A huge thank you to Outreach Foundation's champion, Monique Dalka!
During South Africa's level 5 lockdown, she embarked on an initiative to raise funds for food vouchers for Outreach Foundation.
She set herself a goal of walking 12km per day for 12 days. During the 12 days, however, she often walked more than her daily goal and would share what she found or saw along her walks on Instagram, and encouraged people to sponsor her walk.
At the end of May, she completed her Food Walk and when she tallied up her sponsorship for the walk, she had raised R70,000 – of which 2,500 Euro came from the Lutheran Church in Alsace, France!
We are extremely grateful to Monique for her selfless act and for raising much-needed funds so that we could purchase food vouchers for the needy.
~ Robert Michel, Executive Director for Outreach Foundation
A little background on Monique's involvement with Outreach Foundation:
Monique was there in the beginning, and in her words, she talks about her incredible connection to Outreach Foundation.
Kids week came about, if I remember, in 1999. At that time, my husband George was called to start the Lutheran Outreach Project with the support of Gertrud and Detlev Toensing who were the pastors of the Friedenskirche.
We knew we had to reach out. But how and to whom? We decided on kids first. The church of Peace in Hillbrow was like an oasis of peace amidst high buildings and noisy surroundings. We used this safe place and invited kids to come and participate in Kids' Week. The aim was to offer kids from 6-12 years the opportunity to experience the feeling of being special and of being loved by God. We did this through friendship, acknowledgement, games, learning songs together, listening to bible stories, talking about it, praying, doing handcraft, drama, dances, and sharing a meal. These Kids' Weeks happened three times a year during school holidays, and each one had a theme. One highlight for me was in the theatre where we offered individual prayers for the kids who asked for it. There was silence; a "holy" silence. I can still feel that sacred moment and place now. Another highlight was the celebrations in the Hillbrow Theatre where all parents were invited to come and see what the kids were doing. Also, the march through the streets of Hillbrow with posters and songs to reach out to other kids and to share their joy and messages of hope is another fond memory.
It was empowering and humbling to have witnessed Kids' Week grow from 20 to 50 to 100 and then to 350 kids, as well as the number of volunteers increase to more than 60. I am thankful for all the years of Kids' Weeks I experienced as they made me the person I am today. I also want to thank all the volunteers, including my own children who gave their time and energy as well as shared their faith, love and talents with the kids of Hillbrow.
Some time ago, I heard someone calling me while I was at Doppio Zero; "Auntie Monique!" I turned around and saw a handsome young man calling me. It turned out he was a little boy I invited to join Kids' Week during a march through Hillbrow many years ago. I did not remember, but he did. He is now studying at Damelin College. Tears of gratefulness gathered in the corners of my eyes. It made me think about whether we are aware of the power of our behaviour or our words? Or how our love for children and people in general, or even our trust in God and life can make a difference in someone's life.
In closing, I greet all the readers with the Kids' Week song that has been sung for many years: "Fear not for I am with you!" Bless you, Monique.
Again, we'd like to thank you, Monique, for your continued efforts in working for the people of the inner city and those that need assistance, and for being our champion!