Above: L to R Clive Fox (Edgemead) Merriman Lions President, volunteer Rozita James (Richwood), Johanna Kotze Founder of Locals Helping Locals, volunteer Annemarie Wijsbroek and Tessa Tovell.

by Clive Fox

Mrs Johanna Kotze of Locals Helping Locals based in Bothasig has received the Louis Volks Humanitarian Award from Merriman Lions Club (Goodwood). The project materialised two years ago as a result of Mrs Kotze witnessing two pensioners being unable to pay for their meagre purchases in a local supermarket. After paying the R27 amount due she spoke to them and discovered their dreadful plight in trying to survive on very little income.

Finding volunteers to assist her, Mrs Kotze was able to help the couple in so many ways that the quality of their life was considerably improved.

Today her project is helping many struggling families and individuals in Bothasig, Richwood and Goodwood and is being generously supported by many donors.

An original way of generating support is the swop system which through the project’s Facebook page offers to swop useful donated items for food.

Merriman Lions President, Clive Fox, explained that working with Locals Helping Locals is a delight as everything contributed is quickly reflected on their FB page so that anyone can see what is being done. The Lions are also involved in a community feeding scheme and therefore both projects are able to willingly assist each other. Resultantly, the relationship between the two groups has been formalized, but Locals Helping Locals will continue operating independently.

He went on to explain that the Humanitarian Award is the highest South African award that a club can present and that it honours the late past district governor, Dr Louis Volks, whose dedication pioneered the introduction of Lions Clubs in Southern Africa. The award recognises dedicated and distinguished community service which exemplifies the ideals of the International Association of Lions Clubs.

Anyone wishing to support and learn more about Locals Helping Locals may contact Johanna Kotze or check out their Facebook page.

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