As many of you may have heard, Knysna in South Africa – the hometown of EDGE of AFRICA was badly affected by an uncontrollable bush fire brought on by severe winds on the 7th June 2017.
In response to the devastation and that ensued, over 10 000 people were evacuated from their homes and an estimated 3000-4000 people lost everything they own.
Our personal home was unaffected as was our new beautiful volunteer house. Our current volunteers were kept with my family throughout the ordeal and although it was traumatic for them, they were not in any immediate danger. They have since been assisting sorting and distributing donations to the victims of the fire, and sleeping because they are exhausted.
The logistical support that our town has received has been overwhelming and heart warming. The nation and the world have come together showing combined strength and support for the victims. It is extremely humbling to know that there is so much love in the world and it brings an immense sense of unity and strength to people at a time when they most need it.
The fires have been contained in Knysna, there are over 1000 firefighters on the scene, we have so many heroes in our little town at the moment we are incredibly grateful that they are risking their lives to keep us safe.
The one thing that stands out is the resilience of the people affected. Nothing can prepare a person for a natural disaster like this, it is something that you always hope will only happen in the movies, but people have begun to plan rebuilding their lives already. They have pulled together to help where they can, unconditionally. Although it is a shocking event that we hope is never repeated, I feel a huge amount of gratitude to be part of the Knysna community and extremely proud to be South African.
I have been receiving many requests from people who want to help in any way they can. The immediate needs are the following:
- Eye drops;
- Energy drinks;
DHL, Postnet and Aramex are offering a free delivery service to Knysna. If you live anywhere in South Africa, you can post donations directly to Knysna Relief and the relevant people will receive it and distribute.
If you would like to make a monetary contribution, we are setting up an EDGE of AFRICA Knysna Fire Relief Fund to assist with both immediate needs (including baby supplies, toiletries, sleeping bags, water etc).
We are also focusing on what we do best which is to EMPOWER, RESTORE and VOLUNTEER. For volunteers who are planning to join us in the near future, there is more work to do than ever before in rebuilding our community – we need manpower and positivity.
We are also fundraising to assist with some of the homes that were lost in the most disadvantaged parts of the community and provide disaster relief wherever it is needed. Many people lost the very little that they have and we wish to support them in any way we can. We will be working with local authorities in this regard.
Our projects need to continue to provide opportunity and hope. We lost many Swop Shop donations and most preschool educational material as well as sports equipment and books and we are looking to replace this in time although it is not an immediate priority.
Please contact me for details if you feel you would like to be involved or if you need any further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the fire:
‘Alone we can do so little, Together we can do so much!’ –Hellen Keller
EDGE of AFRICA