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Westville schoolgirl raises largest single donation for orphans


Westville schoolgirl raises largest single donation for orphans

The babies of the local Westville orphanage The Baby House have a staunch ally in 12-year-old schoolgirl Caleigh Allnatt. Unprecedented in The Baby House history, the grade 7 learner from Westville Senior Primary School initiated a tremendously well-supported fundraiser, which saw a cheque for R45 900 handed over to the charity that cares for the orphaned and abandoned babies. 

The Baby House was established as a non-profit organisation in Westville in 2015 as a safe house to care for abandoned and orphaned babies until they can be reunited with their birth families or placed with loving adopted families. Terri Wenzel, who runs The Baby House Westville, explains, "In the past six years, we have had 47 babies in our care. Each baby who comes through our doors is such a blessing and impacts our lives in so many ways." 

However, what any parent knows is that raising a baby is not a cheap prospect. For organisations like The Baby House, donations are their lifeblood, allowing them to continue their invaluable service to the community. Unfortunately, Covid has had a telling impact on contributions as the home was closed to visitors and volunteers. At the same time, donations dropped off as people grapple with the financial implications of the pandemic. 

This is where Caleigh saw a need and stepped into the breach. After volunteering several times at the orphanage, she decided to take her care and compassion for The Baby House orphans to the next level. As a part of her 2020 New Year's resolution, she set herself the target of raising funds for the charity. Initially, the local Westville schoolgirl compiled research delving into who the charity was, their mission, and their needs which she placed in a flip file to use to convince community members to donate. Using her presentation, Caleigh approached the local Westville community. Over a period of 18 months, she appealed for donations from her parents, siblings, and other family members. Casting her net wider, she approached her mother's colleagues at Prop Data Internet Marketing, her father's colleagues at Shelley Residential, her parents' friends when they popped round for a visit, and her Westville school friends and neighbours. She even managed to extract a healthy R8 500 contribution from Shelley Residential's partner attorney firm, Dykes van Heerden. All in all, Caleigh gathered funds from 41 individuals and raised an impressive R22 950 for The Baby House. 

When Caleigh approached her father, Scott Allnatt, Managing Director and co-founder of Shelley Residential, a community-inspired real estate company that operates in the Westville and Cowies Hill areas, he was motivated by his daughter's drive and tenacity. Together with Shelley Residential's co-founder and sales director, Josh Buitendach, they agreed to partner with Caleigh and have Shelley Residential match all funds she managed to raise. Uplifting the communities in which they operate is a founding principal and central ethos of Shelley Residential. According to Josh Buitendach, "We believe in giving back to the communities within which we operate. Therefore, Shelley Residential is committed to donating 10% of our annual profit to local non-profit organisations that are dedicated to uplifting and serving the needs of the Westville and Cowies Hill communities.". To date, Shelley Residential's community beneficiaries include Westville Senior Primary School Arts & Culture Department, Westville Schools Orchestra Trust, Cowies Hill Estate, Hope House Pinetown, and the Kloof & Highway SPCA. With Caleigh's fundraising drive and their commitment to matching it, The Baby House is now the happy recipient of R 45 900, which will go towards the care of some of the community's newest and most vulnerable members.

Terri Wenzel explained that at first, she was speechless when told of the donation raised, "This is one of the largest once-off donations we have received to date and definitely the largest donation made by a child. Caleigh is an enterprising, determined young lady with such a beautiful big heart. We can't thank her enough for the incredible work she did in raising such a large amount of money for our beautiful babies." She went on to thank those who donated to the cause adding: "Our babies send their best, spittiest kisses of thanks for the kindness and generosity shown to them - especially in difficult times such as these." Proud father, Scott, had this to say about his budding philanthropist: "I could not be more in awe of my daughter. To see someone set their minds to a goal, work diligently and ceaselessly to achieve it - without the impetus of personal gain - is an inspiration to me and the Westville community at large.".

To contribute and assist the Baby House Westville, please contact Terri Wenzel on 061 125 0887 or visit

Author Shelley Residential
Published 03 Aug 2021 / Views -

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