One of this month’s Top Causes is Nead Community Development in the Western Cape. We’re recognising them not only for the dedication that they put into their profile on forgood, but for the work that they do in the communities they are present in. We interviewed them to learn a little more about who they are to share with, and inspire you.
Who are you and what do you do?
NEAD was specifically founded to develop and strengthen local communities in the Western Cape. We believe in changing the associations the community receives through negative media. We work holistically; incorporating individuals from all walks of life to empower the community as a whole instead of just a select few people. We facilitate self-belief by encouraging constructive behaviour with positive reward.
NEAD aims to become the No. 1 social development expert organisation in South Africa in creating lasting positive change in local communities. We are committed to providing a platform for the inspiration and empowerment of a sustainable and progressive economic and social development environment. We provide community development services that are constitutionally sound and uphold the human rights of local communities.
Our work is highly effective because we listen to the needs of our beneficiaries, act quickly and give fast feedback. When we make a promise, we keep our word and we treat our beneficiaries with humanity, dignity and respect. The 5 Important Core Values NEAD use as a foundation to increase community participation are integrity, respect, humanity, compassion and inclusivity.
Why did you get started?
The Tafelsig community is seen and treated as the sore eye (stepdaughter) of Mitchell’s Plain. One morning, getting out of the house I, Joanie Fredericks, could no longer bear looking around a community where there was so much unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, domestic and sexual violence and other issues. I knew that very little is done by anyone to address the many social problems the community faced. I noticed the complete apathy and how people – young and old were trapped in a destructive cycle of entitlement. I realised that if I wanted to see a positive change in the community, I would have to become involved and work towards the change Iwanted to see.
The community’s lack of self-esteem set me on a course to look for ways in which I could offer community members a change in negative mindsets and a new lease on life – something to live for. It was important to find ways to help improve emotional well-being and assist people to find the drive to rise above circumstances. By registering NEAD I founded a vehicle to launch a goal-oriented social-structure approach that drives empowerment.
An “I can do it” attitude pervades NEAD’s work and all our work focuses strongly on showcasing
positive changes in the community to the outside world. The positive outcomes of our work are
constantly being used as a means to encourage the community to reach for better, to start to
dream, to believe in their dreams and to empower themselves to achieve new possibilities.
What is a story that keeps you going?
NEAD has made impact in so many people’s lives over the years that it is difficult to choose one story over another, but one that stands out for us is how we could help Nazeerah Moosa achieve her learner license through Free Empowerment Learner License Project for Females (a project that has available Opportunities to get involved on the platform). Nazeerah’s personal story touched us deeply because she had been suffering so much on a personal level that she never even thought it possible to achieve something as ordinary as her learner license.
Her son Zakariyah was born with a severe case of HS (hereditary spherocytosis) and multiple protein defects with his red cell membrane. He had to get a blood transfusion every 2-3 weeks. 9 years later, he is 8 years post-bone marrow transplant survivor. He was only 18 months old and the second youngest to have a bone marrow transplant at that tender age. With so little knowledge about what was really laying ahead of his parents, the picture the medical world painted and the reality was far different. As parents, they only wanted what was best for their sick child – his health! They had to make tough decisions and a transplant was done from which the young boy developed acute graft and chronic graft disease (donor rejection) in his colon thrice in one year which was extremely difficult to treat. Nothing stayed in his body and he was tube-fed for months. He lost the ability to walk, then sit and eventually he was only laying down. Hospital was the family’s second home. With her son facing death, Nazeerah just hoped and prayed. As time went by her prayers were answered as Zakariyah started to recover, miraculously and slowly. His eldest brother, Muzzammil, was his hero as he turned out to be the successful bone marrow donor.
As if this was not enough pain and heartache for Nazeerah, four years ago her daughter Mumtaaz was born. While Nazeerah was in recovery, the baby was in Antenatal ICU and she only learned later that her heart almost stopped beating. An exchange blood transfusion was done and she was monitored. Tests and test, blood transfusions continued. As 3 months went by, Nazeerah developed postnatal depression. She was at her lowest point ever. It was so hard to accept another child had a blood condition. Months went by and she started accepting and putting trust in her Almighty, believing that her journey was chosen for her to continue. Currently, Mumtaaz is being hyper-transfused every 4 weeks to boost her growth and weight. Even without her transfusions, she cannot continue for long, it is a life and death matter. Mumtaaz is on the waiting list for an operation – removal of the spleen. Hopefully it won’t require any transfusions, but it doesn’t mean she is cured. There is no cure, it’s just to make her life a little bit better as she will be on penicillin for life
In Nazeerah’s own words: “I always wanted my driver’s license but due to all this drama and journey in my life, the obstacles, etc., tells another story. Then, I came across this page, NEAD community learners licence project. I signed up for it and went back the 2nd time, again and again. Joanie, you are an inspiration, motivator and everyone’s rock. Even when I felt down and read your “words of encouragement” I get up, get dressed and make sure “I stiek uit!”.