Jo’burg Child Welfare

Certificate of Recognition



Merit Certificate September 2011-Johannesburg Garden Club

It is indeed an honour to be making this award today to the Johannesburg Garden Club.  Jo’burg Child Welfare has a very long association with the Garden Club and this year sees us celebrating 60 years of being the recipient of their fundraising activities that involves an inordinate amount of extremely hard work and dedication on the part of all the members as was recently displayed at their annual Plant Sale held last week end. Prue Johnson and her army of foot soldiers beavered away for weeks on end to ensure that the day’s activities were planned with military precision. Last Saturday, 17 September 2011, saw not only the members of the club called upon to work but included their husbands, sons and in many cases gardeners as well.

However I thought it may be of interest to delve into some of the history by studying old JCW annual reports as well as some material that was previously made available by the Club. The Garden club was established by Mrs Eileen Gowan in 1951 and the members donated their first year’s annual subscription fees which amounted to 124 pounds 19 shillings and sixpence to support our work with children.

With the founding of the Garden Club the original group of 30 gardeners listed their objectives as – ‘to increase the knowledge of gardening, beautify their own gardens and assist with the beautification of our city where possible, as well as to give any money they raise to a good cause’-and Jo’burg Child Welfare was indeed honoured and is greatly  privileged to have been selected as their charity of choice.

Within the next 2 years the Garden club had grown to a membership of 200. In 1952 the Garden Club started distributing food and clothing among the poor as well as giving a Christmas party at one of JCW’s original crèches. The club soon saw the need to not only donate their subscription fees but to branch out into numerous fundraising activities and today the members have become masters at these. Many of these activities continue to be held annually such as the Plant sale, bridge drives, and auction teas which the members are most skilled at doing.

Some of the more memorable fundraising events include the staging of a Floral festival in 1953 that was described as making ‘Civic history and being the most beautiful flower show ever seen in our city’. It was an outstanding success that produced the sum of 8 192 pounds.  Other fundraising activities included Big Sales at various members homes and the famous Roedean sales which have been replaced by the Plant sale held regularly at the Anderson’s home. Since 1951 the Garden club has directly raised and donated R3 289 250 which is a phenomenal amount and I am confident that this relationship is unique in the Non Profit Sector in South Africa. The Garden Club made a further donation of R45 000 for the building and furnishing of one cottage at Othandweni in April 1984. Members also spent much time sewing curtains for all 5 cottages and adding some homely touches to the centre.  In addition, due to relationships or connections of many of the garden club members ,  JCW has been the beneficiary of in excess of another R1.13m.

About 3 years ago the Garden Club ‘adopted ‘the children at Masibambisane and all 200 children are the beneficiaries of the most beautiful and thoughtful Christmas boxes that are filled with clothing as well as gifts that are age appropriate. Much preparation by the committee goes into ensuring that each child receives clothing that is the correct size so no one is disappointed.

JCW could not have survived without the support of each of the garden club’s members and on behalf of the children that we serve, we are indeed most grateful to the Club for their ongoing support.

Lyn Perry
Director – Jo’burg Child Welfare