Editorial: Public can make huge difference

The outpouring of support from individuals and businesses for the extremely vulnerable residents of the Ekuphumleni Old Age Home in Zwide over the past few days has been truly heart-warming.

Such unselfish acts of kindness, on the part of ordinary citizens in particular, who felt moved to provide food and basic necessities such as toothpaste to the home’s 60 elderly residents, can only help to restore one’s faith in humanity.

The Herald reported last week that there was scarcely one bowl of porridge left to feed the entire home’s residents. Though meant to be fully subsidised by the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development, Ekuphumleni had not received payment from the department since February.

Both the home and the department accused each other of being responsible in a classic case of bureaucratic bungling.

In an age when volunteerism is said to be dying, even dead, and with so many people solely focused on their own lives, it is encouraging to see there is still a basic human desire to reach out to others in need and bring them comfort and aid.

We saw the same degree of concern and care when members of the public recently rallied so five-year-old Cecil Carelse could receive a wheelchair. Sometimes all it takes to inspire action is a simple Facebook post.

Sadly Ekuphumleni is just one in a string of non-government organisations that has found itself in a perilous situation as a result of non-payment or slashed budgets by the department.

Sanca, the province’s largest substance-abuse rehabilitation service, is on the brink of collapse and Childline Eastern Cape has also been forced to restrict services. PE Mental Health’s budget has been slashed by almost half.

Here, too, the public can make a meaningful difference by reaching out and offering help in any form possible.

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