Children at the 1000 Hills Community Helpers Centre

Children at the 1000 Hills Community Helpers Centre

It’s a strange thing, to think what drives someone to devote their life to the good of others, while most of us just struggle to look after ourselves and our immediate family. But for Dawn Leppan, the community in need was her family, having grown up in Drummond, overlooking the Valley of a Thousand Hills. While its name hints at the beauty of these rolling hills located about 40 kilometres outside of Durban, it belies the abject poverty that many of its residents live in. With the population devastated by the HIV/Aids pandemic, many of the children in the area are growing up without proper caregivers, or even worse, are themselves infected with the virus.

1000 Hills Community Helpers ambulance

1000 Hills Community Helpers ambulance

Dawn, who’s affectionately referred to as ‘Maduma’, began working in the area in 1989, and what started out as a simple feeding scheme, has evolved into the impressive NPO, 1000 Hills Community Helpers, that cares for as many people as there are hills in the valley! With a pre-school and creche educating and feeding 350 children, five days a week, as well as a permanent feeding scheme for the surrounding community, Dawn helps to ensure that the basic needs of the area are met. The centre also houses a fully equipped clinic which has access to an ambulance, and  social workers offer home-based care to people in the area. Finally skills development training for adults empowers mothers and fathers from the Valley so that they are better able to look after themselves and their families.

Images courtesy of gagauksavisit2012.blogspot.co.za and 1000hch.wixsite.com