TOOWOOMBA Cricket Day - October 2016
Makarakota Everyone !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Toowoomba Cricket festival . The figures are in .We made $8703.39 for the ZIM AID fund - it's fantastic.The Best one yet. That is without the Cup of Coffee pledges which will take our efforts over $ 10000 .How good is that. This is $3000 more than last year and without your support and generosity this couldn't happen . To all the helpers, umpires, scorer, cooks, till ladies and everyone else Big Tatenda. From Alex, Fraser Ben Simon see you next year - save the date - 7th October 2017. See our photos on Facebook
ZAF Golf Day September 2016
Thanks everyone for all your generous support. It was a great day and over $24 000 was raised. Great to see so many familiar faces and a big thank you to James King and the Boomerang Farm Golf Club team for providing such a fantastic venue and for all their assistance. See photos on Facebook
UPDATE RECEIVED FROM LOUISE CAMPBELL
The situation in Zimbabwe is bad. Morale is low and it is a very sad place to be living in at present. No one is happy, and the waiting for something to happen, for improvement in living is just taking forever and ever. For years we have been saying that it can’t last forever, but it certainly feels that is going to be so.
The Government say they will introduce the bond note at the end of October and if we don’t want to use it we must not accept it. We don’t know how this will work because if there is no other money then what will people do? Sometimes we think an item is short, but then it appears on the shelves again and those items are butter, diet drinks, items that we do not supply to our pensioners, so our people are yet to go without anything. Jam seems to be short, and tinned tomatoes, but because we try and stockpile our groceries, we have not yet had a problem. Our supplier says that goods will not be as short as they were in the times when our shelves were absolutely empty. As with everything in Zimbabwe – we will have to wait and see.
Our oldies seem so much older these days, they are slow and stooped, quite a few are in walkers and we think this is just due to the unhappiness that we live with.
On the other hand, the help our pensioners receive is of great joy to them. This does not just involve the giving of groceries, but the support that each organisation can give, the network. One of our ladies who has been on our lists for many, many years lived in Bulawayo at a youth hostel, but when her husband lost his job they moved to her son in Mashonaland. Her husband died just weeks after arriving there, and eventually her son asked her to leave. She managed to find friends in Bulawayo to house her and she once again received her SOAP parcel. These friends also asked her to leave, as she has no money to contribute to her upkeep, except for $10.00 which she receives from The Legion and $50.00 which her brother sends from Australia – he is also a pensioner. She went back to Harare to stay with her husband’s family, but they have now left Harare and could not take her with. She was beside herself with worry and fear at being totally homeless. She telephoned us and through Di Charsley and SOAP Harare she has been homed at a tented camp just outside of Harare. She has said that she ‘thinks she has died and gone to Heaven’. I have never known Rose to have her own home so this has been a huge change to her living circumstances and SOAP Harare agreed to continue to supply her with groceries. We are grateful to everyone who helps us – even though we know there is only so much one can do, and that we should not get too emotionally involved, this is almost impossible when someone is in dire need.
Donations are extremely hard to find. Our donations dwindle more and more each year and, of course, we have to have money to continue supplying these groceries. This poses a great worry to us as we know what effect there would be if we had to stop the distribution of groceries to our old people. Even delivering the parcels a little later than normal starts panic in our oldies. They are on the phone trying to confirm that the parcels will be coming that day. Last delivery we dropped the parcel for Jeanette, but forgot to leave the newspapers she had asked for, so after the next delivery we went back and she was already heating up her spaghetti for lunch.
Our oldies are very, very grateful for the groceries they receive – one old lady tells us this is her only income!!
At present Zimbabwe Aid Fund is our greatest donor and if it were not for you and all your helpers we would surely not continue the distribution of groceries. We are in a good position with our supplier as we deposit $10 000.00 at a time with them and then we buy our groceries monthly, which they deliver and they also supply us with goods which are near to of just past expiry date. At the beginning of this month we were able to supply them with sparkling water and lemonade, which gives them a nice change and it is a bit of a luxury item. But having said that, we would still not be in a position to supply without Zimbabwe Aid Fund and we and our pensioners are forever grateful. Many people ask where the money comes from, and we have to say that we receive very little from within the country and that Zimbabwe Aid Fund in Australia keeps us going – so thank you one million times and more – you do not know what it means to the pensioners in Bulawayo – you are saving their lives right now!!
