“I have always believed that all people should be active citizens in society. One should participate in and care for one’s community. That is the only way to better the community’s way of life.”
Rudy was a florist for 20 years and was even responsible for the extravagant rose arrangements at the funeral of singer Bles Bridges, before becoming involved in children’s care. He worked for Child Welfare South Africa before being appointed in 2011 as the CEO of the Acorn foundation, a registered NPC which is dedicated to changing and enriching the lives of children and families in need.
Originally from the Free state, the family decided to move to Hartbeespoort around four years ago, to be closer to Rudy’s workplace at the Acorn foundation in Midrand. Choosing Hartbeespoort was easy for him and his wife of 22 years, Wendy. “ We just felt that we could breathe in Hartbeespoort. We can feel the presence of God here. We love water and we love mountains and here we have both!
“His love for the town led him and two other community pillars forming the Harties Foundation this year. “There is a lot of people in Hartbeespoort with good intent and good hearts. But charity needs to be structured and transparent and needs to be governed in order to earn the public’s trust. It is necessary to bring all the good that is being done in Hartbeespoort together, as a lot of projects are currently being duplicated. Everyone is doing the groundwork of doing good, like feeding the needy or looking after the elderly, but that does not leave them any time to raise funds. The Harties Foundation builds partnerships with business and the government so that money can be channeled to the correct people. Job creation and social upliftment is in the foreground at the Harties Foundation.”
Their first project in partnership with the Hartbeespoort rehabilitation steering committee is the removal of the hyacinth from the dam. “With this project we are not only getting the hyacinth removed, but we are also hopefully going to be creating jobs. The plan is to open a factory where the hyacinth will be used to manufacture braai briquettes, and other products. This will teach skills and provide employment to local community members. Also in the pipeline is a project against the illegal sale of fire wood and aloes next to the road.
Also see: Ligte…kamera….aksie!
“We need to stop deforestation in our area and make a plan to replace the trees that were removed. But we also need to think about the people whose source of income is being taken away. If we do not assist them to get another source of income, they can easily turn to a life of crime. The hyacinth briquettes project can assist with this as well.”
Rudy is father to three children and has three grandchildren. His family is the most important thing in his life. “I do not have time for any hobbies. Any spare time I have, I spend with my family. We do everything together. They are my inspiration and keep me standing in difficult times.”
His message to the community is to be positive and see all the opportunities available for this town. “We can no longer play the blame game and sit on the sidelines, watching. Be involved, reach out and participate. If you don’t, you might just get left behind.”
For more information on the Harties Foundation NPC and to find out how you can become involved in making Hartbeespoort a better place for all, please visit www.hartiesfoundation.org.za. or e-mail [email protected]