Through the compassion and generosity of the Cape Town community, Muslims in an area called Porterville near Piketberg feel hopeful about their future.
In Ramadan, VOC News shared the story of this small destitute community trying to uplift the local children through education.
At the start of the month of fasting, VOC presenter Yusuf Fisher joined members of the Cape Town and Durban branches of the Refocus and Upliftment Foundation (RAUF) on a visit to the town. The group were confronted by a community living in bleak conditions and plagued by social ills.
Porterville has 12 Muslims families, with 28 adults and 30 children. There are also 20 foreign nationals. The local madrassah teacher, Ebrahim Van Wyngaard, is a revert who used to be a pastor of churches in Citrusdal, Piketberg and Porterville.
He started madrassah classes in a 6 x 4 wendy house in his own backyard. Fisher and the delegation found that most of the children did not have the appropriate attire for madrassa.
Following an overwhelming response due to the story on Facebook, the RAUF team were able to distribute Ramadan parcels to the impoverished community and donate basic madrassa supplies. Muslims donated generously and burkhas, tops and fezzes were handed to the kids.
The delegation returned to the community on Tuesday for the third time and was surprised at all the improvements at the local Madrassah.
“When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised, and it touched my heart to see all the changes that took place since my last visit,” said Fisher.
“During my first visit we found a 6×4 Wendy house which was used as a madrassa, it was just a bare Wendy house with nothing but three musallahs on the floor,” he added.
“Now there is a blackboard on the wall. There are also boxes of kitaabs as well as books for the children to write in. The madrassa also has some racks with Qurans including Afrikaans and English translations of the Quran. Alhamdulillah, the walls are filled with beautiful posters on how to perform salah and the Arabic alphabet. There is also a massive mat on the Kaaba that covers half of the wall,” he said.
Fisher said the changes could not have taken place without the support of residents and the broader Muslim community.
“We want to say shukran to the community for their kindness and how they opened their hearts to helping those in need. We can only thank the Almighty for allowing us to help those in dire need, he said.
He added that the Piketberg area has a bigger Muslim community who also faces many difficulties.
“When we visited both areas yesterday, especially the Piketberg area, I came to the realisation that we take so much for granted,” he said.
“There is nothing for the youth, no recreational facility. Youth are being pounced on and dragged into gangsterism. They have major drought problems and like many communities, drugs play a major role,” he said.
But he added that there were stories of inspiration and hope.
“I met a wonderful man who took on Islam and wanted to become an alim and he took the step to enrol himself into the Darul Uloom in New Castle. To me that was just a heart-warming story to listen to,” he stated.
Anyone who wishes to donate any items to the area is welcome to contact Imam Gasant Moos on 083 228 0394 or 021 762 1237.