Along with many of you we are devastated to hear about the recent unrest in Kwa Zulu Natal. Although this has taken place in close proximity to our beneficiary projects and our students' places of study we are pleased to say that no-one has been hurt. However, the impact is still devastating, causing food & fuel shortages, and lack of chronic medication in the short term and likely higher prices and loss of jobs to follow.

Here's what we know so far.

Hillcrest, which is the closest town to our project 1000 Hills Community Helpers and the home of our project Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust has been badly hit by looters. You can see a small clip of the devastation here:

There are shortages of food and fuel; the queues for food extended to 1 km at 5:30am yesterday morning and shoppers were restricted to 20 items each.  By the evening there was only snack food (crisps etc) and toiletries available.  There is a chronic shortage of baby formula and disposable nappies and the pharmacies have been looted or are barricaded so medicines are unavailable. Late yesterday there were reports of supply convoys coming into the area along the minor roads, avoiding the motorways as these are peppered with roadblocks.

The centre remains closed at Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust to protect the staff and patients at the Respite Unit and to safeguard the retail and hospitality outlets that provide much needed funding for the healthcare operation. 1000 Hills Community Helpers have closed the clinic, nursery and feeding scheme as staff cannot get to the centre (the public transport system has ceased for now) and they also need to protect their premises but they plan to reopen on Monday.  Many of our students study in Durban and have seen the looting but they remain in their residencies and are safe, although they are short of food.

Russell who runs the GOGO (Grandmother) feeding programme queued for over three hours yesterday and managed to get a stock of rice and frozen vegetable from one of the warehouses which are opening their doors to the public to purchase foodstuffs. Today he will try to get fuel for cooking.  Russell's small project typically feeds 40 GOGO's each week; the meal they get there may be the only hot meal they have that week, as these women are often supporting 6 or 7 orphaned grandchildren on their old age grants.

HOLAH the abandoned baby project in Durban have kept the 11 babies and children in their care safe and well, thanks to the dedication of their carers Nozipho and Zethu who have stayed caring for the children constantly since the unrest began, as other staff couldn't get to work. 

We applaud the continued efforts of the founders and staff at the projects we support and care deeply about in KwaZulu Natal. If you can help us to help them rebuild please make a small donation

Thank you.

It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build - Nelson Mandela