100 times up the mountain to support ECDs

Life Child volunteer and Sea Point resident Margolite Williams and staff member Karin Muller at the organisations Sea Point office.

Sea Point resident Margolite Williams could have easily decided to take it easy after retiring last year.

Instead, she did the opposite, and decided to climb Table Mountain 100 times, and all for a good cause.

Her journey began with an encounter earlier this year, when she was walking on the mountain alone one day, that would change the course of her life.

“I was doing it for fun one day, just to get fit. I usually check if there were people starting at the bottom. This lovely lady was walking and I heard her chatting to the founder of Life Child. I asked if I can walk with them because I didn’t want to walk on my own,” said the 58-year old.

They chatted all the way to the top of the mountain. That’s when Ms Williams decided to pursue her goal of100 climbs for Life Child.

Ms Williams had stopped working as a sales representative last year. “When I met them I just said if you need me I can do it.

Ms Williams was then invited to a fundraiser. “That’s when I decided I was going to do it. You have to go there to know why and that even convinced me more.”

Life Child helps teachers in different crèches and upskills them. “They took me to the different schools. That impressed me. They feed the children in their safe house and have accommodation for them.”

Green Point resident Karin Muller, of Life Child, said they partner with 13 early childhood development (ECD) centres in Samora Machel, Philippi.

The organisation’s main Cape Town office is based in Sea Point.

“We work alongside all the principals and support them. Part of it is education and teacher training. It is also about providing a healthy meal.”

The meals are a result of Life Child’s partnerships with Stop Hunger. Life Child’s four focus areas are education, health and nutrition, social development and spiritual development.

“It’s our way to really just support these crèche principals. We’ve also got our Life Child centre there with our own crèche. We provide free education for the most vulnerable children,” she said. There is also an emergency safety home at the centre for children at risk.

Ms Muller added that the work done by Ms Williams was invaluable.

“It’s incredible, we call them Life Child champions. It’s to mobilise people to use their skills and talents to create awareness. Through the course of the year we have many people, like Margolite, that come forward.”

The organisation was registered in 2013 and also has offices in Mozambique and Malawi.

Ms Williams said she was amazed by what had been achieved since then. “What they’ve done with a tiny team in just a few years is incredible. The teachers feel that they are not there alone and have support.”

Ms Williams said that feedback from family and friends had been positive. Through her campaign, she has managed to get 41 donors.

“My husband and I went there and you just realise that you are so comfortable in your own little life. You have know idea what’s going on over there and how vulnerable these children are. We are so in a cocoon where we live,” Ms Williams said.

Ms Muller said the great thing about having champions was having a foot in the door in communities.

She said you don’t necessarily have to be athletic to get involved with Life Child, adding that people have raised awareness with everything from dinner parties to birthdays. “We really encourage people to come with creative ideas of what you can do in your world and your skills. We don’t have set things about being a champion. There are different ways of supporting the children, even if it’s just about raising awareness.

“We always need volunteers for that and people to come and help.”

For more information on Life Child South Africa,contact them on 021 439 4721 or visit their website at www.lifechild.org.za