Thank you all for all your hard work.
Louise, the SOAP team and all our Recipients.
UPDATE RECEIVED FROM DELEEN DU TOIT
Dear S.O.A.P Friends and Supporters,
Hello again from the S.O.A.P Harare team in Zimbabwe.
The economic climate here has yet again deteriorated to dire conditions.The Zimbabwe government has put further restrictions on almost all imports (food included) to promote local industries. We are therefore expecting shortages as the local industries cannot meet the demand. Physical cash is scarce and even funds held in bank accounts are at risk due to the threatened introduction of 'bond notes' which should significantly decrease the value in US Dollar terms. We have therefore done our best to put as much funding into stock as possible in order to mitigate the negative impact of the above. For this same reason we request that our outside donors remit funds to Zimbabwe only as and when we require them. We will monitor the situation on the ground and will notify external donors with some notice for when funds are required.
However, despite the situation SOAP continues to operate - supplying food parcels to pensioners in and around Harare, Chigutu, Sherugwe, Ruwa, Marondera and Nyanga. The management team changed the SOAP eligibility age from 60 to 65 in order to ensure that recipients met the stipulated criterion of having lost their income during the hyper-inflation period and bank collapse. This measure protects SOAP from being looked upon as a replacement 'social service'. Notwithstanding these measures, the number of old age pensioners supported by SOAP has increased over the last two months - up from 230 to 240. This is due mainly to the fact that people lost their cash assets in the various bank collapses and liquidation of their fixed assets has been exhausted.
It is for this reason that the number of people living in tents at Cleveland Dam has increased to 14 from 10 last month. Pensioners who had previously been able to make a plan and cope, are now migrating to Harare from outlying areas where due to severe economic pressures mines and businesses have closed down or down-sized.
We are very pleased to report that SOAP Harare's financial base is currently sound insofar as there are sufficient funds to cover operating costs for the next four months through to November this year and strategically, in order to avoid too much money in the bank, funds were used for the purchase of 'long-life' dry goods for the same period and SOAP Harare's cash investment is not at risk.
Other than all that, the operation continues as normal - with a wonderful team of 35-40 volunteers who contribute their time and efforts so generously every month, working over a two day period packing and delivering. Storage, sorting, packing and distribution of the 'food parcels' is still done at/from the Athol Evans facility - for which we are most grateful.
Donors from within Zimbabwe include:
Crystal Candy who supply chocolate marshmallows every month
Eskbank often supply extra fresh vegetables
Global Plastics give us all the plastic bags required for packing
Imara Asset Management hold donated Old Mutual share on SOAP's behalf
Several individuals and companies give cash donations every month to a total of approx US$300 per month
Various items of clothes and linen are donated and distributed almost every month
Unexpected irregular surprise donations are made - in June this year
Inamo Agri based in Harare delivered 20 boxes of snap peas which were much appreciated.
Anonymous donations of US$750 and US$400 were received
And of course our regular very generous, greatly appreciated donors from outside of Zimbabwe
continue faithfully to support us to the tune of up to US$35 000
THANK-YOU to all our donors and volunteer workers!
Deleen Du Toit
UPDATE MAY 2016
(Excerpt from an email received from Louise Campbell)
Soap in Bulawayo is not doing very well at the moment and it does not seem likely that the situation will change any time soon. We have closed our lists, and only add those who are really desperate. Our numbers are going down, and it is our aim to keep those who have been relying on us for the longest of time, some for more than 12 years. It is hard to look away, but as things get worse here (and they are) more and more people are trying to get onto our lists. We have also had to discontinue the supply of vegetables and tinned meat, which cost us too much money – the vegies were costing $600.00 a month.
People are really finding life tough and there are many who are trying to raise funds for their various organisations in Bulawayo and we are not receiving donations from the Bulawayo community as we used to. It is also hard to raise funds here and unfortunately we do not have the manpower to take on the task of overseeing the raising of funds. We notice that other organisations hold activities to raise funds, a lot of time and work go into the organisation of the event and they will earn $2 000.00 to $2 500.00 which doesn’t even cover a month’s worth of groceries for us. We have to work by word of mouth and hope that someone will be terribly kind to us every now and again to keep us going for that little white longer.
If we do cut recipients from our list, the first to be excluded will be those at Coronation Cottages as they have a soup kitchen three or four days a week, but not all of our recipients eat there. They also run on donations and have a limit to how many people they can feed. It does quite often cause me sleepless nights!
We do try to supply our people with a good selection of long lasting foods, but lately there seems to have been a shortage of tinned spaghetti and jam. I try to order a little extra every month so that I know that for Christmas there will most definitely be a SOAP parcel to give to our oldies.
As always our old people suffer as living is hard – there is no money for maintenance of their homes and medical is also a problem for many of them. ‘Pay as you go’ meters for electricity have been installed in most houses in Bulawayo, but many, many of our oldies go for half the month or more without electricity because they just cannot afford it. It is a hopeless situation right now. We still distribute clothing and other household goods that are given to us and this is a bonus for our people as some of them become very, very scruffy.
Each food parcel costs approx US$30
Costing approximately US$3 000 per month – US$36 000 per year
They are no longer taking on new people unless really desperate
Zimbabwe Aid Fund Fundraiser
Wishing Gregg Petersen and his team all of the best as they start their EPIC mountain bike race this weekend. Many thanks to Gregg and all of your supporters for the very generous donations made to the Zimbabwe Aid Fund for the pensioners in Zimbabwe. To date we have received $3533. Good Luck and wishing you a safe trip!
Zimbabwe Aid Fund Fundraiser
On March 13th-20th this year, 4 of us will embark on tackling the worlds toughest Mountain Bike Stage race. We will cover over 647KM’s of Africa’s toughest terrain and climb a vertical ascent of 15,000m’s which is almost twice that of Everest in 8 days. For more details on the race see this video:
One of us will be my father who will be riding with me in a team and he is 69 years old. He is proving that age is just a number and speaking of numbers, we will be riding to raise funds for the elderly people of Zimbabwe. As you know, Zimbabwe’s currency is worth ZERO and thousands people invested all their retirement money in the now worthless Zimbabwe Dollar.
To make a donation and more on the Zimbabwe Aid Fund please use this link AND when donating in the Reference (Optional) line please use: Epic SOAP as your reference so we can track the amount raised. This is an AU$ account.
A HUGE thank you to Ratmir and Andrei from Veeam Software for making this possible. Without your help we would not be able to have done this, this year.
We really do appreciate all the support
MEA and SAARC
Skype ID: greggpetersen
We would like to thank-you all for your wonderful support received through this last year and to update you on the situation of the pensioners in Zimbabwe.
- ZAF continues to send all donations through to SOAP in both Harare and Bulawayo who between them support over 350 pensioners. The funds are used to purchase essential food items for the pensioners which are delivered on a monthly basis. Both SOAP's continue to carefully screen all applicants for assistance to ensure only the most deserving are being assisted. The work being done in Zimbabwe is all voluntary and 100% of your donations are being used to feed the elderly.
- Updates from the two SOAPS can be viewed above
- A big thank you to our monthly donors who together donate over $2000 a month to the pensioners. We are also continually amazed by the generosity of the one off donations received through the year. Thank you, the support is very much appreciated and is an enormous help.
- The annual golf day held at Boomerang Golf Club in September 2015 raised over $25 000. Thank you to all who attended and for all the assistance, donations of prizes and raffle items and support that we received. A special thanks to James King and his team at Boomerang Golf Club for all their help and support.
- The Toowoomba Charity Cricket Festival was held on Saturday the 3rd October 2015.This is the second year that it has been held and is now an annual event. Over $5600 was raised this year. We would like to thank Simon and Alex Lamont and all their helpers for organizing this fundraiser, a great day and a great effort.
- Finally thank-you everyone for your support. For anyone who has not received our acknowledgement of thanks and receipts for donations please let us have your email address as we have received donations but either have no contact details or our emails have been returned. Every donation no matter how much makes a big difference and is very much appreciate.
- Should you wish to make a Xmas donation our bank details are as follows:
The Zimbabwe Aid Fund
Updates information and our audited financial accounts are posted on our website. Please like us on Facebook if you wish to join our page and receive regular updates.
Our very best wishes to you all for 2016