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By HAZEL ALLIES-HUSSELMAN

Staff, volunteers and guests celebrated the opening of Mustadafin Foundation’s new premises on Thursday July 27.

The 30-year-old organisation moved from their old premises in Belgravia Road, to a new location at 30 Turfhall Road, Lansdowne (on the corner of Belgravia Road).

According to Mustadafin director, Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem, the new premises was better located and suited for the type of work the foundation does. It also had more office space to plan projects, such as educational and support programmes.

The five core functions of Mustadafin are education, poverty alleviation, community development, health care and disaster relief.

During his welcome speech, Anwah Nagia said the first five years of the organisation’s existence, were dedicated to defending people from physical harm (during the fight against apartheid).

“We have fed over 140 million mouths over the past 25 years. We do have a large programme that we run, and now we have a bigger space to feed more people. We want to feed people with six million meals.

“This organisation is funded on your love, donations in kind, and zakah (a compulsory donation towards the underprivileged). The staff can earn a lot more money if they had worked elsewhere, but they choose to be here,” Mr Nagia said.

Ms Johnstone-Cassiem echoed Mr Nagia’s sentiments, saying that the organisation would not have survived without the public’s support and the staff and volunteers, who went out of their way to get the work done.

She thanked the owner of their new premises, saying they were blessed with this big building, when they had no clue where they would move to.

“I am flabbergasted. The family who blessed us has really been awesome. They don’t really want their names mentioned, but I refer to them as the Gattis family.

“They have offered us the premises rent-free, and when we moved in, all we had to do was clean and paint. They came at a time when the previous office was being thrown down to make space for a parking bay and we had no idea where we would go. We can only be grateful,” Ms Johnstone-Cassiem said.

She added that their long-term goal, was to become a self-sufficient organisation.

Plans have also been put in place for the construction of another premises of Mustadafin in Bridgetown.