Pretoria - Women’s Month has been twofold for philanthropist Boipelo Bopape, who was honoured for her work of giving to others.
Owner of Gershom Foundation, the 30-year-old mother of two was honoured at the recently held SA Heroines Awards held in Sandton.
Under the category “spiritual space”, she bagged the award for representing women in faith and ministry.
Another award she bagged was for philanthropy for her work in the community.
Her foundation does charity work, donating food parcels and clothes, among others, to local communities.
It also recognises women in communities who “make an impact to better the lives of those around them”.
The Soshanguve-born Bopape, who was raised by her bishop grandparents, started the foundation a decade ago after completing matric when she faced life challenges which inspired her to establish the NGO.
“After completing my matric, I experienced life challenges and lived a life of lack, which inspired me to establish this foundation to help beneficiaries that faced similar constraints as I encountered.
“Gershom Foundation is a biblical name, meaning the eldest son of the Levites,” she said.
She added that Gershom’s main focus was to adopt beneficiaries and donate essential items for individuals to survive.
“As I was giving and donating generously to individuals, churches, homes and community entities, more people started reaching out in need of help and that’s how it started.”
The foundation has already adopted other organisations under its belt. They include Shining Star Ministry, Food for Toddlers, Great Light International and Luvuyo Orphanage.
It also donates food hampers, honorary certificates and walking sticks for people living with disabilities, and to Life Changing Projects, which caters for drug-addicted individuals, as well as the Maja Old Age Home, where it donated groceries, blankets, curtains and clothes.
Bopape explained that she rose by empowering herself through tertiary education and now holds a national diploma in business management, a higher certificate in management, public administration and legal secretary qualifications.
“The foundation has been operational from 2013 whereby giving was a norm in my family.
“My grandma would cook in big pots on weekends and feed the vulnerable families in our area, but only became fully compliant in 2020.
“I was encouraged to start the foundation after seeing people in my community poverty-stricken, afflicted to survive and live off the little they had,” she said.
Asked how the foundation survived, she said she sourced funds and personal belongings from family and friends to help those in need.
“In 2020 we were able to host our first honorary community awards for community workers and pupils living with disabilities whereby we donated 86 walking sticks, clothes, food hampers and certificates.
“We were also recognised by the South African Heroines Awards Foundation and were awarded for serving our community,” she said.
Running an NGO does not come easy, but with financial constraints to be fully operational.
“Operating without financial support has become a challenge for the foundation … another challenge has been forming partnerships with people who have different perspectives in the running of the non-profit organisation.
“We also have a problem in delivering everything we wish to provide for our beneficiaries,” she said.
“Timothy 4:12 says don’t let anyone despise your youth, kill your dreams and ambition, allow no one to divert your plans nor desires instead strive to be the best version of who God says you are,” Bopape said to all women.