Whilst Gift of the Givers was reminiscing on 31 years of service on August 6, they received tragic news of a mother who killed her three children and then killed herself in Tholeni village, Butterworth, in the Eastern Cape.
Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said neighbours discovered the bodies of three children killed by their mother who then took her own life last week.
“What degree of desperation drives a mother with natural instincts of nurturing, survival, compassion and love to take the lives of something so precious, so divine, her own flesh and blood, born from her very being,” he said.
He said feedback from the SAPS, Department of Social Development, community leaders and communities, indicate that the instrumental factor was hunger, and tragically, he said they said this was not an isolated incident.
When Gift of the Givers teams visited Tholeni Village, they found child-headed households, with no food for the past two days, an old lady cooking her last grain of food, hunger rife everywhere, desperation, despair, unemployment, lack of opportunities and many undocumented children.
“Our teams brought abundant supplies of food to initiate soup kitchens for instant satiety of desperately hungry men, women and children.
“We return today [on Tuesday] with the departments of Health and Social Development, and have alerted Home Affairs to register the children so they can receive some form of social support.
“Community food gardens would provide sustainability but lack of water is the limiting factor. Gift of the Givers will support the various villages as best we can. Another self-inflicted death through hunger is an indictment on our nation as a whole,” said Dr Sooliman.
He said this incident reminds him of their intervention several years ago in the villages surrounding Verdwaal in the North West where children died from starvation.
“Gift of the Givers teams entered the villages and found horrific levels of hunger. We established a R500 000 kitchen in a nearby school and to date support them with bulk food. There is an entire chapter dedicated to this project in the Gift of the Givers book,” said Dr Sooliman.
He said they have been expanding their hunger alleviation project since Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
Those wanting to assist with hunger alleviation in South Africa can donate to Gift of the Givers.