Clonakenny: Small village with big heart!
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A report about William (Denis) Maher and his charity work in the townships of Cape Town
In recent weeks much newspaper attention was focussed on the numerous fundraising efforts by local people in aid of the Niall Mellon Township Challenge Building Blitz in Cape Town. Earlier this year, Clonakenny native William Maher (Denis) gave three months working in the townships of Cape Town with the charity leaving behind a lasting legacy to the people of Clonakenny who supported his volunteer work with such generosity.
In June this year, Will organised a BBQ in The Norebrook Lounge Clonakenny, Roscrea. Drawing one of the biggest gatherings to the village in years, the appeal raised enough money not just to cover Will’s work with the charity but also to sponsor a new home for a family in need. Thus, Clonakenny House stands proud at number 6686 in the Mfuleni township of Cape Town in South Africa; a living testament to the bigheartedness of one of the smallest villages in the county.
The Niall Mellon group works to provide housing for thousands of Africans who currently live in slum conditions in the townships without basics such as light, heat or running water. Will's work involved him working as a labourer on-site together and also helping to promote the charity's work in South Africa in an effort to raise awareness and recruit as many local volunteers as possible. Further to his time there during the summer, Will returns to South Africa this November to assist in the organisation and running of the week long Building Blitz that alone hopes to build over 200 houses.
The Niall Mellon Township group is unique in that all of the money raised for the charity to build houses goes directly towards that very purpose. Niall Mellon himself continues to pay the administrative and running costs of the organisation which means that well in excess of 5,000 houses will be handed over to needy families this year.
The townships emerged as a result of South Africa's apartheid era when entire black communities, numbering in their millions, were forcibly relocated to obscure regions of the country in an attempt to make the cities of South Africa white only. It is difficult for those of us in Ireland to comprehend the impact on millions of children growing up in slum conditions, being forced to share an already crowed, unhygienic shack, being exposed to realities that rob these children of their innocence at too early an age.
Providing a house guarantees improved health for the family. Living in the house, means a child will grow up with a better chance of completing their education and ultimately being able to get a job and enjoy the sort of basic human rights that so many of us have come to expect. Having a house breaks the cycle of poverty that has trapped so many generations
Sincere thanks are offered to all who helped and/or supported Will and this cause in so many ways.
There are many noble charities that rightfully deserve our support and assistance, however, the gift of a secure home which creates a stable environment will far outlast many other gestures no matter how well intentioned they may be. Please continue to give your support to this unique Irish charity and do so in the knowledge that your donation, no matter how small, makes a very real impact on the future chances of so many.