Forty-three Personal Assistants (PAs) from various Western Cape Government departments spent their community outreach day at Heaven’s Shelter House in Mitchells Plain on 9 December 2014.
During their Professional Secretarial Learning Programme at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), the PAs undertook to plan and execute an event during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. After presentations from various shelters, the PAs chose to make a difference at Heaven’s Shelter House, a registered non-profit organisation (NPO) that has provided services to abused women and children since 1998.
On the day, the PAs built a vegetable garden in crates with help from the Department of Agriculture and a sand pit for the children to play in. They painted murals and did some minor building maintenance. The PAs entertained the children with various activities. They also donated food, toys and an amount of R18 000 to pay outstanding water accounts. The cash was collected at various fundraising events during the past three months.
Geraldine Smith, a PA at the Department of Transport and Public Works, said the participants were inspired by the outreach activities.
“We are humbled to have made a difference. The initiative brought us closer to one another. This place will live on in our minds and hearts. We will continue to support these people, so it does not stop here,” said Smith.
Zulpha Morris, founder of the shelter, said the day left her feeling overwhelmed.
“We are grateful to the PAs for their love and support. It left us emotional and full of joy. We will treasure the difference they made here for many years,” she said.
Beryl Liebetrau, head of the Graduate Centre for Management at CPUT, said the outreach initiative was a good example of teamwork.
“Putting value back into communities was a key component of the PAs’ project management initiative. They chose a worthy cause that they care about. Their personal contributions will remain here,” she said.