Monday 17 September 2012

Just what is @kwo_org that I so often tweet about? and why is it so important to me?

Kungwini Welfare Organisation is an umbrella Non-Profit Organisation for 8 public benefiting projects, namely:
Paul Jungnickel Home - with 140 adults with disabilities
Kungwini Early Learning Centre - with over 200 children between the ages of 2 - 6 years
Drop -In Centre - for over 40 children between 6 - 12 years
Vocational Therapy Unit
Kungwini Protective Workshop
Children's Home
Nickel Xmas Market
Social Work Services

I got involved with the Paul Jungnickel Home sort of by accident. I had visited the organisation with Santa Shoebox appeal and had been taken out to visit the Kungwini Early Learning Centre. Everyone was so friendly, that I left my CV with them with the intention of supporting the teachers in the nearby township.

On Mandela Day, 18th July, his birthday, #67minutes I visited armed with cup cakes and a pair of scissors to help make some paper bunting for the Nickel Xmas Market. I ended up going back again and made 1km of paper bunting. I then started to make some material bunting for hanging outside and so far have made 150 meters.

Me and my sewing machine were too noisy for the meetings held in the adjacent room so I was moved to the Kungwini Protective Workshop where all hopes of sewing any more bunting were put on hold until the material cupboard was tidied. Since then I’ve been going 2-3 times a week. There is little English spoken and combined with speech difficulties I’m struggling a little to be understood and to understand. But the residents there are so patient with me, practising their English, taking me by the hand and showing me where to go, making me a cup of tea, using gestures and I’m finding my understanding of Afrikaans is coming on nicely, I catch key words and work the rest out. Sometimes I have to fetch someone to translate, but on the whole we all get on fine.

At the moment I’m making bags to sell at the Christmas Market. I have taken a few orders so far and will be posting them when I return to the UK in October. I will also be travelling with many other goodies for sale and I’ll be asking/pestering those of you I see to buy from me. Pop over to my face book page for more info.

So why has this organisation become so important to me? It has given me a life line, a purpose, people to talk to, a place to go and more importantly makes me feel needed and valued.
I can’t work in South Africa, I don’t ‘do lunch’ or play golf and I’m not a big fan of shopping or having nails painted, so I was a little lost.
KWO lets me be me, I can blog/tweet/facebook, I can take photos, I have the freedom to make suggestions and carry them out.

So if you want to do your bit also and help out some amazing people and live in or can get to Pretoria, have a look at some of the needs of the organisation and if you’re outside South Africa how about making a donation, there’s a space to leave a message and don’t forget to let them know that @chickenruby asked you to pop by.

You help to make a BIG difference in other people's lives.


  1. So many worthy projects to work on in SA, I'm glad you've found one that appreciates your contribution x.

  2. Lovely to read about the positives of volunteering as an expat - we rely on volunteers and many of our staff (including me!) started out as volunteers. I had similar reasons to you - I took a career break but found that I needed a purpose, and I'm not a very good "lady of leisure" either! Good luck with your work with KWO.