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Tanya and Chris Harms.

Outpouring of support for devastated SA expat family

One can only describe the support initiative set up by the Saffa Moms in Great Britain Facebook group as ‘phenomenal’.

Fellow Saffa Mom  Tania Harms, 28 weeks pregnant, was placed under an induced coma late last week at St. George's hospital in London after doctors discovered swelling on her brain. Following a stroke this week, doctors were forced to remove part of her brain. Her family had to come to terms with the fact that Tania has grown her angel wings as she would never wake up. On Thursday 10 March 2016 shortly after  3pm baby Jocelyn Tania Harms was born and the family, including Tania's mom who is here from SA, said goodbye to Tania as her life support was switched off. Baby Jocelyn has been described as a fighter by neonatal nurse Caroline who just so happens to be Tswana and hails from Rustenburg.  Caroline informed us this morning that she couldn't just sit and look at her with hurt and tears in her eyes so she sang to Jocelyn throughout the night. Family member Angela de Oliveira responded by saying,

'You know, Tania would be beaming that Caroline sat with Jocelyn and spoke and sang to her as Tania loved the African harmony. She would have been very happy.'

Tania, born in Zimbabwe and raised in Nelspruit, is married to Chris Harms from Hillcrest, Durban and they currently live in Carshalton, Surrey in the UK with their 2 children aged 5 years and 22 months old. Tania met Chris in Durban when she was 19. They have lived in the UK since 2003.

Following a prayer request and continued updates from Tania’s cousin, Angela de Oliveira, the Saffa Moms set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ page which has raised over £15,000 in 24 hours.The Saffa Moms have ensured that the funds raised will be paid directly into Chris’ own bank account and are very conscious of the need for transparency and trust with all donors.

Tania with cousin Angela at her hen's party in 2007.

Tania with cousin Angela at her hen's party in 2007.

Another Saffa Mom, Maxie Sofos, also arranged with a frozen meal company, Cook, in neighbouring Banstead village for vouchers and orders to be placed by anyone wishing to donate meals. The company has kindly offered a £100 voucher and 30% discount for the next 12 months for the Harms family.

Tania Harms and family

Tania Harms with family and friends in recent years.

The Saffa Moms community has been known to rally in support of its group members as well as other charitable initiatives in recent years. The group was created by Carol Rozenboom in 2011 following the birth of her little boy and now has nearly 6,000 very active members.

‘I felt lonely after having my baby and with no support from family (as they all still live in SA), I decided to form this group to see if perhaps we as South African mothers can support each other. After all, most of us would be in the same postion with no family around and we could befriend each other and become ‘family’…’ 

Success stories from the group includes strong friendships, babysitting, paying it forward, travel, immigration and other tips, personal issues, emotional as well as financial and other support for those who experience times of need.

Having been a member of this group since January 2012, I am personally able to vouch for the invaluable support, friendships, laughter and support that this group provides and Carol does a tremendous admin job despite it often being time-consuming. I am genuinely proud to be a part of such an amazing group where the spirit of Ubuntu shines through daily.

A personal note to Angela on behalf of all Saffa Moms:
'Witnessing your strength in supporting Chris, looking after his children and helping him with the heavy administration jobs required in this situation whilst providing emotional support for your husband, being a mom to your son and still remembering and showing concern for our pregnant Saffa moms group, all whilst being heavily pregnant yourself is awe-inspiring.'

This incredible community of women have put out an appeal for their fellow global South Africans to join them by donating towards the immediate and long term needs for the Harms family.

You can show your support in the following ways:Click here to donate to the ‘Go Fund Me’ page: Chris and childrenClick here to order healthy ready meals or meal vouchers: Cook ‘Remarkable Food For Your Freezer’You can post vouchers or deliver meals to Maxie's shop: Boutique Cakery, 163 Banstead High Street, Banstead, Surrey, SM7 2NT or call her on 01737 668121.If anyone is able to offer pro-bono legal advice regarding wills and financial arrangements or wish to offer support in any other way please email [email protected]

About Hayley Reichert

Passionate South African in London with a ‘glass half full’ approach to life.


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