Social housing non-profit Communicare launched a project in Diep River last week to make the lives of its tenants spread out across the city a little easier.
The Vulamathuba Foundation would help “to support the tenant rather than rescuing them,” said Communicare board member Kholeka Zama, during the function on Thursday August 24, at Musgrave Park, one of the organisation’s complexes.
Anthea Houston, CEO of Communicare, said they had always done a lot of community development activities over the decades. “In 2008, we had the idea to put these activities in a separate foundation, so we registered Vulamathuba but didn’t follow through with the idea then.
“Now we have finally launched it so that we can make more people aware of this work which goes far above the normal role of a typical landlord.”
Vulamathuba translates into “unlocking opportunities” and that’s exactly what Communicare hopes it will do for the 6 000-odd people of all ages living in its
3 375 rental units.
Musgrave Park resident Citty Lawless was one of the speakers at the launch and ended with a message from tenants. “We wish the foundation well,” she said.
Vulamathuba Foundation’s Nontombi Jubeju said it would run focused and structured social development programmes for tenants in Communicare complexes and surrounding communities.
Vulamathuba has three priorities: creating healthy communities through tenant engagement and social cohesion; economic mobility of enhancing the capacity of tenants to be self-reliant and economically mobile; and supporting vulnerable and special-needs tenants to gain access to appropriate support services.
Ms Houston said the small Vulamathuba Foundation team worked closely with various organisations to deliver the programmes. They include: Rosa Choir, Soil for Life, Jazzart Dance Theatre and the Department of Social Development.
“We welcome other partnerships to ensure that we can provide opportunities for more people to live with dignity and an improving quality of life,” she said.
Ms Lawless participated in one of Vulamathuba’s senior social club workshops and is an active committee member helping to organise various fund-raisers to take less fortunate residents on outings.
The committee also organises lunch for elderly residents without families on Mother’s and Father’s days and at Christmas. Other funds go towards getting the less fortunate to hospitals, clinics and other appointments.
“We hold regular dances and talks on different cultures, and host gardening projects and market days each Wednesday, when residents and the community can hire a table and sell their crafts and home-grown vegetables,” said Ms Lawless.
She said that in the past they had hosted “Oldlympic” events competing against other senior centres at games including darts, pool, table tennis, carpet bowls and more and they would like to revive them as many elderly people simply sat in their homes.
Chairperson of Huis Alleyne Senior Home in Bishop Lavis, Angela Matthews, was another speaker and she was enthusiastic about Communicare’s active-ageing programme, which organises talks on depression, eating a healthy diet on a budget, health checks, counselling, arts, crafts and playing games, among other things.
“I enjoy it all and want to live a long life,” said Ms Matthews to giggles from guests.
Ms Zama said the foundation would teach people how to: user computers to find jobs, write CVs and conduct themselves in a job interview. It also offered programmes on financial literacy, debt management and career guidance.
Ms Jubeju said Communicare also offered a rent holiday, up to a maximum of three months, for tenants facing sudden short-term hardships that threatened their tenancy, such as the death of a breadwinner or the loss of a job.
“ Vulamathuba social workers play a critical role in assessing the tenants’ circumstances and recommending to Communicare whether the rent holiday should be granted or not. If relief is granted, they also work with the tenant to help them develop a plan to address the situation, that is in the event of loss of income,” said Ms Jubeju.
For further details contact Nontombi Jubeju at 021 535 0997, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.vulamathuba.org.za