Sunday, 23 February 2014

Because of you!

Stiaan is home for the weekend.

But this is not about Stiaan.  Just is just a short discussion about me being a charity nutcase.  And I guess Stiaan has all to do with it.

I don’t actually remember supporting any charities before Stiaan came along.  The only exception would be buying entries into the St John’s Ambulance competitions where one could win a car.  I always wanted to win a car.

And then came Stiaan.  And things changed.  And I started looking differently at charities.  Stiaan now lives in a home for disabled, an institution needing millions of rands every year in charity donations.

Since Stiaan came along our family supported all kinds of charities in different forms.  We have done the walks, got the T-shirts.  All for various causes.  Diabetes, breast cancer, save this monkey, save that bird.  Name it.  We’ve been running collection efforts like businesses, not always very successful but we always gave it our best shot.  We still do.  Only difference is that we now concentrate our efforts on the home where Stiaan lives.  There is only so much money that can go around, and we need to prioritise.  Casa Caritas is the place where Stiaan will live until the end of his life and that is why Casa Caritas is so important to us.  That institution needs to survive so our kid can survive when we are no longer there to take care of him.

Now, in the case of Casa Caritas you may ask:  Why do they need charity if the parents pay fees every month?  Yes, the parents pay every month.  Our bill for Stiaan easily runs over R5000.00 a month.  For some people this amount is pocket change, for others it is a LOT!  Then there are the “weggooi-kindertjies” as Irma refer to, the ones she every year at the Christmas party volunteer to buy a Christmas gift for if someone else haven’t done so already, the ones where the parents simply dropped them at Casa caritas and never came back.  Some of these kids were lucky and were “adopted” by biker-clubs and some of their needs attended to by these people with hearts of gold.  Yes, the same bikers whom are shouted at and screamed at all the time by some cagers, the same bikers whom so regularly stop at Casa Caritas to drop their donations, the same bikers whom are so easily treated as the scum of society.  But let’s leave the bikers for now.  Discussion for another day.  The point is, the parents can’t afford to pay for everything.

I once read a book written by a young lady whom mobilized millions of kids (and adults) with her charity efforts, and collected millions of dollars.  She still does.  In the book she makes it clear: You give, you get.  But very few people will be happy with just a “Thank you”. They want more in return for their donation.

All good and well.  Many charities can get beneficiaries to make some craft work as a gift, or sing a song to the donors, or even host a complete craft exhibition or concert, but how do you get 50 severely disabled persons, of whom most are on nappies or can’t feed or dress themselves, and I actually ran out of word here because I honestly can’t describe these kids.  Better you go out there and see for yourselves.  How do you get these 50 severely disabled persons to say “thank you”?

Easy.  Besides the "Thank you”, you also give a "Because of you" to the donor!

  • Because of you, I have a home to live in.
  • Because of you, I have somebody on hand 24 hours a day to change my nappy.
  • Because of you, we can employ qualified staff at a ratio of one staff member per resident, so we can have the best care ever.
  • Because of you, we can afford to employ managers, administrators and supports staff whom devote their time to us.
  • Because of you, we have people sitting in on management meetings, looking at our budgets and doing their best to make everything work.
  • Because of you, we have several donors, like you, with no ties to Casa Caritas, who will go out of their way to help use survive.
  • Because of you, we have enough money to pay our enormous water and electricity bill every month.
  • Because of you, we have at least three meals every day, and some snacks in between!
  • Because of you, I had a warm bath this morning.
  • Because of you, I slept in a warm bed last night.
  • Because of you, we have a generator for those days when the municipal electricity is down.
  • Because of you, our clothes get washed every day, and fixed if needed.
  • Because of you, we have alarm systems and security gates to keep us safe when we sleep.
  • Because of you, we have working television sets to keep our little minds entertained.
  • Because of you, we have a vehicle so we can be taken to a doctor should we become seriously ill.
  • Because of you, …

Because of you, Stiaan, I learned to give.  I also learned that the more you give, the more you get.  I also learned that you don’t necessarily get back in the same quantities than what you gave, you always get back more.  I also learned that you don’t always get back when you give, you sometimes have to wait for the return favour.  Thank you, Stiaan, for giving so much…