Two years ago, WhizzKids United partnered up with the Embassy of Japan to add a Toyota Quantum minibus and a mobile clinic unit to our fleet in order to better serve the youth in Edendale. This week a delegation from the Embassy of Japan visited WhizzKids United to assess how the partnership has helped develop the community.
It is no secret that transport poses on of the biggest challenges for the young people in need of the vital services and facilities offered at our Health Academy at Edendale Hospital. Young people regularly state that they would like to come to the Health Academy more regularly, but are unable to do so, either because there may be no transport, walking takes too long, or they are simply not able to afford to pay for a local minibus taxi.
The team of the Embassy of Japan understood that need and came on board with WhizzKids United to address that challenge. On behalf of the government and the people of Japan, the Embassy made funding available WhizzKids United to purchase a vehicle that would bring young people to the Health Academy and a mobile clinic that takes services to the people.
Since both were delivered in October 2013, they made a remarkable difference for our work in Edendale. The Toyota travelled more then 65,000km and carried over 3,100 people to where they needed to go – out teams to the schools, and young people from schools to the Health Academy.
On Wednesday, the First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan Hiromichi Hishinuma visited the Health Academy to celebrate this great success story together with us. The event featured speeches from key stakeholders of our work, including our Chairperson Tim Genders, Edendale Hospital CEO Zanele Ndwandwe and Umgungundlovu Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee. Mr Hishinuma shared some highly appreciated thoughts with all attendees on what this development project means to the government as well as to the people of Japan and how excited he personally was to see that the funding was used for such good work.
It was the general consensus of the day that international support, like that of the people of Japan through their Embassy in South Africa is vital for the further development of Edendale and comparable areas. Japan will continue to contribute to these and other similar efforts, and the Embassy and WhizzKids United have agreed to stay in touch to explore more opportunities for collaboration in the future.