A fight against poverty. Kamogelo’s story of influence

By: L Gobozi

Growing up in poverty might have subjected a lesser person to a life of crime and drugs, not Kamogelo. His struggle while growing up, motivated him to stand firm in the fight against poverty.

2019 Activator, Kamogelo Themba, started his organisation- Compassion Foundation- in 2010. His objective was to minimise the struggle for his community, as much as possible. Compassion Foundation is a non-profit organisation that is divided into four sectors, the social, health and wellness, education and literacy as well as fighting drugs and substance abuse.

The social sector of Compassion Foundation deals with collecting old clothes- from generous donors- and food donations. These are then distributed to those who need them within the community. This part of the organisation has been extremely helpful to Kamogelo’s community in the time of covid-19. Compassion Foundation has also partnered with big retailers like Woolworths and Shoprite. These retailers donate food to Kamogelo’s community. Compassion Foundation is responsible for collecting these food donations and distributing them to the relevant people within the community. In his quest to end poverty, Kamogelo and his foundation have made this pillar a priority during this time.

The Health and Wellness sector is aimed at minimising the struggle for the elderly, while still making sure that they get their monthly prescribed medication even when health care facilities are too far away for them. Compassion Foundation collects the clinic cards of all the elderly people in the community, then they go and stand in the long clinic ques on their behalf. Once they’ve collected the medication, they take it to the owners and return the clinic cards. This is another area that is serving to assist with minimising the number of people on the streets during this time of covid-19. The elderly, who have a higher risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, get to avoid going to areas of high risk like the healthcare facilities and public clinics. Saved from walking long distance to get their medication, now the elderly in Kamogelo’s community also has a reduced chance of contracting covid-19.

The Education and Literacy sector deals mostly with assisting young people with their school work, projects and home work. This sector is responsible for after care school programs too. During lockdown, to make sure that young people don’t lose their morale, Compassion Foundation has been downloading school work from the previous three years and teaching the youth in the community. Keeping in mind that they have to conform to the regulations of lockdown, they never have more than 10 pupils per session. This initiative is very useful to those students who don’t have access to the internet, but would like to keep up with their education.

The final sector, Fighting Drugs and Substance Abuse, focuses mainly on community awareness campaigns that address the dangers of drugs and substance abuse. This sector has become inactive since the beginning of lockdown in attempt to comply with the lockdown regulations of avoiding large gatherings.

Kamogelo Themba says that he and four of his peers started the foundation in 2010, but it was not until 2019- after attending the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers ACD program- that he got more clarity on how to get his organisation registered and to give it more structure. Kamogelo heard about ACTIVATE! from a friend who is also an Activator who graduated in 2018. He says that his background has been the main motivation for him to make a difference in his community. Kamogelo has helped a lot of people in his Attridgeville community and he hopes to do much more.

“ACTIVATE! must get ready for a lot of applications from young people in my community after losckdown”, says Kamogelo. I hope that ACTIVATE! Change Drivers is ready for these dynamic young individuals who are here to drive change.

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