What does Plesion mean?
Plesion is a Greek word, meaning ‘neighbour’. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the question is asked: “Who is my neighbour?” The point of the parable is that the question should be: “To whom can I be a neighbour?” For example, when a child is abused, the question shouldn’t be whether we are supposed to help the child. The child’s race and religion isn’t important. What is important, is that we help the child immediately and get him or her to a place of safety. This principle is what we want to communicate with the name Plesion – to whom can we be helping neighbours?
What services do we offer?
Together with our partners, we offer a wide range of services to people in need:
- OSR professional social services (NPO 001-618): We focus on helping abused children and women, orphaned children, the relief of poverty by helping with food aid; but also projects like community vegetable gardens, upliftment projects through skills development, and prevention programmes We place a high premium on empowering people to help themselves.
- DPS-system (NPO 038-005): This consists of 6 foster care homes where we work with severely traumatised children. Each foster care home care for a maximum of 6 children. Children are placed in a normal functioning household with foster parents. Here they get the necessary therapy and help to give them a chance to overcome their problems and lead normal functioning lives.
- OTMT old age homes: OTMT is made up of the Ons Tuis-group (NPO 011-619) and the Monument homes group (NPO 011-938). In total it consists of 7 homes, with 4 of them providing frail care. Financial support is also given to elderly people who cannot afford the monthly costs.
- TOIBO Institute for Special Education (NPO 001-597): We support and help fund a total of 5 schools for children with disabilities. Special attention is given to support children where their parents/guardians can’t afford to provide for their needs. Apart from school- and hostel fees, we help them with clothing, food, stationery and other specific needs they might have.
- We support churches that do deaconate (charity) work in their respective communities, by providing information, guidance and funding in the seven fields of deaconate: Poverty; the elderly; children; disability; HIV and other dreaded diseases; Trauma; and Dependency (drugs, alcohol etc). We are currently working with congregations of the Netherdutch Reformed Church of Africa (PBO 930029306) and we are working on a partnership with the Maranatha Reformed Church of Christ.
- One of our important projects in 2014 in partnership with the church, was to raise funds and foodstuffs for the people who lost their income and jobs because of the strike in the platinum belt. We strive to be pro-active and therefore we’re using the lessons learned from the Platinum Belt Crisis to prepare plans to assist future victims of similar crises.
Our core principles
The three core principles of
- accountability and
must be present for effective charity work. When we decide to become involved with a project, these three principles must be met. Therefore we work with partners who share our principles, use their income effectively to do the maximum amount of charitable work, and spend sparingly on administration.
How do we fund our initiatives?
Our partners are all well-established NPO’s and they have their own income sources. However, these sources are not keeping up with the rising costs of delivering these services. This is where Plesion comes in, under the umbrella of Project 21. Project 21 consists of Plesion as an NPO, together with an investment company, Khesed Pty Ltd. The aim of Khesed is to raise additional funds through business practises, which will create a sustainable source of income to fund our initiatives. The role of Plesion is to find funding in the private sector, by means of individuals who have a heart for being neighbours to those in need, and companies who want to do their corporate social investment and BEE spending in effective, transparent, accountable and sustainable initiatives.
Our main challenge
Sustainability. The paradigm in which we do our charity work has changed. Traditional sources of funding are drying up. State funding is difficult to obtain and not nearly enough to do all the work. The traditional churches are mostly in financial difficulties, and they mostly can’t maintain NPO’s anymore. Donations from the National Lottery are increasingly difficult to come by, and the larger companies often do their social investment mainly through their own NPO’s in the communities where they work. These developments have put the independent NPO’s, especially those that existed before 1994, in a precarious position. Then there is also the trend for trust funds etc. to only fund projects with specific goals that are marketable by the fund. What it comes down to, is that they are unwilling to fund the salaries of the social workers, the nursing staff at the old age homes, the foster parents and so forth. They don’t regard it as marketable, but you need these people to deliver effective services. For example, if you have an HIV orphaned child who needs to be placed in foster care, by law you need a qualified and registered social worker to do that. The same goes for abused, neglected and molested children. At the old age homes again, you need registered nurses 24/7 to comply with the law. The tragedy is that these professional people are paid such low salaries in South Africa, that we lose them to other countries and to other jobs. All of these factors make sustainability a real challenge. We don’t believe in a hit-and-run approach where you give people help for a short term only – we want to be there for the people who need our help as long as they need it.
Our long-term goal is to provide effective, sustainable service to the communities in our country. Together with our partners, our dream is to provide sustainable funding in such a way that our partners can focus on their speciality fields, without having to balance their time, resources and expertise between their own fundraising and the real services they provide. We dream of a better world, built on the love for our neighbours that Jesus taught us in the parable of the Good Samaritan.