NGO plans to broaden horizons of youth

Fisher Women for Change members, from left, Nabeelah Karriem, Michelle Yon and Nazeema Davids.

A Hout Bay NGO is hoping to build on its soup kitchen roots to develop the youth of Hout Bay.

For the past year, Fisher Women for Change has run a bi-weekly soup kitchen, serving both seniors and school pupils. In addition, the six women who make up the organisation – Michelle Yon, Auriana Daniels, Josephine Arendse, Nabeelah Karriem, Nazeema Davids and Elizabeth Fish – have hosted educational outings for children.

It was only in July, however, that Fisher Women for Change was officially registered as an NGO.

“We are very thankful that two residents, Nadeema and Fuad Jacobs, have assisted us with food for our soup kitchen, but now that it is growing, we are increasingly having to fund it from our own pockets,” Ms Yon said.

“We feed the elderly at 1.30pm on a Tuesday and Thursday, and then the kids come for meals after school. We provide cooked meals, including hake, soup and rice.”

The organisation has also taken children on a camping trip to Soetwater, and in conjunction with the Cape Leopard Trust, conducted an environmental awareness campaign at Silvermine.

“With sponsorship from Mariner’s Wharf, Sea Freeze, GMC Construction and the Workspace, we held a Christmas party for 80 kids. This was followed with a burger day in June. We also took the kids on excursions to Cape Town International Airport and a careers expo at Athlone Stadium, which was hosted by (Community) Safety MEC Dan Plato,” Ms Yon said.

On Heritage Day this year, September 24, Fisher Woman for Change will be hosting a coastal clean-up campaign in Hout Bay.

And this year, the women would like their Christmas party to be held over three days.

“We want to expose our kids to places other than Hout Bay, so they can start to broaden their horizons. There are some children in the community who haven’t even been to Wynberg before. That’s why over the Reconciliation Day weekend we want to take them out to new places in Cape Town.

“We decided to register as an NGO because we have experienced problems with getting sponsorship. You need to be formalised if businesses and members of the public are going to help you. We want to bring change in this community, and we need the government to see that efforts are being made to create proper, structured organisations for this purpose.”

The soup kitchen remains the NGO’s core operation, but due to financial constraints, Ms Yon is forced to run it from home.

“We are in desperate need of a gas stove and cylinder, as well as a fridge and freezer, and we are appealing to members of the public and businesses to donate these appliances.”

However, with their sights now set on youth development, the women are also in need of a computer, printer and a television or projector.

“We need to get the kids off the streets, and our idea is to screen educational documentaries on subjects they might be interested in. These would be held over weekends and it would give them something to do.

“We’ve already had representatives from the International Ocean Institute giving talks to children in IY and Hangberg, and that’s something we would like to build on, with more speakers coming to Hout Bay.”

Businesses and members of the public who wish to assist can contact Michelle Yon on 074 285 5473 or