Charity is essential to help those in need to rise above their circumstances. Humanitarian work centers on compassion. One of the most compassionate things to do is to help those who need it most. Often, dire circumstances lead to people facing poverty, hunger, and other forms of human suffering. Charity mobilizes people around the world to give to others.

Each year, the world comes together to promote charity, resilience, and sustainability on September 5th. The United Nations desingated this date as International Day of Charity to conmemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In 1950, Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that had over 4,500 nuns and was active in 133 countries in 2012. She had won a Nobel Peace Prize for her charitable work around the world.

Charity is not only important. It is urgent. Currently we are undertaking a mission of great importance. Hurricane Dorian has been the strongest storm ever to hit the Bahamas. The damage is catastrophic. As you read this, more than a million people are being evacuated within the US. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are on high alert.

Our international rescue team—the Go Team—and damage-assessment specialists are on call. As soon as the storm passes they will make their way to the wreckage. But we need your help.

Donate now. You can save lives.

Solidarity is an intricate part of being human. Understanding ourselves as members of the same species enables us to sacrifice our wellbeing for one another. The term “Humanitarian Aid” reflects the institutionalized bent of that drive.

Impartiality. Neutrality. The pillars of humanitarian aid have been with us since the establishment of the International Red Cross. The Geneva Agreements, reformulated since the mid-nineteenth century, sought to mitigate the effects of armed conflict.

As a Jewish organization, we continue to feel the trauma of World War II: after this, the International Humanitarian Aid Laws were re-established, a protocol that has become our guiding star.

Unfortunately, humanitarian aid today not only responds to armed conflict. Global warming, in the shape of storms, hurricanes, droughts and fires, has exposed more and more people to natural disasters.

In CADENA we have traveled the world seeking to help the stranger. When we do, we encounter the solidarity experienced by our Secretary General upon arriving in Mozambique after the disaster of Cyclone Idai:

“We joined the United Nations cluster and realized that the humanitarian actors (all agencies and NGOs like us), represent a true triumph of humanity. Regardless of race, beliefs, cultures, nationalities, multiple languages or the color of the uniform style, we all work for a single goal: to bring hope and help the people of Mozambique.

I have no doubt in my mind: the world should be more like that cluster.”

18 July 2019 By Leanne Gersun Mendelow Nelson Mandela International Day, 18th July, is an annual call-to-action that aims to motivate individuals to help transform the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good.  Mandela famously said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change […]

11-16 June 2019

By Leanne Gersun Mendelow

Following Cyclone Idai in March 2019, CADENA SA deployed an emergency response team
to the city of Beira, Mozambique. The team distributed and installed 270 Sawyer water filter
systems and 200 solar lamps to communities in the affected areas. Each filter can remove
up to 99.9% of harmful organisms, including Vibrio cholerae, in unsafe water, and a single
filter has the capacity to produce up to 800 liters of potable water over a 24 hour period.
According to UNICEF, Cyclone Idai displaced over 175,000 people and left them without
adequate sanitation systems leading to a cholera outbreak. Less than six weeks later,
Cyclone Kenneth displaced a further 163,000 people and heightened the risk of another
major cholera outbreak.

In the aftermath of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, menstrual hygiene of Mozambican women
and girls became a silent need. CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere)
reported that these women and girls were not only facing cholera outbreaks, but further
serious health risks as a result of shortages of menstrual hygiene support.

Delivering packages, including water filters and solar lamps, to those affected by Cyclone Idai.

In June 2019, CADENA SA sent a follow up team to Sofala and Manica Provinces to
distribute and install Village Bucket water filters and solar lamps, as well as to provide
communities with basic hygiene and dignity kits including much needed washable sanitary
pads and undergarments for women and girls.

CADENA SA is committed to improving the quality of life for vulnerable communities through
sustainable, cost efficient solutions. During this mission we aimed to help displaced women
and girls restore their confidence and recover their livelihoods through providing essential
female hygiene support.

