A woman for the people

RUNNING a soup kitchen from her own home every Thursday, featuring as a member on both the ward committee and the Community Policing Forum (CPF), and running the senior citizen club in Eastwood are just some of the reasons why the Maritzburg Fever recently sat down with Odette Hossen to commemorate Women’s Month.

“I have a passion for people and love to assist wherever I can,” said a modest Hossen.

These words echo Hossen personality, who took over from her late mother in running a soup kitchen for her neighbourhood in Willowton, with the help of her sisters, which has continued to service people in noticeably larger numbers each week since being opened in 2008.

“We run the soup kitchen out of our own pockets.

“Not being funded by any government or organisation is tough, and I sometimes find myself shopping in my own kitchen for supplies, but feeding and helping people are what makes me happy,” said Hossen.

Open every week on a Thursday, the soup kitchen serves, on average, up to 150 people, increasing to almost 350 people during holidays.

Hossen said that the level of poverty in her area is so bad that sometimes children skip school on a Thursday just so they can have a meal.

“My dream is to be able to feed people every day and I would really like it if more people would come on board to make this a reality,” she said.

Not stopping at just feeding the families in her area, Hossen also runs the senior citizen club in Eastwood where she coordinates and cares for up to 80 elderly people using the Eastwood Hall.

“Not having parents, I look to these older people and think of them as my parents,” she said.

Hossen’s husband, Ebrahim, stated that he admired his wife for her willingness to help wherever she could and still manage a household. “She looks after our home as well everyone else out there,” he marvelled.

“I can never refuse anyone and I thank God for my husband who supports me in whatever I do,” she said.