Finding Hope at Missionaries of Charity – Khayelitsha

Our October edition of the BO feature takes us on a journey to the impoverished township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town where one of our registered beneficiary organisations, The Missionaries of Charity, is situated.

The Missionaries of Charity is a Catholic congregation that was founded in 1950 by Mother Theresa and is currently operating in 139 countries by over 5000 sisters in 758 houses.

We spoke to the Superior of the home, Sister Georgiana, who explained that Mother Teresa hand-picked Khayelitsha as the home’s location during her inaugural visit to South Africa in 1988 after she witnessed the sheer scale of poverty in this community. The home comprises of 40 men and 30 women from all parts of South Africa as well as Congo, Kenya and Tanzania who are homeless and/or disabled. Many of the residents are homeless patients at hospitals who have nowhere to go once they are discharged, and are referred to by social workers. The police are also contributory in ensuring that the home is at capacity with homeless people that they encounter in the course of their duties.

The 7 sisters at the home are responsible for all domestic duties i.e. cleaning, washing and cooking, as well as medical and post-operative care, and mental and spiritual counselling of the residents. The residents at the home keep occupied with tending their vegetable garden, reading and occupational therapy.

One of the biggest challenges is the administrative part of their duties as many of the residents do not have identification documents. They often don’t remember important information about themselves or are mentally challenged and incapable of comprehending that information, and this makes it difficult for the sisters to document their residents and locate their families. Most of the residents live at the home until they are called to rest and the sisters prioritise preparing the residents for the next chapter.

Sister Georgiana says “The Missionaries of Charity in Khayelitsha are completely reliant on donations, and are entirely grateful to FoodForward SA for their generous contribution of groceries on a monthly basis. FoodForward SA has made an incredible impact as the money saved on our grocery bill goes towards purchasing essential toiletries and consumables, and necessary running expenses of the home. We really appreciate FoodForward SA’s contribution with their monthly food donations. Our homeless and disabled residents have to cope with a lot mentally and FoodForward SA has given them hope that someone cares about them. The residents don’t feel abandoned and we are massively grateful for FoodForward SA’s support and donations. May God bless you all.”