How many times have you walked into your kitchen and pulled out some bread, peanut butter and jam to make a snack? Living in the U.S., we might not think twice about how lucky we are — yet there’s a small orphanage in Tembisa, South Africa, where 68-year-old Regina Sekgobela, affectionately known as “Mama,” struggles daily to feed more than a dozen orphans she calls her children.
This story resonated with Sindee Savage, a marketing coordinator at CHG, whose parents connected her to the orphanage. “Staring through my computer screen at the children’s big, brown eyes and bright smiles,” Sindee pauses, “I just had to help them.”
Driving donations and offering hope
That was back in May 2011, and Sindee has been helping them ever since. She created a blog, Facebook page and a YouTube channel to spread the word about the orphans she calls the Tembisa Tots. Sindee and her daughter Kendyl held bake sales and solicited donations — and in four months, they raised $2,864. “That amount may not seem much to us in the States, but it is a significant amount to those in South Africa,” Sindee says.
Six months later, she and Kendyl personally delivered clothing, food, books and toys to Mama and the kids. They also created a list of items needed for the orphanage. She returned to the States and continued to raise more money, eventually turning their dreams into reality.
“Since the beginning of our journey with orphanage to today, we provided a new roof, installed indoor plumbing and irrigation for the garden, replaced broken windows, fixed walls and improved security,” Sindee says. “We still have a ways to go, but I’m in for the long haul.”
The local community surrounding the orphanage stepped up and started helping out, too. “It’s comforting to know there are a handful of people who help when I can’t,” Sindee says.
Sindee was one of our 13 Difference Maker finalists. CHG’s Difference Maker program celebrates our people who are committed to changing the world by making a positive social impact on others and in their communities.