Everyday Hero – Selamma Oersen, Sewende Laan Soup Kitchen
In May 2003 Selamma Oersen had a dream while in hospital due to irregular breathing.
In the dream she had half of a hamburger and R6. Someone came to her and said: “You need to hurry, because where you’re going there are many hungry people.”
That’s the day she believe God called her to serve the community and immediately made a promise that she would care for the needy who live in her area, Sewende Laan, Humansdorp.
With faith she bought 5 loaves of bread, jam and butter and fed 17 children. From that day on, children knew that if they knocked on her door, they would always find something to eat.
Selamma is not only a lifeline to many children but also to adults. She once saved a woman who was trapped in her house during the flood of 2006. She jumped off the back of a van with a flying-kick to open the door with force because it was blocked by the rain water. Many times people she didn’t know contacted her for assistance and she would get in touch with the network of friends she’s made over the years to request assistance and every time a solution was found. She sometimes does house visits to see if people have a need and in the past, she’s made it possible for people to receive wheelchairs, beds and other home essentials. Sometimes she also accompanies the sick to their doctors’ appointments and assists where needed when organising funerals.
She is someone whom people can rely on.
Over the years she’s seen many miracles of how God honoured the gift that was given to her and she says she can write a book about all the doors that have opened; as well as those which were closed to allow bigger breakthroughs to happen.
“Before Woodlands Dairy started assisting us we struggled along with whatever we had at home and with the occasional donations received from people. Thankfully, I can be at ease now, knowing that we’ll receive the monthly groceries to assist children and the elderly with nutritional support twice or thrice per week. The confidence
the company has in me and my calling in life also made it possible for other companies to see what we do and to assist us, knowing that what they donate will reach the needy.
Rotary, Buco, Wimpy, BP, the Anglican Church, Catholic Church and many other business and individuals from the Kouga area contributed to the soup kitchen and its success,” says Selamma.
She says: “There are so many challenges in our community such as unemployment, grandparents taking care of their grandkids either because the parents have passed away from HIV or TB or are sick. We encourage these families and parents to take care of their health by honouring their doctors’ appointments. Many people have a sense of entitlement too and feel that whatever the soup kitchen received that they are entitled to it but don’t understand that there are so many people in need that we can’t always assist the same people each time.”
“It became so bad during the start of the Covid-19 outbreak that I wanted to close the soup kitchen, but remembered the promise I made in 2003 to keep going and for this reason the doors cannot close. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since the opening the soup kitchen it’s patience and always seeing the good in other people. My family supports me, and my husband Shawn is my righthand. My two volunteer workers Laurayne and Marianne are also always there to assist with cooking or in any way their help is required.
Sewende Laan Soup Kitchen is not just a place where children and the elderly can rely on for a healthy meal but is also a safe place to go to when life becomes too much to deal with.
If anyone would like to offer their services or become involved please contact Selamma on 065 130-9523.