Where It All Began
Dawn “Maduma”Leppan was raised in Drummond by her grandparents who owned a restaurant in the area. Her home has always been on the edge of an enormous valley of 1000 Hills and calls the surrounding community her extended family. A family that she has cared for from a young age, having delivered her first baby at just 16.
During the late 1980’s Dawns eyes were opened to the strife and devastation occurring among families in the local community, caused by both political unrest and natural disasters such as flooding.
In 1989 she was inspired to start a community feeding scheme for those in need, where she served meals from the back of a bakkie under a tree. Dawn saw the need to do more and secured a site for an infant wellness centre under the ease of a local church, this evolved further as 5 nursing sisters and a pediatrician volunteered their time to the community.
Dawns vision did not stop there, she wanted to do more. The 1000 Hills Community Centre broke ground for a new home in 2008 after land donated by a local school became available. Her first priority was to build a safe haven for the children of the community who were exposed to violence and crime, today the cresh and school accommodate 350 students who are orphaned or vulnerable, ranging from new born up to grade R, ensuring these children receive two nutritious meals daily and a solid foundation ahead of starting junior school.
Following the school a kitchen was built which now accommodates a permanent feeding scheme providing two meals a day, 5 days a week to those in need. Dawns next task to be completed was the fully equipped and volunteering staffed clinic, pharmacy and 4 x 4 ambulance available 24hrs a day which has made health care accessible to the community.
In spite of all her efforts, Dawn was aware that further education and basic care for adults was also lacking in her community, as a result the home based care programme was started, training volunteer based social workers, tasked with educating and helping with basic health care within the community.
Dawns hub of hope also facilitates many skills development programmes acting as katalysts for employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Profits are invested back into craft supplies and the local community who made the crafts.
The centre also offers basic adult education and Dawns work has been acknowledged by numerous awards and tributes.
Ethekweni Living Legend Dawn “Maduma”Leppan