A LONGING to return to his roots, as well as realising the dire need of the Arcadia community for a drop-in community centre prodded Pastor Louis Jacobs to pack up a wellrun and successful NGO in Pretoria and relocate his entire family back to the Kouga.
The Ilanga Community Development Foundation owned by Jacobs and his family is a registered NGO and has no formal funding although they are negotiating with the Department of Social Development. The project will be run from the premises of the Full Gospel Church in Arcadia where Jacobs is a fully-ordained and full-time pastor.
Explaining what Ilanga does Jacobs said the foundation had three components, each offering extensive help and support for individuals and families. The first component deals with moral restoration and regeneration.
“We will be visiting schools and working with them. Our programme is in line with the life skills children are taught. This focuses on among other matters, character building,” said Jacobs.
He said his daughter, Aaronitia Williams, a trained life-skills and character-development facilitator with lots of experience, would mainly control of this leg of the project.
As the second component, social development, incorporates health care they hope to establish themselves as a drop-in centre.
“People in need must know they can come to us. We will be forming a partnership with the local clinic offering health care, home-based care and general counseling,” he said.
His son-in-law, Mario Williams, will manage the health care projects while his son, Geruis, is all set to be the entertainment coordinator.
“Family preservation and a juvenile project that deals with restorative justice are but two of the proven projects we have successfully implemented in Pretoria,” he said.
The third component is a job-creation project.
“We are registered with Seta and will be setting up a data base for unemployed people. As I have the necessary know-how and connections we will create a viable project teaching job skills and preparing people for the workplace.”
Jacobs said they would be working closely with schools helping youngsters to obtain bursaries, grants and everything necessary to get ahead.
“The money is available, people just don’t know how to go about accessing it, and that is where we come in.”
Jacobs believes the only sustainable way forward for the Kouga is to create a development plan and to build the local economy that will ultimately create jobs.
“But we need to work with healthy families, people who believe in themselves, and have self-respect. We are determined to see this happen.”
Jacobs can be contacted on 074-529-4381.