Founder and director, Lonwabo Lwesizwe
Growing up in a lower income family in Eldorado Park, Paris Makaringe observed that poorer communities didn’t have essentials like winter clothing and blankets. As an adult this inspired him to try to make a positive difference in society.
He co-founded and directs Lonwabo Lwesizwe, a non-profit organisation which gives young people a platform via which they can develop their skills, keeping them away from harmful elements on the streets. It also assists hundreds of underprivileged children with clothing, blankets and food parcels through its “1000 Kids 1000 Smiles” initiative.
Another programme, #IAMAWOMAN aims to restore the dignity of women, by creating platforms through which they can express themselves regarding social issues they face. “We have 27 females volunteering for our organisation, and I noticed that they faced many social challenges which needed to be addressed,” he explains. “Many women don’t have anywhere to turn to for advice, so we created a space for them where they deal with their issues in a collective way, through hosting events in various areas, including in Freedom Park, Orange Farm and Eldorado Park.”
Makaringe is also employed by Kumaka Early Development Index, a nonprofit organisation that is involved in youth development, drug awareness programmes and other community development initiatives. He is primarily involved in Kumaka’s implementation of Ke Moja, a department of social development drug prevention programme. His duties include managing and supervising Ke Moja coordinators, as well as planning and driving the facilitation of Ke Moja programmes in schools and other sectors of the community and referring relevant cases to social workers.
But that’s not all. As a project manager of #FASHIONFUSION, Makaringe also gives up and coming models and fashion designers an opportunity to showcase their work at the Eldos Art & Jazz Festival. He is an anti-drug activist of note in Eldorado Park, where — as a member of the Local Drug Committee (LDAC) — he regularly gives talks aimed at drug awareness and prevention at schools. “I feel that it’s better to give than to receive and that a giving heart is a stronger heart. It makes me feel better about myself if I can help someone who doesn’t have or is less privileged than what I am currently,” he says.
— Fatima Asmal