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Money woes for bus crash survivors

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IOL NS FIELDS HILL T12

Independent Newspapers.

People pray in front of crosses for the dead at the foot of Fields Hill. Picture: S'bonelo Ngcobo.

Durban - Forty families, including 21 children, who are survivors and relatives of the Field’s Hill accident victims, will have a bleak Christmas as donations from the public have dried up.

The survivors – some cannot work because of their injuries – have been desperately knocking on the doors of non-profit organisations, including the Field’s Hill Helping Hand Organisation, for assistance.

Many of the families depended on weekly food parcels and they have not received any parcels for the past four weeks, said Karen Janisch, who heads the organisation.

“We have had desperate calls for help,” she said. “Our families need food for the festive season and we would like to encourage those who would like to assist to do so,” she said, mentioning one man who was injured in the crash.

“He said he had no more money and needed to provide for his family. His wife has just given birth to a baby boy.”

The organisation put out a plea for assistance on its Facebook page, and the new dad was offered part-time jobs within the community.

“But this is just one of many families who are desperate,” said Janisch.

She added that two women survivors were on the verge of losing their jobs as they had not been able to return to work after the horrific September 5 crash which claimed 24 lives.

“They have come to a point where they have utilised all their sick and annual leave and have been informed by their company that they will not be getting paid until they return to work.

“They don’t choose not to be at work, but are forced to remain at home because of their severe injuries. They have regular visits to King Edward hospital and supply a progress report from their doctor to their employer regularly.”

Nomthandazo Gabala, who injured her leg and mouth, said her boss was initially understanding about her situation, but recently gave her an ultimatum to return to work or lose her job.

“I’m trying to get better, but I can’t go back to work until my doctor says it’s okay for me to do so,” she said.

Janisch said most of the survivors who lost their jobs as they could not return to work because of their injuries, needed assistance with school fees, stationery and school uniforms.

“We would like to appeal to the public and small and large companies for assistance,” she said, adding that none of the government departments had stepped in to assist after the accident.

“The collection points are no more and we would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Pick n Pay, Spar and the smaller shops that assisted us with food collections.”

Janisch said Nedbank recently came on board, offering financial sponsorship for school fees, stationery and school uniforms to the children who lost parents. “The school fees are an added bonus, but the families need food, especially for Christmas Day.”

People wanting to make donations can contact the organisation via e-mail: thefieldshillaccidentfund@gmail.com or make a deposit through their banking details:

Acc Name- Rotary Club of Kloof

Bank- FNB

Acc No- 50730449226

Branch No- 221526

Ref- FHHH and your name

Independent on Saturday


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