Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

At the Rooigrond Early Learning Centre, we believe that a healthy body has its’ part to play in the achievement of a healthy mind. As such, nutrition is something we took into great account when creating the menu for our Early Learning Centre and it all starts with a nutritious breakfast each day.

We seek to not only develop and nurture young minds at the Centre, but also play a part in healthy living, through encouraging healthy eating patterns amongst these kiddies.

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Losing one’s home is a painful experience, but losing it at the hand of someone you love, is much more worse. This was what a family of eight went through, earlier this year.

It all started with a pair of sneakers requested by one of the children, his parents assured him that he would receive a pair on Friday, when his father- a farm worker would receive his wages. Alas, the farmer for whom he worked did not pay his workers that day, but assured his workers that they would be paid the following day. Little did anyone know what horror would come from his inability to pay his workers that day.

The young man asked for money for his sneakers that very evening. His father explained the situation to him, but reassured him that he would receive the money the following day. The young man stormed out livid and did not go home that night. Upon his return, the following day, the young man found the family home empty. He poured paraffin all over and set the house alight. In that single moment, the family lost not only their home, but everything they possessed, even their Identity Documents, school uniforms, everything.

The young man was arrested for arson, which caused further stress for the family. No parent wants their child in jail, especially not at their hand.

Upon hearing about the family’s situation, we acted to solve the immediate problem, shelter. An entire family, more so with such young children in the household, could not be left homeless. The Local Municipality heeded our pleas and provided a ‘disaster shelter’ for the family to use for six months. With the most immediate problem solved, we could now step to the next, clothing.

Operation Blanket, a Mafikeng based NPO and Project: LAYLA, a programme under their administration were informed of the situation and opened their doors to us. Members of our team, along with Operation Blanket staff sorted clothing for the family, making sure to male their parcels as suitable as possible, including uniforms, school shoes, jerseys and so much more. These parcels were handed to the family, who received so much comfort from the kindness shown to them.

Once more, generosity and kindness, brought hope in what seemed to be a hopeless situation.

Very often interventions in areas like the Rooigrond Informal Settlement are unsuccessful, due to a failure to take into account the contexts of such areas.

The challenges faced there are very different from what the average person faces daily. Overcrowding, going long distances for water; poor, if any, sanitation; amongst many more are the reality of many people in rural contexts. We meet these realities daily, but never has one hit home like the ‘cow incident’ earlier this year.

One evening, shortly after midnight, a knock came to our door and we were informed that a cow had fallen into a toilet. The Fire Brigade was called and believing it to be a hoax, they failed to act. The police had no interest in assisting, which left it up to the community to ensure that this animal was safely removed. Fearing broken limbs, a plan was made to dig a trench around the cow , so as to not have to pull it, thereby causing it more distress. This was successfully done.

The above scenario is something that many, if any person in an urban situation would ever go through. It’s such challenges that need to be understood, in order to understand the rural contexts. Some things we never dream possible, are the daily realities of others.

Instead of judging too harshly, let us remember, we don’t understand what another may be facing that makes them the way they are…

We Care!

Posted: March 12, 2011 in General, Uncategorized

Very often, the real victims of the HIV/AIDS pandemic are forgotten, immediately after their parents are buried. But often what is left, are innocent children left to fend for themselves or are added into households, which have no room for more.

It’s made even worse by the fact that, many of these children had to care for their sick parent/s on their own, watching them die and the torn emotions that come with that death. The sorrow of losing a parent is never an easy thing to endure, more so for children; this coupled with fear about the future and guilt that comes with the relief the death brings for those who’ve had to care for their parents for extended periods, is enough to haunt any child.

So the opportunity to bring joy to these dear ones, was and still is very treasured. Watching them receive their parcels with such eagerness and seeing their joy at being thought of, is a memory engraved on our hearts forever…

As Cicero said, “It is our special duty, that if anyone needs our help, we should give him such help to the utmost of our power.” When doing this, let us especially help children, who are our greatest resource.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has left behind many orphans and vulnerable children in the Rooigrond Informal Settlement Area. Kids are left to care for their younger siblings and some more fortunate are taken in by relatives who cannot afford to maintain them.

