Early Christmas cheer for Joe Slovo children

Corlette Kunz from the West Coast Womens Parliament gives Asisipho Matshokotsha a party packet.

The West Coast Women’s Parliament (WCWP) decided to spread some early festive cheer in Joe Slovo last week by handing out party packets and gifts at Enozipho Educare.

The WCWP, is a non-profit organisation that helps abused women, underprivileged children and elderly and disabled people along the west coast.

Five of its 25 members arrived at the educare with boxes of goodies for the 87 children.

The children entertained their guests with singing and dancing while the party packets were distributed. The staff were also not forgotten, and they received a small gift of appreciation for their work.

Varda Mushlin, who started the WCWP in 2003, said Enozipho Educare was one of the first projects they had supported.

She said she admired Lillian Dikana who had started the educare from nothing.

“Lillian is unbelievable. In the beginning, we supported the educare with an oven and food, and every December, we bring them something sweet.

“The staff also works very hard, so we wanted to give them a small gift of appreciation,” said Ms Mushlin.

Ms Dikana said the WCWP’s support was much appreciated.

“I was working as a char, and I saw a need for a place where children could be taken care of in a safe environment. My dream has been made possible with helping hands like the WCWP,” she said.

The WCWP also supports Somerset Hospital on Valentine’s Day with goody bags for newborn babies and they help Dunoon with blanket drives during winter.

Last week, they donated a computer to West Riding Primary School, and their services extend to Atlantis, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha.

Ms Mushlin started the WCWP shortly after moving to Cape Town from Israel.

“I was in town, and I was wearing a chain around my neck. Someone warned me that it was too dangerous for me to wear it in the open like that and told me to hide it.

“Shortly after this warning, I was surrounded by a group of street children who wanted to grab my chain.

“I looked in their eyes and they were not the eyes of children.

“There were wildness and desperation in their eyes,” she said.

Disturbed by the plight of homeless children, she decided “something had to be done”.

She jokes that the WCWP was “waterborne” as she approached a group of friends she does aqua aerobics with to help her make a difference.

“We are not affiliated to any politics. We decided on ‘parliament’ because it is an extension of ‘parle’, which means to talk in French.

“We wanted to talk for those who don’t have their voices heard,” she said.

Besides helping others they are also a “social group” and the women meet for coffee and help each other when needed.

“When someone is going through a tough time, such as a divorce or when even when someone is having a baby, we help where we can,” she said.

The group is excited about “adopting” the old age home Huis Zonnekus next month.

They will volunteer their time at the home with one of the WCWP members giving wheelchair aerobics classes for the residents at the home.

“We also have a fun day planned with lots of music and we are raising funds to buy two or three wheelchairs that are much needed at the home,” said Ms Mushlin.

Every year, the group host a fund-raiser to raise money for their projects.

This year they are having a gala evening at the Milnerton Playhouse. Tickets cost R150 and this includes a buffet and the play, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

There will also be a number of lucky draws with prizes ranging from hotel getaways to wine-tasting courses.

For more information about the event, email Ms Mushlin at
vmushlin@gmail.com or call 072 404 8852.

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