A young man from Sunnyside rallied around to organise food hampers, clothing and money to two destitute families from Phomolong informal settlement in Mamelodi East on Sunday.

The Sithole family lost everything they owned in a shack fire in December, while the Makitla family are unemployed and depend on handouts to survive while raising a disabled three-year-old child. The generous donation was made by Tshepo Mmakanyane (22), founder of Tshepo Art and Projects, in partnership with Balcony View and Sunnypark shopping centre.

The families were overwhelmed with joy and happiness after they received the donations.

Mmakanyane said a close friend helped trace the family that lost everything in the fire.

This came after he saw the article about Sithole family a week before celebrating Christmas.

“I wanted to help the family because it was heartbreaking to see a family losing everything they owned in a fire,” said Mmakanyane. He said the community of Phomolong informal settlement also helped the family to rebuild their six-room shack. The Sithole family narrowly escaped death and looked on helplessly as the fire burned everything they owned to ashes.

“We have put ourselves in their shoes and really feel pity for those living hopelessly in poverty,” said Mmakanyane. Elizabeth Sithole (55) said Tshepo Arts and Project should continue assisting the needy. She said it should not end with the family of Sithole but continue assisting other families too.

Unemployed Maria Makitla (42), grandmother of a three-year-old disabled child, said the generous donation came at the time they really needed it.

“We were struggling a lot since we are raising a disabled child who is unable to walk, sit, talk or play with other children like any other child,” said Makitla.

The mother of the child is also unemployed and could not further her studies. Makitla family are yet to register the child for a disability grant.

Mmakanyane said they would assist the Makitla family to start a business to help put food on the table.

He said that the Tshepo Arts and Projects would continue serving and assisting destitute and needy families and also encouraged community members to help identify needy families as well as donating food and clothes.