Gail Johnson, the foster mother of late Aids activist Nkosi Johnson, and Daniella Ramos, a day care student, have opened their hearts to helping those in need in a different way – by celebrating the birthdays of those youngsters who are left out and neglected.
With the help of communities and the kindness of volunteers from different walks of life, cakes, presents, warm filling meals and snacks that tickle the taste buds are contributed to celebrating the birthdays of those at the Nkosi’s Haven Village, situated in Johannesburg South.
Birthdays are celebrated all over the world – this is a day that most people look forward too, especially children. “We try to celebrate the birthdays all the members of our family every month,” said Johnson.
The aim is to have the number of volunteers present at these parties to grow over the years, so that there are between 20 and 40 volunteers who are willing to help out each month.
They first celebration was held on 2 March this year, and further birthday celebrations will be held on the first weekend of the month. At present, the birthday celebrations at Nkosi’s Haven will take place on a ‘one month on, one month off’ basis, though this could change once there are more volunteers.
Nkosi’s Haven gives their residents the time to celebrate that one day of the year where we all look back and reflect on what we have accomplished and what is yet to come.
For this eventful day means that one gets to warm the hearts of both the unfortunate and themselves, spending a day filled with love, laughter, gifts and games. “This is why we would like to bring the celebrations to the Nkosi’s Haven Family. They have so much to look forward too and have been giving the chance to live and do great things,” adds Ramos.
Each group of volunteers will be divided into the different age groups and different houses – there is the main Nkosi’s Haven Village in Johannesburg South, as well as a house in Berea, in the Johannesburg inner city. The organisation is also looking at the possibility of bringing everyone to one place so that the birthdays can be celebrated together.
This provides a great opportunity for all at Nkosi Haven to meet new people that care and want to bring happiness into other people’s lives.
It is an even greater opportunity for our volunteers to be involved and more aware of HIV/Aids, and to embrace all the hard work that goes into making a safe and loving home like Nkosi Haven has provided for so many.
All the excitement of having your friends and family around you and how it brings so much happiness in everyone’s lives, one
Each volunteer will have a set calendar of which birthdays they will be celebrating . “If you have new members joining the Nkosi home, we’ll just add them on to the birthday list,” says Ramos.
YOU CAN VOLUNTEER!
You can also be part of the volunteers who bring a smile to the faces of those at Nkosi’s Haven on their birthdays – the organisation says it would be great if volunteers could bring packets of chips, chocolates, sweets, a cake, and gifts of their own choice, depending on the age group with whom they would like to celebrate.
Also, what’s a birthday celebration without decoration and fun? volunteers are also urged to bring balloons, colourful streamers, party hats and disposable plates and cups.
Those who don’t have the money to bring these items can also just use their God given talent to put a smile on ones face, such as funny acts or anything on a creative level to inspire.
Opening your heart to those who might change your life to those will end up being your future scientists, teachers, sports heroes, and even you president starts with putting a smile on a lonely soul.
“A day of laughter, love and appreciation held at the Village. We will show that there are people who care and appreciate all they have accomplished, for being strong, hopeful and most of all for being alive, the chance to fulfill our unique mission,” says Ramos.
To volunteer and be part of the birthday celebrations at Nkosi’s Haven, contact Daniella Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org.