Cape Town - Two Cape Town teens have made it their mission to bring about change in communities by spreading goodwill and feeding hundreds.
Founding members of the Intsapho Teen Movement, 18-year-old Chaye Almacin and her sister Jayde, aged 15, are particularly keen to create a healthier and higher quality of life for underprivileged youth.
The sisters from Plumstead, both students at Norman Henshilwood High School, founded the non-profit organisation after losing a close friend to cardiomyopathy in 2019, they told the African News Agency (ANA).
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which makes it harder for the organ to pump blood to the rest of the body. It can lead to heart failure.
Losing their friend brought home to the teenagers, the importance of valuing life and living it to the full. They also drew inspiration from their parents who have a history of helping the underprivileged.
“They have been feeding people since 2012 when I was seven and Jayde was five. We would go out on winter nights and give the homeless food,” Chaye said.
“They have inspired us since we were very young and taught us to be unselfish in our ways and to never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.”
Reading about a young boy who needed help in a local newspaper also prompted the girls to embark on their own journey of helping the community.
On Youth Day on June 16, they went out to the Flamingo Crescent informal settlement in Lansdowne and handed out 360 pairs of pre-used shoes for adults and children, with each child also getting a party packet. In addition, the teenagers also dished out servings of akni, a local Malay rice dish made with either chicken or mutton.
Twice a week, the Intsapho Teen Movement feeds about 600 people and supplies the homeless and needy with essential toiletries, clothing and blankets.
Chaye, who is currently in Grade 12, hopes to study humanitarian law to help her on her quest to help others, while 10th grader Jayde wants to be a flight attendant and travel the world to see where the greater need for assistance is.
Both devout Christians, the girls try to live by a favourite bible quote from the book of Proverbs which talks about a woman who “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy”.
“We live by this as Christians ... We try our best to act out on what Jesus' example teaches us to show unconditional love to everyone we meet,” they told ANA.
Their mother Wendy Almacin often drives her daughters around to perform their acts of service, and could not be prouder of them.
Running the non-profit organisation has not been easy and the teenagers have largely relied on donations, sometimes having to dig into their own pockets to keep going.
Regardless of the challenges, they would not want to do anything else.
“Seeing the smiles on people’s faces and feeling the thankfulness that they show really inspires and also shows us that we're using our privilege as teenagers to help others and that motivates and pushes us,” they said.
The teenagers believe that a society can only work well when everyone contributes something to it, and are urging other young people to get involved in projects within their communities.
“Teenagers that engage in community activities will harness their communication, managerial skills and leadership,” they told ANA.
“The inspiration would be the satisfaction of seeing people happy and with that comes spiritual fulfillment. It also boosts your self confidence, self esteem and natural sense of accomplishment.”
African News Agency (ANA)
The Cape Argus is also running it’s Starfish Project which seeks to identify and amplify those voices in our most distressed communities who help keep young people away from crime.
Like the story of the starfish, it is about helping to save those we can. If our project resonates with you, the Cape Argus offers a platform for you or your organisation to tell your story.
We invite non-political community groups, NGOs and individuals to share with us what they do to help turn young people away from crime. Join the Cape Argus Starfish Project by emailing your full name, address and contact details to [email protected]