Kenton On Sea resident Nomise Hani has fed and empowered children in her community since 1998 — an incredible feat if you consider that she has done this for more than 60 children almost every day.
Hani said: “As a parent myself I felt the need to help kids who are underprivileged. I know the feeling of having a hungry child.”
Hani ensures each child receives a meal of bread and a cup of soup every day, come rain or shine, lockdown or none.
“A slice of bread and a cup of soup can go a long way by putting a smile on their faces. I know I’m always their last hope when the pots are empty,” she said.
“My soup kitchen is still providing kids with food during lockdown.”
While the 59-year-old’s soup kitchen may have started out as a simple feeding scheme, Hani’s goal was always to uplift and empower children.
Today, she also runs daily learning activities, homework classes and awareness talks for the children, whose ages range from six to 14.
“I started the soup kitchen because I always wanted to find a way to bring hope. Through learning activities and short classes, I hope to inspire the little ones, because every child has the right to security and education.”
Hani also works as a social auxiliary worker at Child Welfare in Kenton.
“Being part of Child Welfare has helped me understand and identify vulnerable kids who may need counselling and support.”
Hani said she was assisted by volunteers who helped teach maths and English to the children.
“We also do talks on teenage pregnancy, the dangers of drugs and so on for the older children.”
Lockdown did put a stop to her daily work “but now we’ve split the children into different groups and have started up again”.
Hani said seeing the difference she was making in the children’s lives was her greatest reward.
“Change inspires me. I’m changing the way they think by engaging and helping them learn through our activities. The kids attending our activity sessions or receiving daily meals and are doing well at school. As a parent it’s rewarding to see them applying the skills they learn through our activities.”
Aside from a monthly donation of bread from Child Welfare and contributions from community members, the soup kitchen and activities are self-funded.
She said the many people who supported her over the years had inspired her to keep going.
“The people who have shared my ideas and helped me over the years really inspire me to keep motivated,” Hani said.
“But my biggest motivation is that through my programme I get to help children and bring change in their lives. They are the leaders of tomorrow.”