Showing posts from 2010

christmas present for maz

christmas may have passed last weekend but in true style our amazing friend matt walker arrives with something to blow us away.....maz has only been saying recently that she can never get to a computer, even in our new office, however today her dreams have come true as matt bought us a brand new laptop....this man has a wonderful heart of generosity and we want to thank him for all his love and support over this last year.

walkers christmas newsletter!

we (tim, maz and arron) wanted to send out a more personal Christmas newsletter, but due to some internet/googlemail problems we weren't certain on who received this and who didn't, therefore we have decided to at it to this blog with a link from our individual facebook sites.

we hope you enjoy the read and want to encourage you to continue to follow our progress on a daily basis here at the village of hope blog.

Walker Christmas Update from Village of Hope

Grabouw, South Africa

Dec 2010.

Firstly we (Tim, Maz and Arron) wanted to bring you a more personal news update from the Village of Hope Grabouw, rather than the more ‘corporate’ ThembalitshaUK newsletter that you may normally receive.

Well what a year 2010 proved to be and we will try provide some of our personal highlights (and maybe some low lights) throughout the next few paragraphs.

We started the year in the wonderful summer weather of South Africa, always a bonus for those of us that love the sunny weather, however within a…

homes for sail.....take 2

see previous story here.
once again we have been blessed with the provision of two sailing (yacht) sails from our friend mike in somerset west, and once again we have blessed another family in the iraq squatter camp, grabouw, with a new roof.

photos show arron, our eldest son chris and chris' father-in-law paul smith taking a morning to cut and install the sail.

christmas in the squatter camps

i don't think anyone can really appreciate the poverty that surrounds our town until they have visited the poorest of the poor, not just on some township tour but walking, talking, sharing time and conversation in the very homes of the thousands of people who live in some of the worst conditions in the world. the contrast between the have and have nots is somewhat brain challenging but God has provided us with a platform to not only help but really engage with these people.

on fridays we are provided an amazing pot of soup from our local resturant (the rose and bull) which we normally share with a local soup kitchen that cares of the needs of a small number of people in the rooidakke informal settlement, however last friday (christmas eve) the centre was shut but we still had the soup to give out...therefore rob (house) called me to see who we could bless with it.

we made our way to the iraq squatter camp, which sits above rooidakke, in my bakkie and encouraged everyone to go and co…

santa hits the big time!

for the second year running the village of hope hit the front page headlines in the christmas edition of our local newspaper, the elgin grabouwer. see story as image and click for a larger version.

but this year santa has gone one step further by appearing on youtube, see link here . emily house, our wonderful film tech guru, put this clip together to give you all a flavour of the event, include the assembly by johan, decoration by tim and rob, our santa played by tim's dad, and elves fran, kate, jess and mel giving out sweets from the sleigh, unfortunately you don't really see arron, josh, chris or dan who were playing crowd control!!!...hopefully you will see the joy that was bought to hundreds of children who can be seen running after the sleigh in the waterwerks squatter camp.

next year we will have to go one step further, but for now we want to wish you all a very happy christmas from the team at the village of hope, grabouw, south africa.

kayak day makes the news

as you may have read last week we took 50 children who have been the most regular at our weekly sports outreach clubs to the local dam, read story here. well the story has been reprinted in our local paper, see image to the left and if you would like to read further click onto it for a larger copy.

christmas decorations

this afternoon the boys, arron, josh and dan, with the help of a few friends, put up the christmas decorations in the children's unit...i know we are late but better late than never!

father christmas arrives early in grabouw

yesterday afternoon the children in our local community were surprised to see father christmas riding on the back of our sleigh. this was the second year that we converted our trailer into a sleigh and the response was no less joyful from the children who saw us.

last year we had trondor our Norwegian volunteer, play the star role of father christmas, see last years post, this year my dad (roger) had the staring role which i think he enjoyed. he was joined in the sleigh by our 'elves', mel, katie, fran and jess who gave out sweets, bars of soap and mens aftershave from the back of the sleigh.

it was so wonderful to bless the kids in this way, and to see their smiling faces as they saw santa coming past their homes was a real pleasure.

emily house took a lot of video which she is hoping to upload to youtube and as soon as it is available we will post a link.

