of 54 who ensure that all the residents receive healthcare, nutritious meals, security, comfortable living quarters and, most off all, individual attention.
No one is turned away. Whether they are brought in by the police, by the community of they hear of her services on a community radio station, they know they have a home at Itlhokomeleng.