School supplies, building material donated to Hillview fire victims

Cape Town – Hillview residents who had a bleak Christmas after their shacks were razed by a fire have finally received much-needed material to rebuild their homes and their lives.

No one knows what started the fire which displaced more than 100 people on December 24.

On Tuesday, residents were shocked to hear that the City of Cape Town and the Gift of the Givers were paying a visit to donate school supplies as they expected the national Human Settlements Department.

Community leader Aysha Davids said they were devastated to hear that the local government no longer supplies starter kits to fire victims.

“We spoke to the national office and they promised us they would bring the building material and yesterday they did.

“Some people managed to rebuild with the old iron sheets because they had nowhere to go. We are grateful that the people have what they need.”

Raekeya Hendricks with Gift of the Givers Pamela Kaptain. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Human settlements Mayco member Carl Pophaim said: “We collaborated with the humanitarian NGO Gift of the Givers to provide essential assistance to school learners and their families affected by the devastating fire that swept through Hillview informal settlement in December.

“In this joint initiative, the aid is timely as the school year begins, offering support to those directly impacted by the recent tragedy.

“Yesterday’s partnership with Gift of the Givers is a testament to our commitment to the well-being of our communities. In the face of adversity, we stand united to bring hope and support to those affected by the Hillview fire.

Gift of the Givers spokesperson, Ali Sablay said when they visited and did their assessments the parents were concerned about the school uniforms and stationery as many couldn’t afford to buy new items.

“Children either use uniforms from two to three years ago, or parents save for months to buy and Hillview and Jim se Bos parents told us they had already purchased the school supplies and it was painful to hear that.

“As part of our Back to School programme we made these two places our priority, where we decided to assist each and every fire victim uniform which was proudly sponsored by Jet and we are going to visit other areas.”

Fire victim Michelle de Wet said they are glad that they got help.

“We have about 70 children who were affected. We are now going to be accommodated, people have been sleeping outside for about a month. I would like to thank those involved, including our councillor Mandy Marr.”

Pophaim emphasised the crucial need for direct access to disaster funding for effective emergency response and mitigation.

“Access to disaster funding is paramount for our emergency response efforts. We will continue to urge the National Minister of Human Settlements to consider decentralising disaster relief funding.”

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