Johannesburg non-profit organizations Miracle Mission and Swaragano soup kitchen are finding ways to thrive and support their communities despite the rising cost of living. In an interview with News24, Mpho Masechaba Mashigo stated that the financial challenges the Alexandra soup kitchen faced, which relies entirely on donations to provide two daily meals to 178 children.
Mashigo launched the soup kitchen during the hard lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa. At the time, her mother, an informal trader, had enough food stock that she could not sell due to restrictions prohibiting non-essential workers from going to work or running their businesses. After much prayer, Masechaba’s mother decided to give back to the community by providing free meals through the Swaragano soup kitchen.
Masechaba recruited volunteers from her community to help her mother, and the Swaragano soup kitchen fed more than 400 residents at the height of the pandemic. When Sanny ran out of food stock, she faced a tough choice – to shut down the soup kitchen or dip into her savings to keep supporting her community. She chose the latter and spent R20,000 from her food caravan savings to buy more vegetables to continue her project.
Finally, as donations began to come in, the soup kitchen could sustain itself, and it now has a garden to grow its vegetables. Miracle Mission, located in Randburg, has been in operation for 25 years, providing care for 12 abandoned children at a time and employing a staff of 12. The most significant part of their budget is to pay salaries.
They receive a subsidy from the Department of Social Development, which they supplement with donations. According to Cindy Sproat, the daily manager of the home, they have seen an improvement in donations since the pandemic, and they now receive consistent support from dedicated donors. Cynthia Dinalane has transformed her Kempton Park residence into a shelter for women and children known as Tshegofatso Rona Welfare.
Like Sanny and Miracle Mission, she does not receive any government support and depends on funding to sustain her residents. She believes she could help more women and children with more resources and government support. Providing shelters for vulnerable women is key in tackling the scourge of abuse.