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Stellenbosch teen tackles child hunger

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One child is challenging other children to help her change her community, one hungry tummy at a time.

And all it takes to make a difference is a small portion of their pocket money.

Stellenbosch teenager Madeleine Basson, 13, recently launched Grumbling Tummies, an organisation which aims to feed poor children in her community so that they don’t have to go to school on an empty stomach.

Grumbling Tummies raises funds and hands over the donations to Feeding in Action, a non-profit organisation in Stellenbosch.

But instead of looking at big business to make her project a success, the teen is challenging other youngsters to forfeit some of their pocket money by asking their parents to make a credit card payment to the organisation instead.

“Grumbling Tummies is run by children, for children,” Basson said.

Starting small

Maddie, as she is affectionately known, got the idea from a primary school initiative at Laerskool Stellenbosch, where pupils would bring sandwiches on certain days for those who came to school hungry.

“I realised that I wanted to make it bigger so that life could be easier for hundreds of others,” she said.

Visits to feeding schemes in communities such as Kylemore and Lynedoch have been eye-opening for her.

“I didn’t realise that not all households are like my own. A few years ago I decided I need to do all I can to try to give others the same that I have. Grumbling Tummies is another way for me to do that,” Maddie said.

“It’s a lovely feeling to help someone else and to give something back to your community. It really makes one feel good inside.”

Money matters

Funds donated are pumped into Stellenbosch Feeding in Action, which feeds nearly 5 000 people per week.

Donations help the group to hand out food at 35 feeding points within the broader Stellenbosch community, while also supporting 25 community organisations.

And all it takes to support this initiative is a once-off or monthly donation of R20, R50 or R100.

On the recently launched website, click on the “donate” tab and follow the prompts.

The site also has a video with more details on the initiative and photos of some of the little ones who are benefiting from the feeding scheme.


Maddie’s proud mother Susan said she was delighted by her daughter’s project as she and her husband raised their children to remember to help others.

“We have quite a number of people who ring our bell asking for food. The kids call them our friends and know to make a sandwich if they are at the door,” she said.

“I think while Madeleine was aware that there are people in need in our community, she was unaware of the enormity of the problem and how many hungry children are out there. To go to school hungry is one of the worst things imaginable.”

Maddie said while the project is focusing on feeding youngsters only in Stellenbosch, she hopes one day to take the initiative to the rest of the province.

“I would like to get as many people involved as possible. In 10 years’ time I hope we could have people from every continent helping to make a change. That would be very cool.” News24

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