This is the view of Zenoyise John, a communication practitioner from Corporate Communication, who encourages all of us to give to those in need. She believes giving has spiritual value and that you can heal problem areas in your life through giving to others.
Married to Nigerian national Nnamndi John, an evangelist and soccer coach, Zenoyise and her whole family are involved in community work in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. Her eldest daughter, 25-year-old Yenani Madikwa, who works as a creative director at an advertising agency, helps by funding some of their initiatives, while the younger children, Oluchi (12) and Ndidi (9), use their free time to help put together and distribute food parcels.
“We want to instill a culture of giving in them at a young age,” says Zenoyise. “We also want to teach them to serve others with humility and be grateful for what they have.”
Changing lives in Diepsloot
Zenoyise says their work started in 2014 when her husband was driving in Diepsloot, a densely populated and poor area in the north of Johannesburg.
“He stopped to evangelise to a group of men who were playing dice on the street. They told him that they were foreign nationals, and that they were jobless and hungry. He decided that instead of just sharing spiritual truths with them, he would bring them bread every time he visited them.”
Since then, they have been distributing thousands of loaves of bread and even cooking hearty Sunday meals for destitute people who have become part of everyday life in the Johns household.
Supporting a good cause
“Hearing about what we were doing, some of our friends and fellow congregants decided to help us with food. One of the bakeries started to subsidise the bread and the parents of the children my husband coached donated clothes, home appliances and blankets for the people of Diepsloot. With the help of our coordinators who live there, we identify families in need and bring whatever we get to them.”
Although Zenoyise and her husband mainly provide people with bread two or three times a week, depending on the funds they have available, they also try to find jobs for people, and even raise funds for those who can’t afford to bury their loved ones.
Since last year, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed many challenges for them. “Some of the people who helped us lost their jobs so they stopped supporting us. We also had to stop visiting the people for some time in order not to violate Covid-19 protocols. But now we are back at doing what blesses us most – giving.”
If Zenoyise’s experience is anything to go by, those who give to others receive abundantly in return. Let’s roll up our sleeves and make life a little easier for those in need.
has a heart for giving
One small gesture can change someone’s world, and what is trash to you can be someone else’s treasure.