The morning of the 17th of August saw women from all walks of life coming together under one roof to celebrate each other. Although what brought them together was a delicious breakfast prepared and served by the amazing women from the children’s home, the main aim of the event was to help fund the St. Philomena’s Children Home.
As the women danced and sang along to the golden oldies in unison, a proud display of ‘Ubuntu’ was evident throughout the event as everyone instantly became sisters to each other. Stories that broke some of the women when they were mere children, gave others the courage to embrace their past and help build for the future.
Singer Ashleigh along with her angelic voice and moves that got everyone off their seats, brought entertainment and good vibes for the day. She took everyone back in time as they reminisced on past memories, despite their stories which were a daunting experience. Beyond everything else, the women still found solace among themselves and made the breakfast a resounding success.
Speaker from the ‘Broken Crayons Still Colour’ and pastor of her own ministry Pastor Chetty, gave a very heart-rending talk about her childhood as a form of an ice-breaker. This was a way to teach women on the art of forgiveness and letting go on things that haunt them especially if they date back to their childhood phase. Her deeply personal story lead a few women to tears as their similar pasts resonate with each other. She then proceeded to an activity that had a very significant yet underlying message to every woman who might have been broken by her past experiences.
‘Broken crayons still colour’ is a name she chose for her foundation and also a life lesson for many. She gave each woman a piece of paper with a flower drawn and a single crayon. She then instructed women to keep their heads down and listen to only her voice. As the they coloured in their pictures, she would randomly instruct the women to break their crayons and use the biggest piece to continue filling in the page with colour.
At one point she told the ladies to exchange the piece of crayon with the person seated next to them and continue colouring before bringing it back to the original owner. “The point of this exercise was to show you that sometimes it takes another broken person to help heal and complete another,” as she explained.
She and along with other homes host event every weekends and stressed that they do not only do good on special occasions such as women’s day. However, helping other people and children heal as well as rebuild themselves is their life’s mission and shall continue to do so exceptionally.
Other speakers taught the women about healthcare and having the knowledge of their bodies and families in order to ensure their longevity. A woman from the audience wept as she spoke about her family’s chronic diabetes that seems to be affecting her and the family. “Sometimes as women we put our families first and our well-being is put at the backburner,” said the doctor, as the room was filled with a slight scuffle; a clear indication that most of the women relate to her statement.
This phenomenal event was made possible by the sponsors and people who played their part in purchasing the tickets, and as mentioned earlier, their sole objective was to assist the home with much needed funds.
St. Philomena is a children’s home that was established in the 1800s for the core purpose of caring for orphaned children. Today they have moved to Syndenham, Durban, where they care for 29 girls from ages between 6 to 18 years.
Speaking to Devena Meth, she informed us about the challenges they face as a non-profit organisation, with the main one being their monthly bills. While the amazing work they do for taking care of young girls is being jeopardized by the lack of funding, they always try by all means to ensure the smooth running of the home and that the children do receive the basic supplies which they desperately need for a living.
They also outsource their building for UKZN students as accommodation. This is to help generate more funds that not only help the orphaned children but contribute towards paying the trained staff that care for the girls. The female students from UKZN often assist the girls with anything they would need and strive to create a sisterly bond as they teach girls about the basics of being females.
St. Philomena is not only home to orphaned kids but it serves as refuge for children coming from abusive homes. They are in serious need of financial assistance from any donors or government in order for them to keep their home open for other children in the future as well.
For more information on St. Philomena’s and the extraordinary work they do, visit their website and donate to help reach their basic mandate.