In light of this situation, we once more joined hands with Project: LAYLA, who kindly extended the number of their 2nd Anniversary beneficiaries, to include 16 of the worst off Orphans and vulnerable children in the village.

There were lots of tears, as some of these children had never in their life worn their own clothes or as some recalled how they had never received clothes since their parents death. One little girl even changed right there and then.

HIV/AIDS is something that affects us all, as it tears lives apart. In our aim to create a better world, let us not forget these children, the worst victims of this pandemic.

All South Africans have a right to be registered and no-one can refuse that right. However, for those in poverty, exercising that right often poses serious challenges, due to the costs involved. As such, many who are poor are not registered, which denies them access to many services. Unregistered children have no access to healthcare and schooling, adults too are denied many rights, if without this documentation.

As part of our path to empower the community, we realised that enabling them to access services denied to them was necessary. Many of the community members, particularly the elderly and children were without registration documents. The Department of Home Affairs was reached out to. An out-reach was co-ordinated and Mafikeng SAPS kindly assisted by availing members to assist with the required affidavits, as well as the South African Social Services Agency (SASSA) to assist those in need of social grants.

The people came in their numbers to apply for IDs, birth certificates and social grants. Children were given the opportunity to access some of the rights denied to them and as a whole, the community was empowered in a very sustainable way, as being registered opened so many doors to services previously denied…

The youth who had participated in the HIV/AIDS and Life-skills training went forth as ambassadors to the youth of Rooigrond. They eagerly shared what they had learnt with others and continue trying to apply it to their own lives as well. This coupled with the sense of achievement stirred up in them at the ‘Graduation’ ceremony, in which they received their certificates, created the need to do it again.

Once more, the Southern Cross Capacitating Corporation heeded our call and trained 30 more youths, who also passed the training course with flying colours and were awarded their certificates in a beautiful ceremony on the 12th December 2010. Once again, youth had been empowered not only with knowledge, but also with a sense of achievement and self-determination. It was wonderful to witness how this empowerment effort affected so much more than teaching the youth about responsible behaviour, it reached right to their self-esteem and had a general positive effect on the community, also inspiring the youth to get more active in community affairs.

The training course was a worthwhile endeavour, but we never even imagined what would come out of it in months to come- the extent to which the youth had been inspired…

There is nothing worse, than looking a hungry child in the eye and not being able to feed them. It kills a part of the soul and no-one should ever have to experience that. However, in October 2010, we did. As a part of our operations, we run a Daily Feeding Program in Rooigrond- which at the time catered for 483 children.

The village has two engine enabled water pumps, which serve the entire village. In October 2010, the engines broke down, with fruitless attempts in fixing it. The village was distraught, as this meant there was no water to drink, wash and even to cook for their families. Over and above that, we had no water with which to cook for the beneficiaries of our Daily Feeding Program, we were devastated.

However, means were made to communicate our problem with an associate, Nadia Petersen, who responded to this by sending out a public SOS. Within a short time, Marius Du Toit, the owner of a property in the vicinity responded with a generous offer of water. Such kindness and generosity was very welcome and that same day, 110 litres of water were collected from his property. The children could eat once more.

It is unthinkable that out here in the world, we still have people going hungry due to a lack of what is a ‘natural resource’. A very sad reality that we have come face to face with on more than one occasion. As sad as this is, it has to be said that the kindness through which this can be overcome, is beautiful to witness. We’ve been shown this kindness on more than one occasion by the very same Marius Du Toit and the generous folk of Westgate. It goes beyond what words could ever express and imprints itself deeply to the soul.

This kindness, shows the truth in our motto, indeed “together, we can overcome…”

Hello world!

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hello everyone. We’re really excited to be blogging and look forward to sharing with you the highs, lows and challenges we face daily in our aim to facilitate positive change. We look forward to interacting with you all. Bless!!!