The primary mandate of Woodstock Improvement District (WID) is to provide safety, security and cleaning services in the Woodstock area. A big part that is sometimes forgotten about is the impact of social upliftment in the community.
Abigail Abrahams, Woodstock’s own Mother Teresa and WID social manager, is the lady behind the many heart-warming things that happen to help those in need. It’s a tough job to keep track of who needs help, but Abi does this by walking the streets, connecting with people in the area and getting to know each family and individual in need – personally. She also gets assistance from the WID drivers who drive her to hot spots in the area. She is so well-known and revered in the community that some of the vagrants even pop in at the office if they need advice or help.
Poverty and homelessness are big issues in Woodstock, as it brings all sorts of destructive activities to the area and the streets. However, these people are also our eyes on the street and are often willing to help as soon as they see that someone cares for them and actually want to help.
Over the years, WID has formed relationships with a few organisations so that they know who to contact when help is needed. St. Anne’s and ACVV help with assistance for mothers and children, and if they don’t have the capacity to help, Social Services (for children), or shelters like the Haven Shelter (for adults) are contacted. The ultimate goal is to get every person in need placed in a home or shelter, as there are currently 65 homeless people in the area and this is still increasing. WID also assists with getting IDs, going to SASSA to apply for grants, gives counselling and advice, refers clients to drug rehabilitation centres, and assists with typing CVs so unemployed people can find work.
To get a better understanding of why there are so many homeless people, it is important to understand how they got there and what the reasons are. Many of these vagrants are rejected by their families or they’ve come out of prison and land up on the street. Prostitution is also a big issue among the women on the street, as many of them see this as a way to earn enough money to support their drug addiction.
WID currently works with SAPS and other organisations in the community on a holiday programme that will start on 12 December. This programme will focus on child development and keeping children off the streets during the festive season. Pamphlets will also be handed out to raise awareness for the ‘16 days of activism for no violence against women and children’ United Nations campaign that kicks off from 25 November till 10 December.
In 2017, WID will focus specifically on providing those in need with food hampers and clothing. “If we can make these people feel good and look good, they should have more confidence to go for interviews or to go back to their families at home,” says Abigail. To make a success of this initiative, the help of the community will be greatly appreciated and will make a big difference. To do your part and give back this festive season, please donate old clothes by taking them to WID offices at 41 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock. For any other donations, or to help with volunteer work or projects during the holiday period and next year, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 021 462 7321.
Lastly, to keep Woodstock safe for everyone is a public effort and we’d like to ask every business and resident in the community to help us by giving us a call or sending us an email if there is anything we should know about. Let’s make this festive season a safe and blessed one for everyone in the area.