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An awareness walk for Nelson Mandela Day and Vita Nova

Last Monday, the South African Police Service (SAPS), in a collaborative effort with the South African Defence Force (SANDF), Nokuthula Clinic, End Times Messenger Ministry (ETMM) and Vita Nova Care Centre united in a walk across the town to start off Nelson Mandela Day.

“For our 67 minutes this year, we wanted to create awareness about Vita Nova Centre and the work it does,” says SAPS spokesman Captain Johannes Ramphora.

“We realised that people are not really aware of the centre and the special care they provide to special needs children.”

The walk commenced at 9am from Laerskool Werda towards the Springs Civic Centre.

At the end of the walk, the participants headed to Vita Nova Centre in Daggafontein.

“It is important that centres such as Vita Nova are given the recognition they deserve, especially considering the nature of the work they do,” says Ramphora.

“Part of the day’s programme involves the SAPS and the other stakeholders coming together to give moral support and assistance to the staff of the centre,” he adds.

“As SAPS, we have donated food and drinks for the children to eat and have taken it upon ourselves to be hands-on in helping feed and take care of the children for the day.”

Ramphora says the aim was not only to assist the children in need but to relief the staff from some of the duties and challenges they face, in the selfless work they do.

“We feel that it is important to interact with the children and staff, just so we can understand the daily challenges they face,” he says.

“We also took it upon ourselves to clean the centre and pack the storerooms, then wash dishes and clean the kitchen after lunch had been served.”

Ramphora says the experience has been eye-opening and touching to many as the plight faced by special needs children and their caretakers is often underestimated.

“This kind of job requires patience and commitment,” he says.

“It just goes to show how dedicated and special the staff of this centre is, in order for them to do this everyday.”

Ramphora says this is what makes this centre special.

“This was a special project designed to create awareness and conscientise the community,” he says.

“The project requires time and that is why we dedicated the whole day to it.”

Ramphora does, however, say this is not the last that such outreach programmes will be done for the centre.

“We plan on doing continuous outreach programmes in future,” he adds.

“These children need our support and love.”

Ramphora wishes to thank the community, stakeholders of the project, the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) for traffic control during the walk and ETMM ministries who gave pastoral and motivational talks on the day.

“This was a successful event and we thank the various departments for allowing members to take time off work to participate,” he says.

“The gratitude expressed by Vita Nova was the greatest gratification we could have received.”

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