We at ACS-Embrace recognise and embrace the importance of supporting local communities, thereby giving back to our society and assisting those in need. To this end we are actively involved in various community and charitable initiatives.
Ikhwezilokusa Home and School
A major community project that ACS-Embrace supports on an on-going basis is the Ikhwezilokusa ("bright morning star") Home, located in the Vaal Triangle, in De Deur, Meyerton. The home cares for profoundly disabled children, youths and adults, as well as children with learning problems and comprises a children’s home, adults home, special care centre and two schools. Approximately 200 individuals are assisted on a daily basis. Most of these people have been dumped or abandoned here. With a hands on approach, ACS-Embrace has contributed significantly towards improving the Home on many levels.
Donations made are two-fold. Firstly, ACS as a company donates a significant sum of money on an annual basis; secondly, the ACS staff and their families voluntarily donate their own time and money. This self-sacrificing love displayed by ACS Staff is really appreciated and goes a long way to the upliftment of the people living in the home.
The Department of Health stipulated the need for the “erection of a fence to separate the adults from children.” Without this fence, the continued existence of the home would have been in jeopardy. ACS stepped in, supervised and paid for the fence, which separates the buildings, ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Department of Health.
Other projects we have been involved in include major repairs to the roof, replacement of ceilings and painting of all the buildings. General repairs and maintenance are on-going. There is often a shortage of money for food at the home and apart from taking car loads of basic supplies through, including non-perishable food and drink, Team Embrace embarked on a project to make the home more self-sufficient. A vegetable garden was started – the land was prepared and the seeds planted – enabling the staff and residents to live off the land. This project has been a great success.
Ensuring their comfort even further and to keep everybody warm at night, ACS-Embrace has supplied the home with new duvet inners, duvet covers, pillows, pillow cases and sheets. Our extraordinary team of volunteers have embraced these “special people” with their generosity, their hearts and their time. They visit regularly to hand over our gifts and assist with “playing”, feeding, bathing, dressing, changing beds and anywhere else that they can be of assistance. They drive away, heart sore and counting their blessings!
Our tree planting party at the Ikhwezilokuza Home was a huge success and despite the intense heat, 81 fruit trees were planted. This was a great achievement and one that will leave a lasting legacy for many decades to come. Several residents helped, all eagerly wanting to be involved in some way. Some were able to assist in digging holes; others added the manure but most were able to assist with the watering of the trees, taking great delight in doing so. They will continue to enjoy watering the trees and in time to come, enjoy the shade, eat the fruit and sell what they do not need.
At the end of a long, hot day they all looked, with great pride, at what had been achieved. There was singing and clapping after which some much needed cold drinks and snacks were served. One of the patients delivered a heart-warming impromptu speech, thanking the Embrace Outreach Team “for always remembering them as being human and regarding them as people who are equal and who have rights”. Trees reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income, helping communities to achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability.
"Plant Trees. They give us two of the most crucial elements for our survival: oxygen and books" - Carol J Miller
Team Embrace arranged a Christmas Party for the Ikhwezilokusa residents which was attended by a large ACS-Embrace staff contingent. There was an air of excitement and anticipation as they were surrounded by happy, smiling faces and bright, shining eyes. Suddenly gasps and squeals of delight – Father Christmas had arrived! (AKA Emmanuel Mashele, our ACS-Embrace Technical Assistant). There were bags and bags of gifts and goodies for everybody as well as party drinks and snacks.
A huge box of clothing was handed over and everybody experienced the joy and magic of Christmas as adults, children and caregivers all received gift bags, filled with toys, toiletries, biscuits, sweets and chips.
“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of others.” - Nelson Mandela
Team Embrace embarked on a “Water” project at the home, where they have limited access to Municipal water. Often there was barely enough, if any, for drinking, cooking, bathing and laundry. Addressing this problem, two pumps and water tanks were installed to enable residents to access and use borehole water. This has minimised their reliance on Municipal water and reduced overhead costs significantly.
Borehole water is now being used for everything - to water their vegetable garden and trees, for laundry, bathing, cooking and drinking. These projects have contributed significantly to the overall social and economic upliftment of the residents of the Ikhwezilokuza Home.
“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water” - Benjamin Franklin
FreeMe 94.7 Charity Team Sponsor
Team Embrace uses “Pedal Power” to raise funds and create awareness for FREEMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
Team members Johann Van Rooyen and Lars Haacke were part of the ACS FreeMe peloton at the 94.7 Momentum Cycle Challenge in November last year. FreeMe needs all the help they can get as they have grown into a recognised wildlife rehabilitation centre and have to deal with hundreds of sick, injured and orphaned animals, brought from all over Gauteng and beyond. “It was a long, hot, tiring ride but well worth it. We believe we achieved our goal and look forward to cycling for this worthy cause again next year.” – Johann van Rooyen.
Team Embrace Community Kite Day
ACS-Embrace embarked on the mission of reviving a tradition within the community. Kite Day hoped to reinforce the fact that personal time, spent with family and friends, forms part of a balanced, professional life. The event was also used to raise awareness against Rhino poaching.
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” Anais Nin
This high flying event was well supported by members of the community. A splash of bold, bright colour appeared on the horizon, as people of all ages took to the field to fly their kites. The kite making workshop, with all the necessary materials available, ran throughout the day and was a huge hit, especially with our younger guests. They were able to make their own kites, add their own personality to them and then watch them take to the sky and fly. Those who already had kites at home enjoyed the opportunity to “bring and fly”.
The wind came and went but the entertainment did not stop. There were traditional three-legged races, sack races and egg tosses throughout the day, with plenty of prizes to be won!
Professional kite flyer, Phil Hewett, added to the entertainment, with his stunt kite exhibitions and "sweet drops". This was a family fun day that will be remembered for a long time.