The Western Cape Commandery paid our first visit to the Christine Revell Children’s Home in Athlone and were enormously inspired by the dedicated work of the wonderful women who care for these neglected or abandoned children, all of whom are aged younger than five. We thank Serena Rosslind for organising this, and for those who came and gave of their time to this inspiring, much needed sanctuary.
The Western Cape Commandery of the Order of St Lazarus has remained true to its mission to focus on the plight of those less fortunate within our communities.
We continue to work towards our ideal of being a cohesive team in the Western Cape. While our communities remain ravaged by domestic violence, HIV and AIDS, widespread crime, serious substance abuse, poverty and neglect of children and the elderly – amongst other social ills – it is incumbent upon us to reach as many objectives that are within our reach to do so.
Our youth group is in embryonic stages, and we are right behind them to offer all the nurturing required to ensure their success.
For the past two years the Western Cape Commandery’s gifts have been lovingly received by Colleen, from Colleen’s Place of Hope in Mitchells Plain,. This is a safe home that looks after the needs of 35 children, most of whom has been victims of abuse. We are planning to visit this home in the near future.
The Gauteng Commandery and its members have supported the Lourie Youth Centre for around 12 years, so far. It is customary for us to cover the costs of uniforms, school fees and holidays where we can. This is quite a significant commitment by the Commandery and vital to the children.
The Centre is run by retired policewoman Betzie Jacobs (who has been there almost since inception of ‘The Lourie’) and a Board of Trustees drawn largely from the community it serves. All their efforts rely almost solely on donations in both cash and kind – something so often in short supply nowadays.
Betzie is a quite remarkable lady – warm, kind and an absolute inspiration to the kids in her care, many of whom would almost certainly be destitute, were in not for her efforts. Many have never known another home.
This year, our visit was very special in that we presented Betzie with our silver Merit Medal in recognition of her outstanding services. The award was made by Chevalier Schalk Visser, with Chevalier Peter Walters officiating and the Grand Bailiff of our Order in South Africa, Dame Tamra Capstick-Dale (who travelled from Cape Town especially for the event) – our special guest.
This enabled Dame Tamra to see first-hand what makes the Lourie so distinctive. After the presentation ceremony, we all adjourned for lunch –a braai prepared by the older children with meat supplied by Chevalier Ron Pennicott and Dame Heather Pennicott and other refreshments donated by members.
We will be visiting the Lourie again in August.