There are inspirational people everywhere, and one of them is former Noosa resident, Bud Higgins. As a former chef on the Sunshine Coast, Bud moved to Cape Town and five years ago was asked
to assist in providing some food on Christmas Day for 2,000 poor children in the impoverished township of Overcome. The number grew to 3,500 and Bud was moved to try and make a small difference. The Tinmugs Africa Trust was born.
“A lady by the name of Christine Beukes, was looking after 10 little ones in her own shack in Overcome and extending it as more kids arrived. I met her in 2012, after a social worker told me she needed help. When I arrived, the kids were all sitting in a room between tins and bowls which were catching the rain coming through the roof. I began helping Christine to expand, but I organised to fix the roof first!
At Christmas, I put on a party for around 400 township kids in a local community hall. I wanted the kids to come but they were too little to walk the five kilometres through the sandhills. We packed several loads of small human cargo, literally cheek to cheek, into the back of my 4×4 – and drove them very slowly to the party. On one load, I counted 16 smiling little faces. Imagine trying to do that in Australia!
Christine then told me about Phumuza, a Xhosa woman, who was also desperately in need of help at her little crèche. It snowballed from there. There are now 60 plus kids from six months to six years old being cared for at Overcome Educare. We give them a hot meal every day and provide education. We have three pre-school teachers and two helpers – we teach the kids so they are ready to go to school when they are six. The future would be fairly bleak for them without our help, as most arrive with no food in their tummies.
We also raise money to pay for the kids to go to school. I find Australian donors who are prepared to sponsor a child and pay for them to go to school for a year. $500 provides that child with a school uniform and shoes, books and stationery, bus fares, clothes for home, books for home reading, school excursions, a birthday and Christmas gift and emergency medication supplies. Up to date photos and news of the child are sent on a regular basis. We also encourage the sponsors to come and meet their child. In September, José, 7, had his sponsors come from Queensland. They visited him at school and then he spent the day touring with them and their children and being spoilt by them all. I am not sure who got the most out of it – José or the family!”
Bud adopted one of the girls from Overcome who lived with her mother and two small brothers in a tiny shack that had no sanitation. The girl was always sick. Now 12, Kristy is excelling in her second to last year of primary school.
Kristy said, “I have a new and wonderful opportunity to be well educated and I feel so lucky to live in a normal home with running water and have three meals a day. To be loved and guided by Buddie is amazing after the sad life I came from.”
Bud also now pays for Kristy’s family to live in a small flat in a safe area, and the family is reunited every weekend.
The Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) had its conference in Cape Town in August, and selected Tinmugs as its charity of choice, its members donating a total of well over AUD$3,000 – some members taking out individual sponsorships.
“The ASTW donation will make a big difference. Last month, 13 of our families lost their shacks in a terrible fire. Eighty people were homeless, including many children. The funds are also paying for
a new kitchen, which will be up and running soon. Having a kitchen on site will be so convenient – I won’t need to ferry food in my car anymore.”
How to help
“We are desperate for any donations. There is a constant need to help families who have nothing, to give them food for their little ones or blankets for their beds. It is a registered South African Trust”. The charity is personally managed by Bud Higgins, and every cent reaches the child in the street.