A message of hope from a Holocaust survivor and the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation
On Saturday, 28 February 2015, hundreds of children from various charities in Soweto, including Bubbly’s Day Care, Bongani Community Development Centre and Santu HIV/AIDS Relief Project welcomed author and Holocaust survivor, Tomi Reichental, to hear about his brave journey to forgiveness. The charities are supported by the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation (NCCF).
80-year-old Reichental is a well-known Holocaust survivor, who now lives in Ireland. Reichental shares his story of the unimaginable atrocities he suffered during World War II in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a young boy, with the intention of spreading the message of healing through forgiveness.
Transport for Reichental’s trip to Soweto was generously provided by Uber. One hundred children from the Waterwax Squatter Camp gathered at their community hall to hear his story of wartime loss, including the deaths of 35 family members in Bergen-Belsen. The group of children from Bongani Community Development Centre are currently studying World War II in their history class, and were provided with more knowledge from hearing Reichental’s story.
In his own way, Reichental managed to recover from his losses, and even reached out to meet and extend a hand of forgiveness to one of his jailers. This was captured in the award-winning documentary, Close to Evil.
About the Nashua Children’s Charity Foundation
The NCCF supports 58 charities, through the distribution of food, cleaning materials, toiletries and educational equipment. The foundation’s focus is on the well-being of children, and their work is premised on providing sustainable solutions, not handouts. An example of the sustainable programmes implemented by the NCCF is planting vegetable gardens in poverty-stricken townships to provide a constant supply of fresh vegetables.
The NCCF currently feeds more than 6 000 children monthly, through 500 000 meals: two meals a day and a school lunch pack for every child. Their reach extends to special needs schools, day care centres and pre-schools. The NCCF’s building and renovation efforts aim to create workspaces that serve both the caregivers and children. In 2014, the team installed kitchen and toilets for a day care centre and undertook their biggest build ever with the construction of Maphindi’s Day Care and Pre-School.
In addition to its contributions within the communities it supports, the foundation also takes children on sponsored outings to places like, Sun City and the Pilansberg Game Reserve. Reichental’s visit was an extension of these enrichment projects – a way to expose children to the strength and courage of others.