We provided 412 school girls with reusable pads and underwear as well as 1500 families
with hygiene kits consisting of toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths, combs, all-purpose
ointment and Vaseline. Additionally, the team distributed and installed 105 Village Bucket
water filters and 100 solar lamps.

Our team:

Erika Glanz – Director of International Emergencies and Operations (USA)

Miriam Kajomovitz – Strategic Alliances (Mexico)
Mendy Grauman – Head of Operations (South Africa)
Robyn Smookler – Volunteer
Siobhan Wilson – Volunteer
Yanir Grindler – Volunteer

The June mission provided aid for 27 300 people in the short term and access to clean water
for 136 500 people over the next five years.

In the wake of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, in March and April 2019, CADENA South Africa embarked on an urgent fundraising initiative in order to effectively help our neighbours in Mozambique. Our initial plan was to approach a number of different sponsors to secure the funding we required to run a successful mission. However, not only did the Ramson Cross Foundation answer our call-to-action, they wanted to fund the entire mission. 

The Ramson Cross Foundation is a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) that disburses charitable funds through conduit funding as well as donating funds directly to individuals in need. The organisation was established by Dr Ratshidi Rammutla, a sought-after neurosurgeon based in Johannesburg whose great sensitivity to his patients’ conditions is well known throughout South Africa. Witnessing the daily pain and suffering of others inspired him to start the foundation in order to help vulnerable individuals and communities outside of the operating theatre. Dr Rammutla believes “that if you can, you should”. He expands this idea by going onto say “If you, as a human being or a group, find yourself in a position to impact change in society, this means you have been given a privileged opportunity. Using that capability and capacity to help others becomes more than a good deed, more than a favour. It becomes your responsibility to effect change in the world. If you have been blessed, you have been chosen to share. It’s not a choice, it’s a responsibility”. 

The father of three envisions a future in which his, and all South African children, can thrive without fear and without prejudice. “The Ramson Cross Foundation can help to ensure that we no longer short-change future generations and instead create a landscape of hope and sharing for them”. 

Foundation trustee and Dr Rammutla’s wife, Corene Breedt-Rammutla, is a charismatic woman and a known powerhouse amongst South African welfare organisations. Corene’s background in occupational therapy has led her to become a dynamic businesswomen in the aged care industry. She fully supports her husband’s vision and trusts in their mutual belief that by doing the right thing in the right way they will fulfil their destiny to change the world for the better. 

CADENA SA is honoured to partner with the Ramson Cross Foundation. We know that by our two organisations working together – both with a core belief in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) – there is no limit to the amount of good we can do for our country and our continent. 

By Mendy Grauman

In May 2019 representatives of CADENA SA joined CADENA International on their annual mission to Kenya. The team of multinational volunteers made their way to the drought-ravaged region of Turkana. Turkana has a semi-desert climate and the dry seasons are extremely challenging to the locals. 

After receiving a warm welcome by the local villagers with a ceremony of speeches, songs and dance the team got to work. 

Over the course of three days, 9,100 men, women and children from 28 different villages congregated at a local school where CADENA distributed 21 tons of food hand-to-hand. The food packages are able to sustain the community throughout the harsh dry months until the brief annual rainy season. 

In addition to the food aid, CADENA set up a clinic at the school where our medical team performed 262 consultations. For many of the locals this was their first opportunity to seek professional medical advice. 

Toothbrushes and school supplies were donated to schools in the surrounding areas and children were taught the importance of oral hygiene. Shoes were also distributed amongst the learners, many of whom walk incredible distances each day, on hot sand, in order to receive an education.

CADENA provided reusable ecological menstrual pads to women and young girls. Our volunteers ran workshops explaining the importance of feminine hygiene and how to care for their new pads. Baby clothes were also given to new and expecting mothers. 

CADENA SA was proud to be part of this mission and we are excited to send a bigger group of volunteers in 2020.