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Showing posts from June, 2012

saying goodbye....

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over the last few months we have been blessed to have the help of a plethora of volunteers who have been working with both the village of hope via our children's unit, sports outreach and rainbow smiles club, but also with our sister project thembacare grabouw.

this afternoon we held our regular wednesday 'church service' at thembacare, which was lead by our wonderful team from midcities in the usa, more of them later in the week, but this was the last 'service' for four of our volunteers, jess, kat, lauren and ashlyn.

we want to thank and honor them for all their hard work, commitment and willingness to give so freely of their time to help those that we seek to support. we will really miss each and everyone of them and whilst some have really got their teeth into their own project, like jess and the support she has been to rejoyce and the other team members at our rainbow smiles HIV support group, or katia with her medical side, the others are invaluable and play a …

our 7 year old boy leaves the village of hope (our 24th!)

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well what a week we have had and to cap it all we have some further wonderful news to share. after over 2 and a half years with us our little 7 year old boy has now left us to start his new life with his grandparents on a local farm.

this boy was placed with us at very short notice in september 2009, his mother had been a patient at our thembacare grabouw facility and although the amazing team there were able to stabilise her she is unable to care for the little boy herself. you could read about his arrival during a film shoot here.

the news of his departure is due again to maz, the house moms and mommy mel who have not only worked with him but his grandparents to bring this reunification back into his family home, he becomes our 24th child to be placed home or with foster care.

over the last few weeks he has been counting down the sleeps till he was able to go home and such was his hurry on friday evening to get into the car we were unable to capture a decent photo capturing the moment,…

finishing touches

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since our children's unit received a wonderful repaint from the infocus team our longer term volunteers, ably lead by katia, have been busy installing the murals that were painted over. one can never recreate what was lost but we are so pleased with the work that kat and her team of industrious volunteers have achieved.
we have a wonderful underwater scene around that bath and nappy changing area, complete with two nemo's an amazing octopus who oversees the words for bath and toothbrush etc which are written up in english, afrikaans and xhosa to encourage the children to learn the names of things.
in the living area we now have a family tree complete with leaves and flowers with the faces of our discharged children whom we are keen to remember as part of the history of the village of hope.
we also have a new poster with the thembalitsha charity details on which hopefully will encourage over visitors to donate once they have seen the work that we are doing with these children who …

our 23rd miracle quickly follows!

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what a couple of weeks it's been and all down to the hard work of maz and the local social workers who are seeking placement for our children. today we have the amazing news that so soon after our 22nd child being placed home we have our 23rd to celebrate.

this little girl has been with us for over a year, she was identified to us by our local ARV doctor who had concerns over the compliance of her medication and during her time with us she suffered some major trauma with her being hospitalised on a couple of occasions due to the bought of TB meningitis which hit her soon after she arrived with us. in fact if she hadn't been placed into our care there is a likely hood that she would have passed away due to the seizure brought on by the meningitis.

however that's all in the past and with some great commitment shown by her mother, who has visited every day for the last two months to build up that bond and to be taught by our team about caring for a child with an chronic illness…

June News

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We have had a surge of domestic violence happening to our moms these past few weeks. Is it that we are just now becoming aware of it, or is it a sign of times getting worse for our women?

First, there was the woman I told of in the previous blog. Zoleka travelled to the Eastern Cape to attend her funeral which was well-attended. It just makes one wonder where all these ‘friends’ were when she was desperately alone and afraid, that she called her PMTCT counselor her best friend.

Since earlier this year, a quiet 16-year-old girl has been attending our support group in Macassar. She never missed a week and might say nothing, but we saw her every Friday. Let’s call her Shani. Shani gave birth to her first baby, a boy, in April. He is a lovely, beautiful big boy. The birth was difficult since she is so young and he is so big. Shani left her family, gave up her schooling, basically gave up her whole life, including her religion for a guy. She is in love, and her boyfriend tells her that being…

June News

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This month we commemorated Youth Day in South Africa but 36 years after the Soweto Uprising of 1976 the greatest crisis facing our nation is still education. The School of Hope has aligned itself with Symphonia's movement Schools at the Centre of the Community and Partners for Possibility in the hope of being part of the solution…And hope is what we have when we consider the fifteen Grade 12 learners currently writing mid-year examinations at the School of Hope. A small number? Perhaps, if you compare them to 120-200 matrics in large public and private schools. Yet each one has a story of courage and perseverance that makes the group seem larger than life.

