When Olga Maseko retired in 2007 she decided that that was the last day she would hear a hungry child crying and started the Sizanani Feeding Scheme.
Now she and a small group of volunteers make lunch for 120 orphans and needy children in Mpophomeni every day. “It is so difficult to learn with an empty stomach, you can’t concentrate or participate, all that needs energy.” she says with determination. Local businesses donate food regularly and she recalls only one day in all these years where she was worried that there would be nothing to feed the children. “I came early to the kitchen and was sitting quietly wondering what I was going to say to the children when I heard a voice outside. I opened the door and there was a big truck with mielie meal, cabbage, butternut and potatoes – lots of wonderful food for us, my prayers were answered.”
They have started a little veggie garden too, so that there are fresh greens to add to the stew every day. They do not peel vegetables, even the butternut, knowing that much of the nutrition is stored close to the skin. “This saves a lot of work too!” she laughs.
Knowing that, even if your stomach is full, it is very difficult to grow up without getting love, Olga offers a shoulder to cry on and listens to the often painful stories that the children have to tell.