Magical Moments is all about creating magic in the lives of ‘little people’ who would not ordinarily have a chance to experience such ‘magical moments’. While the organisation understands the desperate need for basic essentials such as food, education, health and shelter, it has focused ‘on the moment’. To take light where there is darkness, to share love and laughter, create fun and happiness, smiles and playfulness and just perhaps to create an ‘Extra-ordinary Day’ – a day different from yesterday and different from tomorrow – an escape and distraction from the everyday harsh realities of life.
Magical Moments, a registered, nonprofit charitable organisation ‘Proudly created with love in South Africa’, reaches out to abused, abandoned, disadvantaged, impoverished, neglected, orphaned, underprivileged and vulnerable children in the greater Johannesburg region.
The organisation’s magical interventions facilitate opportunities for transformation and healing through unconditional love, kindness and compassion. Most of the children Magical Moments reaches out to come from severely financially disadvantaged and underprivileged backgrounds, many experiencing extreme trauma and difficulty through poverty, neglect and abuse or being orphaned or abandoned. Magical Moments gives children a chance to escape from the harsh world that they come from and live in – a chance to play, to laugh, to have fun, to indulge, to celebrate, to be children and for a magical moment, to forget. Most of the organisation’s beneficiaries are not well known in the public domain and due to the broad profile and demographic foot print, it reaches out to children who ordinarily slip through the cracks, but are so deserving of some light, love and joy.
Since March 2004, Magical Moments has touched the lives of over 34 000 children and 108 beneficiaries – through enchanting excursions, tantalising treats and astonishing activities, focusing predominantly on children aged 2 to 10 years of age. While many organisations (NGOs, private school’s outreach programmes, churches), government and Corporate Social Initiative (CSI) feed the mind (through education), the stomach (through feeding schemes and programmes etc.), Magical Moments takes a holistic approach, as it ‘feeds the mind, the tummy and the soul’.
Magical Moments fundamental purpose is to put smiles on little faces, treats in little tummies and tickle little taste buds. Magical Moments gives the children a chance to dream, to wish and perhaps give them hope, exposing them to a world beyond their own. This is the organisation’s primary vision and philosophy – a ‘celebration of the niceties in life’.
Magical Moments brings magic to various organisations, some that may not be registered, do not receive any funding and who do not have a network of support. Many of the day-care centres, crèches or places of safety are situated in the back rooms of someone’s home or in shacks in squatter camps. Magical Moments has treated toddlers living in a prison, incarcerated with their mothers or who live on a dumping site.
There are children living in the most dire circumstances and environments, left to fend for themselves, exposed to alcoholism, sexual and drug abuse, neglect, ignorance, poverty, illiteracy, apathy and other social ills. These are children ‘living with life-threatening diseases’- forsaken. These children are also deserving of dreams and wishes. ‘Just because you live in the gutter, does notnmean you shouldn’t look up at the stars’.
So, Magical Moments reaches out to children from different backgrounds and circumstances, most who ordinarily are not accessed by corporate companies, CSI and outreach programmes. Magical Moments creates awareness about the children who ‘slip through the cracks’ and go unnoticed. Disadvantaged children playing in streets unable to go to crèche, or who live with elderly caregivers, extended families and foster care parents. As they are not formally institutionalised (where charity usually goes) they do not receive the benefits of outreach initiatives and corporate and public philanthropy.
Magical Moments goes where the children are, wherever a Magical Moment is needed, but prefer to focus on unknown places and areas, as that is where the greatest impact can be made and where it can make the most difference. A site visit of all beneficiaries is conducted to assess their needs and identify an appropriate treat, before they are nominated for a Magical Moment.
Miles of smiles
Magical Moments has treated children from Alexandra, Bekkersdal, Benoni, Berea, Bramley, CBD (inner city), Coronation Park, Cosmo City, Crosby, Diepkloof, Diepsloot, Discovery, Dobsonville, Doornkop, Drummond, Durban Deep, Ebony Park, Edenvale, Eldorado Park, Emmarentia, Fine Town, Gallo Manor, Hillbrow, Ivory Park, Jan Hofmeyr, JCS (prison), Kaalfontein, Kagiso, Katlehong, Kelvin, Kew, Krugersdorp, Kyalami, Lanseria, Lenasia, Linden, Meadowlands, Milpark, Molofo, Munsieville, Olievenhoutsbosch, Orange Farm, Orange Grove, Parktown, Phiri, Plaas Doornfontein, Princess Crossing, Protea Glen, Rabie Ridge, Randfontein, Roodepoort, Sebokeng, Soweto, Sydenham, Tembisa, Tshepisong, Toekomsrus, Tshiawelo, Unaville, Vosloorus, Waterworks, Westbury, Westonaria, White City, Yeoville and surroundings.
More than sugar and spice and all things nice
Through a few valued CSI donations, Magical Moments has uplifted children by identifying various organisations, receiving their wish lists and granting many wishes ranging from playgrounds, educational equipment, stationery, school uniforms, blankets, food, toiletries, groceries, stoves, fridges, mattresses, various essential items to the renovation of a school and installation of flush toilets and sanitation facilities. This is the organisation’s secondary vision – ‘the necessities in life’.
Behind the scenes
Magical Moments operates very much ‘below the radar’ and does not actively fundraise, relying on donations ‘by word of mouth’, the majority being received from private individuals, with some corporate donations on an ad hoc basis. Certain operational costs are still privately funded by the co-founder. The organisation is volunteer-driven with one full time volunteer, the co-founder Ilana Friedman. All funds go towards the intended beneficiaries, the children.
Magical Moments volunteers are affectionately called ‘Magical Fairies’, because on the day of an event, fairies fly in… create magic… fly out, leaving behind unconditional love and hugs, kindness, compassion and friendship and playful memories. With a sprinkling of fairy dust, they help spread the magic.
Magical Moments endeavours to make a difference in the lives of the special children whose lives are touched – creating childhood memories, making children’s wishes come true – enriching their spirit with hope, love and joy.
‘A Celebration of the Niceties in Life’.
'There is something very special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can become aware of that gift,we gain through the strength of our visions the power to shape the future.’ (Excerpt from the Starfish Story by Loren C Eiseley)
To view Magical Moments in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.