new home, new family

this morning we had the wonderful privilege to take our 9 year old girl to her new home in khayelitsha, she will join 5 other children at one of the homes run by the amazing charity 'home from home'.

whilst it was a sad morning for our house moms and our 8 other children, she was so excited about moving into her new home and meeting her new foster mom. she is the 16th child that we have placed back into the community with either foster, adoptive or their own families which is amazing in the 20 months we have been open as we had little or no hope of placing any of them back home.

with her leaving we have one space in our 9 bed unit to take in another child who we will work with, stabilise their medication and work with our local social services to place them into a new home and the cycle of new hope which our project offers will continue.

please join us as we pray for this young girl as she settles into her new family and pray also for continued links as we look to work with '…

helping friends

yesterday we had an amazing afternoon when we took 50 of our most regular children on a special outing as a prize for their attendance at our sports based life skills and bible clubs.

we had hoped to take the children to the beach at gordon's bay but with high winds forecast we thought that rather than being sand blasted for 2 hours we would try to come up with another plan.

early in the morning i made a phone call to a guy who runs an outward bound style camp in the wonderful apple orchards around grabouw, and without hesitation he invited us to bring the children to the dam where they could swim and learn how to kayak.

what rikus, who runs company 'true north team building and adventures' didn't tell me was that he was already running a camp for some of the children who attend the applewood and Beaumont schools in elgin and somerset west....these children are mainly those from the richer end of our community who are on a week long summer camp.

the large majority of the c…

when all hope is lost, there's still hope in Jesus!

it's five years ago today since i first stepped foot on south african soil, a lot has changed since then and having moved over full time two years ago i have meet some amazing people, these could be white vineyard owners, coloured community leaders or simple black children who capture your heart with their stories and smiles.

no one has captured my heart more than a 15 year old boy who has been regularly coming to our sports outreach in the iraq squatter camp in grabouw, this young lad has provided me with endless hours of laughter, his ability to translate my bible stories or soccer training to the younger children has enabled me to build into many many children's lives.....however his life story is one that would keep me awake at night as the wind and rain pour down on my tiled roof, whilst he only about 1/2 a mile away from my home contends with the same conditions in his small tin shack.

only last week when we were chatting about how the local people have accepted me (us VoH…

the village gets pigs

yes that's right the village of hope have now taken two little piggies into their care, well not exactly our care as we are hoping to fatten them up to reduce our food bills in our children's unit, but they have come to join us in our wonderful surroundings for a few months!

arron is still to name them but i will keep you up to date with their little lives on the blog over the next few weeks...they have already made their dash for freedom by evading both the electric fence and the 'pig proof' fence which arron has placed around their home....arron and bruno (our little jack russell) weren't so lucky and both felt the full force of the electric fence...that'll teach them!

all the children have been down to visit the pigs this evening, the picture shows arron with on of our little girls...lets hope the children don't grow too fond of them!

CD4 count just 6!

i was somewhat shocked today to find out that a mum of one of the boys who attends our soccer outreach was in thembacare receiving treatment for HIV....obviously this is a very sensitive and personal topic but when i enquired as to how she was doing i was very upset when i heard that her CD4 count was only 6. for those of you unfamiliar with HIV and AIDS i have copied a couple of statements from a web site to give you a bit of a background, see below.

"On a regular basis, your doctor will draw blood to measure the number of functioning CD4 cells. The higher the number the stronger your immune system. People without HIV infection have about 700 to 1000 CD4 cells in a drop of blood the size of a pea. HIV infected people are considered to have "normal" CD4 counts if the number is above 500 CD4 cells in that same size drop of blood".

"If the number of CD4 cells in that drop of blood ever drops below 200 CD4 cells, you are classified as having AIDS. Simply put, exper…

roundtable headlines in grabouwer

last saturday's sports outreach has been covered in this weeks 'elgin grabouwer', one of the highlights of the day were the new tee shirts which were provided by the local roundtable and this story has been chosen for the paper.

we want to thank all the guys from the elgin grabouw roundtable for their continued support of our work and the way that they give so selflessly when we call upon them.