Six have spent time on the streets; at least two of them for more than five years. Two head their households. One is the devoted mother of a three-year old. Three are refugees, far from their families and homes. Most know the struggle to survive first hand. They range in age from 18 to 24 years so, unlike most of their contempora…

June News

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The teachers were recently trained extensively in PACE which incorporates Brain Gym and the Nelds approach and is a widely used curriculum. We are going to have a visit from the lecturer who is coming to see how we are applying what we have learned in the classroom. Let’s hope we can impress!

Also this month we want to say a huge thank you to Distell who sponsored rain boots for all of Graceland's learners for the winter as well as providing us with some yummy warm winter soup.  The children are very excited about the boots and have been wearing them proudly!

Finally, we recently heard that one of our previous learners Kay Jansen is going to take part in a spelling competition.  She is reading so well and she is only in grade 2. We are really proud because she started her pre-school here with us. Good luck Kay!

Thembacare Grabouw: June 2012 News

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Winter in Grabouw is finally here and with it the freezing cold mornings, evenings and rain. June for ThembaCare Grabouw has been a busy month with a visiting volunteer team from the US going out into the community with our ‘Palliative Care Angels’, in order to experience firsthand the amazing work that the ladies do. This is usually arranged by Village of Hope for the volunteers so that they can have a bigger perspective of the work that is offered to our patients in the community of Grabouw.

We need to update our building to comply with fire and safety recommendations. Corridors need widening, doors need moving, ramps need building. There is a lot to do! Work has started in full vigour with our area director, Tim Walker, overseeing it all. There has been a lot of traffic in and out of the facility as a result. Many thanks to Tim and the Gerald Wright Trust for making this possible!

Themba Training: June 2012 News

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On Thursday afternoon, 14 June, we had much fun at our graduation ceremony in Crossroads. Thirty Three students who form part of the Consol Glass-sponsored Empowering Breadwinners Project completed our Micro MBA course and received their official graduation certificates. The group consisted of old, young, some just starting and others with established businesses.

At these graduation ceremonies the best clothes come out of the cupboards, some dressed in evening gowns, beautiful hairstyles, cameras clicking, much singing, and much celebration. Patson, with Amanda Nortje and David Rajh’s help, handed out certificates to students proudly wearing gowns. We have also introduced a new award and handed 6 certificates of excellence to students for “exceptional performance and dedication”. We then served a meal to crown what is a great achievement for these aspiring entrepreneurs.

Approximately 70 students have already received training during the first half of 2012. We remain grateful for eve…

June News

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The rains have come which is a welcome sight for the farmers in the area and those of us with solid roofs over our heads but not necessarily for the majority of people living in Grabouw. Fire is the enemy in the summer and rain the enemy in winter. Right now many people in the informal settlements have unplanned rivers running through their homes, soggy beds and cold feet which makes every day that much harder to live. Fortunately this year we have had the opportunity to help relieve some people by repairing their roofs. See our post from earlier this month.

We are also in need of volunteers this coming autumn. See the bottom of this post for more info.

Children’s Unit
This months sees a lot of change in the Children’s Unit. We have been able to give all the walls a fresh coat of paint (see our volunteers section) which is a change to the building, but we are also seeing a change in faces of children who stay with us as we send three of them home. Bittersweet as always.

After being with u…

fathers day follows youth day

it seems slightly ironic that over the weekend south africa remember it's young people with a public holiday on saturday and yesterday we joined the rest of the world to honor our dads on fathers day. ironic because here in south africa we have one of the highest rates of fatherless children in the world, and the fact that some of those who fought to have their schooling taught in their mother tongue have either succumbed to the HIV pandemic or failed to be the fathers that their children need.

south african men are no different to many others around the world, black, white, coloured, indian, who are failing their children by thinking of themselves rather than their responsibilities towards their children, yes a relationship may have broken down, or in some cases never started in the first place and that comes from either side, but our failure as men to provide the role model that our young people need, especially the boys, is hard to accept.

so we do honour those who stood up for t…

a flying visit....

we always love to welcome people to visit our various thembalitsha projects around the western cape, be it for a few days, a couple of weeks or even a longer term placement however we don't have many people who come for just a couple of hours but on monday it was my pleasure to be able to show brendon around two of our projects, thembacare grabouw and the village of hope.

i love to take people to see the work we are involved with in our local community, many of you will know that the village of hope is much more than our 9 bed children's unit and that thembacare serve more than the 7 people that stay in their inpatient unit receiving hospice care from our amazing team.

our work extends far beyond those boundaries, like the 7 sports outreach clubs we run each and every weekday afternoon during school term, or the rainbow smiles support group which meets every friday, along with our home based palliative care team who visit over 450 patients in the community who are living with HI…

