In 1934 Moulana Mukhtar Ahmed Siddique and his associates among whom were A.I.Kajee, C.M. Angalia, Tayob Sacoor, M.S. Kharwa, Sayed Fakroodeen, Ismail Osman, E.M. Paruk and A.K.E. Bux felt that there was a crying need for a home which would provide shelter and care for the orphans, the homeless, widows and destitute.
The late Mr. E.M. Paruk who is remembered for his philanthropic gesture offered the free use of a wood and iron cottage in Inanda Road, Sea Cow Lake. A constitution was drafted and the Institution was established at a meeting held on September 10, 1934.
Moulana Mukhtar was elected Chairman and the first committee consisted of Messrs Ismail Osman, Tayob Sacoor, Hajee Suliman Essack, I.A. Baychain, M.S. Kharwa and Mehboob Khan with Hajee Sayed Fakroodeen as the Treasurer and Messrs A.K.E. Bux and S.M. Mayet as the joint honourary secretaries.
The committee had hardly begun work when it suffered a setback. The premises were considered to be a health hazard and were condemned by the public health authorities. However a breathing space was obtained and we learnt that over a period of 3 years, 42 women and children were accommodated at the home.
The bulk of the funds of the running of the institution were provided by voluntary donors. The Natal Provincial Administration recognised the value of the work undertaken and made an annual grant of 50 pounds. The Indian Immigration Bureau gave a contribution in the form of groceries.
n 1937, a property in Westville was offered for sale to the organisation. The property comprised of 9.5 acres of land and a 6-room cottage was purchased for 1.600 pounds. When the European seller Mr. Raw heard from the Late Mr. Ismail Gora the purpose for which the property was being purchased he immediately donated 750 pounds to the institution.
he Estate Late Hajee Shaik Moosaib donated 200 pounds and the late widow of the Late Moulana Fateh Mahomed Sahib donated 100 pounds in the memory of her husband. The Durban city council assisted by exempting the institution from rates for the property.
The home enjoyed 26 years of stability, after which in 1963 the area was declared for white ownership and occupation under the Group areas act. In 1969, the home was expropriated by the Department of Community Development.
In 1964 through the kind generosity of the La Mercy Township developers, Messrs Posselt and Coull (PTY) LTD, 5 acres of land was donated to the institution through their agent Messrs A.I. Kajee (PTY) LTD and E.A Timol and the balance was purchased for the sum of R 14,000.
A house planning and Development Committee was formed and Mr. E.M Moosa and the Late Messrs Y.A Lockhat, E.A Timol, Abdullah Khan,C.M Bassa M.E Sultan, A.I Timol and Dr G.H. Vawda served on it.
Through their efforts, the foundation stone for the new building was laid on 12th June 1971, by the Late Dr. A.M. Moolla. The children’s home was officially opened by the then chairman of the trustees Mr. E.M. Randeree on 23rd November 1974.
The home had a carrying capacity for 66 children with provision for future extensions. In 1982 the needs of the home increased. There was a great need for professional staff, study areas, sheltered workshops and a recreational hall.
Under a new management, with old guards Mr. E.A. Timol and Mr. E.M Moosa plans were drawn to meet these needs. A spacious common room was completed at a cost of R 31,000 and the study/recreational hall, principal, child care workers, social workers and staff living quarters was completed at +- R 600 000.
A humble beginning at Sherwood had culminated into a modern, spacious and comfortable home for needy children which were otherwise denied to them in the open society. Undoubtedly with these updated facilities, the future looked promising for the proper social and psychological development of children in the institutions care.
During the 1980’s in keeping within social and welfare thinking at the time resulted in us changing the way we accommodated our children at La Mercy. We changed from a dormitory system to a cottage system where groups of about 8 children began to live under the direct care of a childcare worker, thereby creating a more homely atmosphere. This system is still in place today.
The 90’s ushered in major new programmes at Darul Yatama. The first was the drilling of a borehole at La Mercy from which we are still utilising water to this day. The borehole was sponsored by the Jadwat Family. Our 60th Anniversary function was held at La Mercy in 1994. Extensive research was carried out in the late 1980’s and early 1990 are accommodating in the establishments of the Senior Mothers Home – Baitul Hifazat and the Senior Fathers Home – Baitul Firdous under the leadership of the late Mr. Essop Timol.
At the turn of the millennium the organisation decided to consolidate its efforts by running with the programmes at hand. In spite of this, two more programmes surfaced in the form of Skills development for the children. These were the chicken farm and the tunnel farm.
The current Trustee’s, Board of Management and the Executives did a sterling job by distributing some of the accumulated Zakaat to deserving Educational Institutions, paying of School Fees and awarding Tertiary Bursaries to students attending Tertiary Institutions during 2009, after proper screening of course. The total amount distributed for educating the Muslim youth during 2009 was +/- R2, 129,000. The sad part of this is that this was done as a once off thing for 2009 and could not be repeated for 2010 due to lack of funding and the support of other Institutions cannot be maintained, unless more funds are forthcoming.
We are now looking to the future with plans to extend and expand both Homes. This, however, will only be possible if we can locate Donors who are willing to assist. We need your support for these endeavours in order to succeed.
The elected members currently serving on the Trust Board,
Management Board have put their shoulders to the wheel and are committed
to the tasks at hand, and can only lead the Organisation into the future
with the support of the Community, and the future leaders coming from
the younger members of the Management Board as well as younger volunteers
who will join the Organisation and rise up the ranks.