Themba Training: December 2010 News

Themba Training is taking on new heights! In October, we took 15 of our trainees to a 4-Star Lodge (Feathers Lodge) for further practical business training. The majority of those attending aspired to be in the catering business. Aneen, manager of Feathers Lodge, shared about how they started small and grew to be one of the best lodges in Cape Town. She also gave some tips on hospitality. Our trainees didn’t just learn about hospitality, they experienced it. This was indeed a huge encouragement for some of our trainees. A young lady by the name Princess who has a cleaning business is now getting a weekly practical training at Feathers Lodge. We believe that out of this initiative she well be able to grow her business, run it with excellence, and possibly be able to get contracts there for her cleaning business. 
As we look to 2011, Themba Training is hopeful for more new business opportunities and new relationships for our trainees so they can move form survival mode to a place of tr…

December Newsletter

Hello everyone!
So we enter the last month of what has been a very exciting year not only for Village of Hope but for the whole of South Africa. The Football World Cup truly was a great success…
However, this success does nothing to detract from the terrific damage that HIV and AIDS continues to do to the country. Today (December 1st) is World AIDS Day, so please continue to think and pray for us as we seek to make a difference to those infected or affected with this disease in Grabouw.
Tonight we are holding a fundraising quiz night in Aylesbury. Please come and join us if you live nearby. We are even hoping to rope in the Village of Hope Team via Skype! – It should make for an entertaining evening. Please see Events for more details
Of course, we have also been thinking about you with the run up to Christmas and know that some of you are struggling to find suitable gifts for your relatives and friends. So, to help you with your stressful predicament we have produced some fantastic Themb…

Thembacare Grabouw: December 2010 News

On Saturday 20th November an amazing team from Travelstart came to give the ThembaCare Grabouw facility a new coat of much needed paint!! The Team worked hard on a rainy and windy day. With the Travelstart ‘Angels’ was the weather presenter from E- TV, Derrick van Damme, who worked just as hard. The money for the paint job was raised by the generous folk at through a raffle to win a date with Derrick! It was great to see adults and children all coming together and giving up their time to paint the building. It was such a blessing to the many patients who are cared for and supported in the community of Grabouw. Well done guys, we salute you!!

We are also excited to have received a donation of a caravan from the generous people at Appletiser. We intend to turn it into a mobile testing unit which will enable us to cover a lot more people a lot faster. We are going to get it all spruced up so keep an eye out for pictures of the transformed caravan soon.

December News

For the past few months the Lord has been good to us, not just for the donations that we’ve received but because each student and staff member has remained healthy.
We’ve been blessed with many different kinds of people coming to our school and we learnt a lot from them. Since July we have had 2 volunteers; 1 from Texas, Angie Almand and Eva from Germany (who also blessed us with a fridge!) The two of them really enjoyed themselves here. Although they have now returned home we really miss them as they very quickly became part of the family.
We also had a visit from Trinity Church from Dallas, USA who blessed us by painting our building again. Helen, one of the group members sponsored baby dolls to our children so we have had a lot of fun! Pastor John from Zambia Every Nation also came to visit us recently. Every Nation students, who have served us this year with activities and bible stories, gave our children a farewell party.  
These last few weeks we have been very busy training the …

another successful sports saturday

last saturday we held our last sports saturday of the 2010 year, an eventful year for sport in south africa and not one that we have let pass by either.

this final sports saturday took place at our new venue the groenberg (green mountain) high school in grabouw, where we hosted around 100 children for a morning of soccer and netball competition.

the teams were made up of the two new schools project we have started, KMP (katharine murray primary) and pineview primary, who previously made up our hillside and rooidakke teams, along with our established community teams from iraq and waterwerks as well the farm team from remhoogte. the boys were split into under 13 and under 15 age groups with lisa organising the girls as she felt fit!....

all the boys had to play in bare feet as not everyone had sports shoes but we were able to provide football shirts to all teams, including bristol city, reading and coventry city, shame there were no QPR tops but they remain top of the football league cham…

graceland graduation

last night we had the pleasure of attending the graceland pre primary school graduation, graceland is another thembalitsha foundation project and provides education to around 60 preschool (3-6 years) farm workers children from the beautiful devon valley area just outside stellenbosch.

