A passion for helping people

AS we continue to celebrate women’s month, Fever journalist Nosipho Mkhize got in contact with Pinetown Highway Child and Family Welfare Society co-ordinator Ellen Atwell, whose passion and satisfaction lies in helping other people.

Atwell said she studied at the Durban business College where she earned a diploma in bookkeeping.

“I got my first job at a young age as an assistant bookkeeper. Then I worked for a furniture company as a personal assistant.

“After my second job, I then got married and I decided to open my own school [aftercare centre] in Kloof, however I did my aftercare job only in the mornings, then in the afternoons I ran another school under the Pinetown Child Welfare. The Pinetown Child Welfare approached me to work on a full time basis, so basically I have been here for 23 years.”

Atwell is a food room co-ordinator however she feels that her role is more of that of a fundraiser because of the type of work she does.

“I feel I am a fundraiser because I go out looking for companies or people who can sponsor with food, clothing or any sort of donations. I also run the filing system but I’m mainly involved in the food room. I have a deep passion for children because I have mainly worked with children.”

She describes herself as a person with a positive attitude and said she enjoys working as a co-ordinator at the welfare.

“I enjoy what I do. I love going out and looking for sponsorships as well as conducting fundraising initiatives.

“When I’m fundraising, I feel good because I know that I’m doing something good for those who are in need and I’m achieving something. I wouldn’t like a day to day office job because I like working with people and interacting with them face to face.”

She explained that her experience working at the welfare has been good because the organisation is well-known, and well looked after, by many, saying: “The Pinetown Welfare has been in service for over 80 years and many people know about the organisation. A couple of years ago, the welfare had no company vehicles to transport the social workers and other staff members. I got hold of a local newspaper to put out a story about how desperately we needed the cars to be fixed and, in just two hours, eight of those cars were taken away for fixing.”

When asked what women empowerment means to her, Atwell said: “Women empowerment means being there for people, doing things for people and helping people.

“I always believe if you need to do something, do it there and then. Don’t leave it hanging.”

Besides working as a co-ordinator, Atwell spends her time relaxing.

“I use most of my spare time relaxing because this job can be a stressful from time to time. I also spend time with my grandchildren at the movies or taking a stroll on the beach.”

In conclusion, Atwell wanted to pass a message on to other women.

“If there are other women out there who have the ability to help the needy I advise them to go and do it because you achieve something from it in the end.”