Catherine was just a typical Canadian girl who in 2008 went to South Africa. She fell in love with a community called Thembalethu even though they were very very poor and from the outside it looked scary. It didn't scare her though and she spent most of her time assisting the community where people live in shacks and they have no food.
After 3 months she came back to Canada and her kind heart did not stop there. She promised the community that she would continue to fight for them so she created a registered charity!! None of this came easy, Catherine works 80 hours a week including going to school full time so that she can gain better skills to help this community. She does everything including accounting, marketing, fund raising, event planning and handling the logistics of getting 600 people in South Africa food every month. She has also helped them to establish gardens for growing food, and helps the kids with school supplies and uniforms.
In December she goes back to South Africa only this time she is going to make even bigger change! She has raised money so that she can plant 300 trees that will produce food for the community, and I know that she has been studying gardening techniques that work well in refugee camps and other high density areas.
Catherine is such an inspiration, even with so much pressure on her she always has a smile on her face and she has a glow about her that makes everyone want to be near her. No doubt she will remain a role model and a legacy for years to come....
A community member in Thembalethu wrote: “Catherine came into my community when nobody else from the outside world would. She met my families and neighbors and treated us like human beings, like equals when no other person from the outside has ever done that. Since June of 2008 she has completely changed her life around, giving up her comfortable lifestyle in order to make sure that my entire community has food, education, and hope.
My community had no hope before she came. We lived in shacks made from garbage, we had no food, and people were very sick. She has been sending us food every month, she raises money to send school supplies for our children, she sends us seeds to grow food and at the end of December she will come back to Thembalethu to transform my community so that each and every one of us can grow our own food. She will plant food bearing trees and teach us to read and write.
Catherine changed the lives of 600 people who at one time had nothing, with her by our side we are learning that we have the power to have a better future, so that my son will never look at me again and say that he is hungry. Catherine is unlike any other person that I have ever met, she is a saint.”
Nominee's Link: http://www.thembaproject.org