Humanitarian Organisation Gift of the Givers says it hopes the aid is delivered at the Brickfield Informal Settlement, in Paarl today, will help lift residents’ spirits. Hundreds of residents were left homeless after a fire destroyed their informal dwellings.
Gift of the Givers provided them with mattresses, blankets and meals today. The children also received party packs. The organisation’s project manager in the Western Cape, Ali Sablay, says they will also be providing materials to residents in the coming days, that they can use to rebuild their homes.
“We gave them the good news that Gift of the Givers on Tuesday will start bringing our trucks and provide them with building material to get their lives back on track, but the main thing today was just to create that festivity. As you know when you’re a young one, you look forward to the day of Christmas and we could see the smiles and joy on the young ones’ faces, having nothing, but at least getting a gift today, for them to enjoy for the rest of the day,” says Sablay.
VIDEO: Gift of the Givers brings relief aid to Brickfields Informal Settlement
The mother of a man who died after a tree fell on him during a fire at the settlement says she is still struggling to come to terms with the loss of her son. Vuyani Xhala, 41, died in the fire that also left hundreds homeless. His 60-year-old mother, Nothembelani Sidubulekana, says residents in the area had been concerned about the tree that fell on her son for quite some time, before the fire occurred.
“Everybody takes photos of that tree, because everybody was scared for that tree, but now that tree it took my son, because it was dangerous,” says Sidubulekana.
Some residents at the Brickfields informal settlement say they feel sad and homeless, after a fire destroyed their informal dwellings. The blaze gutted more than 70 structures and left around 300 people destitute. This is what some of the residents had to say.
“We feel very sad and homeless because we’re supposed to spend the Christmas with our loved ones, with our families. But now we have to spend the quality time with the community helping here,” a resident explains.
“This Christmas is painful. It’s the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. I’ve never had a Christmas like this,” another resident elaborates.