the evening started with the graduation of around 15 children, who were all dressed up in the full garb, see photos, and then each class performed a short song or nursery rhyme, the highlight being a class dancing in full south african soccer shirts to the song 'make the circle bigger' which was very big over here during the world cup. the parents and children then ended the evening with a full braai (BBQ) prepared by some of the students from the school of hope.

the principle of the school, elizabeth, and her team do an amazing job in preparing these disadvantaged children for their entry into the education system and it was lovely to celebrate with them the stories of hope that they are providing…

December News

Awards evening was an outstanding night of joy and tears: top achievers were awarded but we also said goodbye to the Matric learners. Meghan Martin, who was awarded school Valedictorian for 2011, made an unforgettable speech that encapsulated the transformation that took place in her during her time at the School of Hope.
The matrics have started writing their final exams for 2011. So far, they are reporting back to us with broad, confident smiles! 
The rest of the school was treated to an adventurous day spent on a 4X4 trail over roughest terrain! The day was made possible by Kobus Meyer and the Be A Blessing team in twelve 4X4's. They gave each of the 25 participants a goodie bag, took them strawberry picking and thrilled them with their adrenalin-pumping 4X4 antics!
School of Hope also has a new friend: head of the weather department and celebrity meteorologist Derek Van Damme. He has visited the school twice and led the morning devotions, much to the delight of all the students…

December News

Our spring ball and auction on October 9th at the Lord Charles Hotel was a huge success. We would like to thank everyone involved, our guests, our fab décor girls and our donors. We are extremely happy with the results and excited and encouraged by the fantastic support by all who attended. We managed to raise R90888 in total!
At this event, manager Mel Novitzkas announced her retirement from BB and introduced her replacement, Frances Fuchs.
About Frances - new project manager of BB ‘I did a BA degree at UCT and after my studies worked for Nicro women’s support centre in Cape Town. There I was a full-time volunteer and counselor. I did counseling for abused women and this opened my heart for the plight of women.
My son was born in 2002 in Canada where my husband, Ben, and I lived after we got married. Ian is 8 years old and in grade 2 at De Hoop primary school in Somerset West. My daughter Emma was born in 2008. She is tiny and cute and very clever! After Emma’s birth I started volunteerin…

the book has arrived

well after a few weeks of waiting the wonderful book entitled 'footprints in the sand' by wayne shoenfeld arrived in our post box this morning, we spent a good hour pondering over the thought provoking photos and reading the text about the work that we (village of hope and thembacare) are doing here in grabouw and then this afternoon i was able to take a couple of copies of the book out into the community to bless those who appeared in the book with us.

see photos of our security guard and care worker

the guy that provided 'security' for the team has now moved into one of the newly built government homes, his neice once spent some time with us at the village of hope and he is still fully employed as a security guard, however the thembacare worker who features throughout the book isn't doing so well. i was very embarrassed to have bought them a present, which wasn't going to sustain them through this tough period, her husband has not worked for a couple of months …

world toilet day!

yesterday was world toilet day, no this isn't a joke as the day was set up to highlight the basic water and sanitation needs of many many people in our world.....please visit their web site for more info here.

water and sanitation is a huge problem facing thousands of people in our town of grabouw and whilst the municipality is doing some great work to provide the basics to the areas of waterworks (which is a squatter camp/informal settlement right next to the waterworks, but with only a few standpipes and toilet blocks to serve a large section of our community, slightly ironic!), rooidakke, zola and iraq, there is this real mind challenging issue with multi million pound homes, hotels and farms with 'western style' sanitation that we all take for granted, living side by side with families living in tin shacks sharing one toilet between 12 other families (at least)....

....yesterday i took a couple of photos showing some of the children that we work with standing outside the…

new mini/mircrobus

well at last we have the bus we are looking for, it's not a brand new toyota quantam that we were hoping for but a 10 year old vw microbus! we have been on the look out for one for quite sometime and we made the decision to trade in the old condor and put some extra money which was given to us by the YWAM team for their vehilce needs during the world cup.

so we must add a special thanks to YWAM and this now means that we can fit ALL the children in one vehicle which is fantastic, this morning i did the school run with fran, which was great....we trust that this van will serve us well as we trust God for the provision of the real deal when we can really afford it!

christmas is coming can you help?....yes you can!

