HOPE Hero Highlight: The difference one volunteer makes in Gqeberha
Today, we shine the spotlight on a HOPE worldwide SA volunteer, Ongezwa Dikiso, who lives in Port Elizabeth (now known as Gqeberha). She shares about her involvement, and the impact she sees on the community:
How long have you been involved with HOPE?
Ongezwa: Since 2018, that’s when I officially volunteered at HOPE. Before that, I’ve always volunteered through the church when I lived in Cape Town.
What are the different ways in which you’ve served over the years?
Ongezwa: As an admin volunteer, I did filing, ensuring that every important document regarding Parent Support Groups (PSGs) and Early Childhood Development (ECD) was filed and sent to head office. I also made sure that the purchase orders were ready in time, and that they completed correctly the paperwork for feeding, and then I sent it out. As a data capturer, I input information that captured the number of children fed, info about the ECDs and family beneficiaries. As a SHIELD volunteer, I helped whenever I could at the sites in and was available to visit the families we supported and spent time with them. I played with the children and got to know the family too.
How has the COVID pandemic changed the way you help?
Ongezwa: With the pandemic, there has been less or minimal interaction with the society and the kids that we serve, which is what I miss the most.
Why do you choose to serve in this way?
Ongezwa: There is something special about the purpose of HOPE–which is to ensure that every family with a vulnerable child has the right start to life. The families we serve are no longer mission projects, but become family and friends that we cry and laugh with. There’s this genuine desire to dream for them and see them grow.
How has serving the community touched you?
Ongezwa: Serving the community helps to keep me grounded, and it puts a lot of things into perspective. The worries of life and non-important stuff often consume me. The faith and resilience of the people we serve is something beautiful. It always affects me.
What has affected you while serving in the community?
Ongezwa: The things the young kids go through in our communities–it’s sad. I remember one occasion, while serving in Cape Town in a Saturday Play Group. That morning, a child shared with me they saw a dead person, someone who was shot outside their home. To witness violence at such a young age is traumatic. But what was inspiring was seeing the mom’s determination to create a safe space for her children.
Because of COVID-19 safety concerns, our volunteers around the country cannot contribute their time as before, and have switched to making a financial contribution. If you’d like to do the same, then click here to make a donation: