Al-Imdaad FoundationAL-IMDAAD FOUNDATION
29 Jul 2016

With a successful series of flights in 2015 that saw distributions of winter blankets targeting four hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal’s uMkhanyakude district, the repeat of the programme was agreed upon by all parties. This year, blankets and winter hats were flown in for distribution at the East Griqualand and Usher Hospital on the outskirts of Kokstad…

With a successful series of flights in 2015 that saw distributions of winter blankets targeting four hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal’s uMkhanyakude district, the repeat of the programme was agreed upon by all parties. This year, blankets and winter hats were flown in for distribution at the East Griqualand and Usher Hospital on the outskirts of Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal’s Harry Gwala District. The East Griqualand and Usher Hospital is a 205-bed district hospital situated on the outskirts of Kokstad, alongside the main road to Matatiele. It serves patients from Kokstad, Swartberg, Franklin and Umzimkulu in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as patients from Mt Ayliff, Ntabankulu, Mt Frere and Bizana in the Eastern Cape. Beneficiaries of the distribution included members of impoverished rural communities served by the hospital. Areas around Kokstad can become especially cold during the winter months and the experience of this cold is often compounded by abject poverty and illness. For rural dwellers, winter is often a time of great hardship and the comfort they receive from an additional blanket is greatly appreciated. It is an added blessing that the distribution came ahead of the heavy snowfalls of July 23 and 24, which also affected the Kokstad area. Al-Imdaad Foundation’s Abed Karrim explained that: “The distribution was an extension of the Al-Imdaad Foundation’s Operation Winter Warmth campaign which sees thousands of blankets distributed each year to needy communities across South Africa’s nine provinces.” “Last year, following a three-way agreement between the Al-Imdaad Foundation, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health and Air Mercy Services, the winter warmth campaign was given the opportunity to take to take to the skies.” Project co-ordinator, Ml Muhammed Mather, was part of the team that represented the Al-Imdaad Foundation during the distribution at the hospital. He said: “The distribution was a very heartwarming affair, and it brought together the whole community.” He described how off duty SAPS officers took time out to bring in disabled members of the community to receive blankets. He also said that fire services played their part by rounding up homeless children in the area to come in for the distribution. Yusuf Vahed who was the Air Mercy pilot on the occasion, was flying a Pilatus PC-12, which was loaded with blankets and winter hats. He landed at the Kokstad Airfield on July 21, ahead of the day’s distribution after taking off from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport earlier that morning. Through their combined efforts for the second year running, the Al-Imdaad Foundation with the logistical support of Air Mercy Services were able to share warmth with extremely needy beneficiaries from Kokstad and surrounding rural areas. It is hoped that more joint projects of this nature can continue to benefit impoverished rural communities in South Africa well into the future.For more information or to support our Winter Warmth campaign and other projects please visit www.alimdaad.com or call 0861 786 243. (courtesy of Estcourt News)
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