AFTER 20 years of serving the Christelike Maatskaplike Raad (CMR) East London, office manager Magdalena von Solms is set to head the organisation as regional head of CMR in Port Elizabeth from next month.
What started out as a small office at the back of the Dutch Reformed church in 1997 has now become a beacon of hope for many East London families.
“Enriching family life by being the love of Christ in action” are the words that keep the people at CMR together as a close-knit family.
“You cannot believe that 20 years goes by so quickly. If I look back at what the Lord has done in these 20 years, I really cannot take credit for this. When God has a plan, He always fulfils his plan. He just wants people who are willing to work with Him,” Von Solms said.
When the GO! & Express visited Von Solms at her house, she was busy packing for her relocation to Port Elizabeth.
She said in her 20 years at CMR she had seen the organisation grow in every aspect. It has employed 10 full-time social workers and admin staff.
She said all the good work done by the organisation had been expanded by the Lord by making it possible for them to create job opportunities and helping families.
One of the projects that Von Solms oversaw at CMR is the Homefood Security Programme.
The programme has been supported by the Westbank Foundation since 2004 and grows vegetables and teaches families to make their own home food gardens. It also serves 1200 families in the Mzamomhle, Reeston and Ducats areas.
“This is so significant for me because when I came here, we worked in the same areas [we do now] but they were smaller back then. Initially we did small projects like beadwork and sewing but we realised that that was not going to feed people, unless you were really good and you had your own market,” Von Solms said.
“But if you grow your own food you are able to feed your own family and make some money. If I look back, that was one of the monuments of God’s grace – giving us practical plans to impact the people’s lives we’re working with.”
The good Samaritan, now appointed as CMR director of social services in the Eastern Cape, will, together with a team, be overseeing their services across the 13 branches in the province, as well as being the office manager at CMR Port Elizabeth.
She leaves the organisation in the capable hands of Gaye Moonieya, who will be taking over from her at CMR East London.
“It is an honour and a privilege but also a daunting challenge. However, there is a very strong team at CMR, which I am very grateful for,” Moonieya said.
“Magda has been a colleague and friend for many years and I’m grateful she will still be there to mentor me. She has left the organisation on a very firm footing and, God willing, He will use all of us to build on that foundation.
“I’m very excited to have this opportunity to be part of an organisation that serves the most vulnerable in our community.”