Penhold man helps children in African town

Scott Grimwood probably knows the meaning of the expression: “Give a little, get a lot,” more than most.

A volunteer with The Seed of Hope feeds a child at a day care in Bhekulwandle

A volunteer with The Seed of Hope feeds a child at a day care in Bhekulwandle

Scott Grimwood probably knows the meaning of the expression: “Give a little, get a lot,” more than most.

The 48-year-old oil field supply sales representative from Penhold has been dedicated to helping the children of a small town in South Africa for the past five years.

“It’s easy to save a little money living over here and help out,” Grimwood said.

“For me, it’s a no-brainer.”

Grimwood travelled to Bhekulwandle, South Africa (a small township located in the KwaZulu-Natal province on Africa’s east coast) in early 2007 after hearing first-hand testimony of the conditions in the African community from his pastor’s father at the Church of the Nazarene in Caroline.

The missionary group Grimwood travelled with met up with workers from The Seed of Hope, a non-profit group working in Bhekulwandle. They proceeded to help clean up and perform maintenance on dilapidated buildings.

He said seeing the struggle the children of Bhekulwandle faced to survive inspired him, and their smiling faces reminded him of his life back home.

“I’ve got two grandkids, and I just can’t imagine them having to live like that,” Grimwood said.

After returning to Canada, Grimwood and his wife Jo-Ann began selling poinsettias and sending the funds they raised to the Seed of Hope Community Development Centre.

They also remained in contact with The Seed of Hope workers in Bhekulwandle, and in late 2009 received word that robbers had broken into a daycare across the street from the charity’s headquarters.

When representatives from Seed of Hope and missionaries from Grimwood’s church went to fix the front door, which the bandits had broken, they discovered more than 30 toddlers in the daycare; and that all the children’s food had been stolen in the robbery.

They also noticed the children were suffering the immense South African summer heat because the property had no fence and they had to stay indoors.

“There’s lots of wild dogs out there and other dangerous things, so you need a fence,” Grimwood said.

Grimwood felt compelled to help out, so he raised more funds and last November sent the $1,500 needed to construct a fence, which was built last month.

The act may seem small, but little things go a long way in Bhekulwandle, Grimwood said.

“When I was over there, I saw the kids holding ice cubes wrapped in plastic, and they were licking the condensation on the bag to try and stay cool, it was a huge treat for them,” he said.

Grimwood, his wife Jo-Ann, and friend Brenda Topley have organized a mask painting fundraiser on Sunday at the Black Sheep Design Studio near Blackfalds from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise money for a meal program at the Khulakahle Daycare Centre in Bhekulwandle. To sign up for the event, and to find out the location, contact Brenda Topley at 403-885-0476.

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