God's provision

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yesterday was a busy time, not only did we place our 22nd child back home with his grandmother, which is a core calling to the village of hope team, but we we were also able to bless a local worker who you may remember that i posted about in my 'some days that bite back' post a couple of weeks ago.

tim and heinrich from our village of hope maintenance team, and 3 of our volunteers, jess, kate and lauren, were able to take some of the tin sheeting to the home of a wonderful young lady who virtually leads the rainbow smiles HIV support group for children aged 9-15 in grabouw. the rainbow smiles club is an initiative with the ARV clinic at the government day hospital, ABBA family counseling and thembacare grabouw (of which we receive no direct funding to run, so any help towards those weekly costs would also be greatly appreciated).

the roofing team spent the morning stripping off the old leaky roof and replacing it with the new, this is a wonderful way to bless some of the people …

our 22nd miracle

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for those of you that have been following us since we opened our children's unit in april 2009 you will know that the heart of the village of hope is to see the little ones that have been placed into our care be reunited with their families as soon as we are able. for some of these children that can be a quick process and the three month court orders soon come to an end and without knowing it the child has left us to continue his (or her) life with their family.

however this isn't the case for all of our children, some of whom have been with us since we opened. the village of hope is a step down unit to enable us to stabilise the children on their medication (with medical oversight given by our thembacare sisters), ensuring they meet their hospital appointments and have regular contact with their families to ensure that that bond isn't broken, however the social circumstances of most of those families, who are all either affected or infected by HIV, AIDS or TB, has a huge i…

impressed with our dutch students, again!

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since we started work at the village of hope we have always had a heart to enable people to take the step from their first world existence into the lives of the poor and needy third world which surrounds us here in south africa.

there hasn't been a day in the last three and a half years where our volunteer unit has been empty, in fact we have welcomed over 300 people on to the project, some have come on a visit and felt the call to return for the longer term, like rob and emily house, or mel kidd and tim berger, some have stayed for a night during a mission trip whilst others have volunteered for 3 to 6 months and we thank them all...you know who you are!

with the direct action that we have via our village of hope community work, sports outreach and rainbow smiles HIV support group, and our sister project thembacare grabouw with their seven bed inpatient unit and outpatient care work we are able to offer people a chance to work with some of the most sick and needy people in the worl…

humbled by their joy....

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this afternoon i had the pleasure of attending the latest presentations by the dutch sports students who have been serving with us over the last 5 months, and i will post about their wonderful help and support tomorrow as i have a further post to share about the other experience i had after enjoying their presentation.


for those of you living in the western cape you will know that we have been hit by a severe storm which not only bought some much needed rain (for some) but high winds which i'm not sure any of us really wanted, save a few mad suffers who might benefit from the waves over the weekend! this type of weather is not unusual for this time of year in the cape but when it comes after a week of temperatures in the mid 20's with sunny hot days then its a bit more of a shock.

during the presentations from the dutch students we were battling to hear what they said due to the wind and rain, but once outside the full force of the storm really hit me. we were due to be running …

the soup run continues!

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people are often willing to get involved in helping those in need but are either unable to spare the time or know who to link up with to enable them to do that...and this was the case when a few years ago i chatted to the owner of a local restaurant as we tried to encourage them to get involved with the local community in a tangible way. they didn't want to give money and couldn't spare the time for a visit to see what we were doing at the village of hope, both via the children's unit or our sports outreach however the way they could do this is by committing to making us up a batch of soup which we would transport into the creche in rooidakke as well as iraq informal settlement each and every friday. this worked well for the last few years however our initial suppliers restaurant is due to close for the winter next week so we were left with a bit of a dilemma.

whilst this isn't really part of our main calling towards those infected or affected by HIV, AIDS and TB it doe…

can you fill these spaces?

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as you may be aware the village of hope is run by staff of 13 full time paid workers, ranging from our house moms to a maintenance team but these key people are supported by a team of full and mid term volunteers who oversee the management of the project, run sports outreach, invest in the house moms, do the finances, write policies around the care of the children, complete the school and shopping runs, take the children to their medical appointments and assisting in running our adolescent HIV support groups, the list is almost endless and this all takes time and dedication to undertake the running of such a large project which is also linked to our sister project, thembacare grabouw where there are other opportunities to serve.

these mid and long term volunteers also oversee the short term mission teams who join us for 10-14 days throughout the year and who are an invaluable resource to carry out the larger tasks much like this weeks team from augusta have undertaken with the repainti…