More than R150,000 worth of damage has been done to the Hillbrow premises of upliftment and empowerment organisation, Outreach Foundation, over the past weekend, said Executive Director, Robert Michel.
“We had, through generous donations, been able to purchase solar panels. These panels were to be the start of our self-sustainability project, and we were just about to channel much-needed funds usually used to pay for the running costs of the premises, such as electricity, back to our beneficiaries.
“But with the theft of the panels this weekend and the damage to our gate, we are back to square one. This theft will severely hamper our ability to care for the communities of Hillbrow. So much time and money will now have to be spent fixing the damage done.”
The thieves gained entry to the premises by breaking the gate in Edith Cavell street. They then tore apart the box containing the electrical connections between the solar panels and the premises and ripped off the solar panels from the roof. One of the panels was damaged during the theft and was left behind with the rest of the destroyed items.
The Outreach Foundation works to provide skills to the unemployed people of Hillbrow and especially to the youth. It provides well-run programmes such as
- Outreach Foundation’s Boitumelo Craft, the Outreach Foundation’s Hillbrow Theatre and Outreach Foundation’s Music School, which through arts education, skills development and creative programmes, enables young people and adults to find economic opportunities and develop life skills;
- The Outreach Foundation Computer Centre, which focuses on the technological side of creativity and trains learners in practical and essential computer skills;
- The Outreach Foundation’s counselling centre which provides essential counselling, care and support interventions to the community of Hillbrow especially in areas such as drug and alcohol abuse; and
- The Outreach Foundation Youth Centre which aims to educate and empower the youth of Hillbrow, to instil positive values amongst the youth, the help unlock their potential and contribute towards their inner healing. The centre also has a social worker who deals with personal issues affecting the youth. It also hosts youth week during the school holidays which aims to provide a safe space and things to do for the children during the holidays.
“We are appealing to those who may know something about the theft to go to the police. We are also appealing to the community to help us protect our premises so that we can continue to help as many people as we can,” says Michel.
For more information about Outreach Foundation or to help us with our work in urban communities, please go to www.outreachfoundation.co.za