yesterday i took this wonderful photo of one of our little boys doing his homework with one of the house moms, after i took it i wondered where i could use it to promote the work that we are doing on the village of hope and thought that maybe someone will look at the blog and want to invest in the work we are doing.

christmas is coming and i know that you will be struggling to think of a suitable gift for auntie anne, or cousin john, so what better way to give that to invest in the lives of the children that we are working with who are living with hiv and aids here in south africa.

i know it's a big ask but with more money we can support more children, providing them with a loving home and a mom to do their homework with....if you would like to give to our work then please follow this link to our justgiving page...thanks

birthdays...time to celebrate

grabouw weather is known to have 3 seasons in one day and much can also be said about the life here at the village of hope, this week we have heard of the passing of one of the thembacare workers brothers, one of the children that attend sports outreach mum passed away and one of our house moms was held up at gun point over the weekend.....

..and as a complete contrast we also celebrated one of our boys 1st birthdays, it seems hard to celebrate when people around are mourning or facing troubles, but life goes on and it was wonderful to see this little chap, who we have had since he was 5 days old, enjoy his first birthday....please pray for him and also his family and our nation as trouble seems to be on our doorstep each and everyday.

home visit and troubles a foot

on friday afternoon we took our 9 year old girl into khayelitsha to spend a weekend with her new foster mom, she had amazing time and the photo shows her with maz and her new mom, nicky.

things however weren't all that rosy as we entered and exited khayelithsa, as we came off the N2 into 'mew way' we were greeted by a police road block and we diverted around it, as we had only one set of instructions to the home we spent around 1 hour trying to find the we arrived we found some of the other children who live in this home were waiting to go on an end of term camp....however it seems that the bus that they were waiting for was the one that was hijacked and stoned with other children who were attending the camp...see the news story here.

things are getting a little out of hand to say the least, last night an english couple, on holiday, we hijacked and the woman, 28 years old, was killed, see this link.

please continue to pray for our country and our safety as we work …

October Newsletter


November is Spring time here in South Africa and is always a glorious time in Grabouw. The apple trees are just flowering, the roses are having their first flush (yes that’s what it’s called!), the local farms and vineyards open their doors to the public to show off their wonderful gardens, and the prospect of a summer of hot and dry weather is just around the corner (sorry to rub it in folks!).....however not everything is so rosy in the valley as many hundreds if not thousands of families struggle with unemployment, lack of adequate housing and major health and welfare issues....thanks to your support we are making a real difference in the sleepy rural town of Grabouw. Read on to find out what we have been doing this month:


Children's Unit
Sports Outreach & Community Work
Other News & Volunteers
How You Can Help


Our 9 bed childrens unit has once again had 100% occupancy and with 15 children already placed back with their fa…

grass roots soccer (football)

today myself, daz and our dutch sports management student (bart) visited an amazing project in khayelitsha built by fifa but run by grass roots soccer. the project has an astroturf 5 a side pitch and a classroom/support room, toilets and offices, all set against a backdrop of tin shacks right in the middle of one of the largest townships in africa.

whilst we were there the pitch was being used by a class of 5-6 year olds from a local school. it was wonderful to see sport and especially soccer bring hope to a much needy community. the facility seemed to be a real hub and maybe to add on health and welfare care facilities at the same venue would be a real win.

now we would love to see this style of facility rolled out to some of the open spaces in grabouw, ok the investment might be huge but the long term benefits to the community are beyond measure....can we make this happen?....i have faith but only God knows!

homes for sail

last month i met up with a guy who sails boats for a living (there must be an official term for that, perhaps rob could help me out with that one)...anyway i was chatting about the work we do in the community and the home visit we had made to one of our children who we have placed back with his mother....when lisa visited the mother showed her a large hole in the thin black sheet which covered her small shack....anyway as i was chatting to mike (the boat man) he said that he could get hold of some old sails...well that he did and yesterday me and daz went and fitted the first of the sails onto that house.

the first photo shows the mother and child outside their home (as you can see we only just finished it before the rain came, which was a blessing) and the second shows the father of another family that we work with who i blessed with the second sail....hopefully mike will be able to provide many more in the near future and we can assist with some much needed roofing in our local commu…