Anyone who thinks the future for SA looks bleak and depressing, without hope, is welcome to accompany us to the Intuthuko Centre assisted by SMILE Impact in Mooiplaas.
The Centre is not set in a beautiful farm, instead, as you enter the township, it looks like it could be a farm where plastic is grown. Rubbish from the Centurion area gets dumped here at the Intuhuko Centre for recycling and it is here that you find the community that lives surrounded by the rubbish heap.
This Centre stands as a beacon of hope, a light house, amongst all the poverty. It is here that MetCon is taking hands with SMILE Impact. To encourage and support the community in the form of financial investments, advice and personal assistance.
MetCon staff have also shown their support for the Centre by taking time out to help with projects like giving the facility a new coat of paint and with various maintenance projects alongside engineering students from the University of Pretoria.
All SMILE Impact endeavours and involvement with the people they impact are guided by what their name stands for: Showing More Interest, Love and Empathy, and MetCon is immensely proud to continue its support for such a worthy cause.
Overview of SMILE Impact:
SMILE Impact has been operating in Mooiplaas informal settlement since Nov 2008. Mooiplaas does not have any municipal services like running water, electricity, sewerage or refuse removal.
- SMILE Impact strives to reach the poorest of the poor through interest, love and empathy. Finding the hidden ‘gems’ in people, developing their potential and using their own ‘assets’ to better their lives and build their community.
- SMILE Impact believe in the person not the product, and the process is much more important than the project.
- Up to now we established a fully functional day care centre with ±65 children and 8 staff members as well as 5 ladies working in an adjacent vegetable garden, supplying freshly picked vegetables daily. The garden also forms part of a skills development programme.
- All staff are people of their own community whom mostly started with no skill, but throughout the years, through training and upliftment, every person has obtained some skill or training, to better their life and the children of the community they serve.
- We are committed to 3 main projects, working under an ‘umbrella’ called the Intuthuko Centre assisted by SMILE Impact: A day care centre, an adjacent garden providing daily fresh vegetables to the day care, and skills development as means of income to the garden team to ensure sustainability.
- However, our heart is for the bigger community, which we continuously involve through sporadic training of day care centres of the community, being it ECD training, firefighting, contacting governmental departments to better the lives of the people, etc.
- We also provide a space to an NPO called Cotlands, which bring their mobile crèche, which serve other day care centres of the community.
MetCon and SMILE Impact Working Together
- MetCon starts its support to SMILE Impact in 2016.
- MetCon contributes opportunities to the team of ladies whom form part of a skills development program/small business called Ekuphumuleni garden and studio. Some of the incentives are:
- Skills development
- Purchasing handmade jewellery on a continuous basis. This is either given as gifts to clients or showcased at the annual Jewellex exhibition.
- SMILE assists in the making of various packaging and other products for MetCon for which they are remunerated.
- Funding which enabled the garden team to assist the older children of the adjacent day care, to grow and care for their own spinach plants. Through a competition, the kids were rewarded with a parcel of fresh fruit and vegetables when they brought the seedlings back to the gardens to be planted. This initiative did not just result in the above, but the kids had the wonderful opportunity to give their spinach plants to two other day care centres in their own community. This enabled the children to learn a new skill and embraced the concept of sharing with others. This project was a highlight which we will repeat in the coming years.
- Printing of a marketing brochure for SMILE Impact and Ekuphumuleni garden and studio for their own use
- Signage at the site
- Funding is used to purchase items like tools, and materials which the team needs to better their skills and to enable them to generate their own income to become self- sustainable.
- Funding is used to buy fertilizers, compost for the gardens. Fresh vegetables grown on site provides food on the table for the day care center and the rest is sold to the community and staff.