Showing posts from 2013

looking back at 2013 and forward into 2104

well where did that year go?....2013 certainly seemed to fly by, this is a trend that we have become accustom to at the village of hope as we pack so much into each day but it's frightening when you realise that a whole 365 days have passed in the blink of an eye.

its hard to put into words all the things that have happened during the year, just taking a look at our blog posts there are many fond memories, some sad moments and a few disappointments, but overall we made lots of new friends, increased our service to the community, celebrated the completion of the new children's and volunteer units, we've hosted many wonderful mission teams and single volunteers, and put on some amazing sports events for the children that we work with.

our relationships with our local community have been strengthen, just think about the amazing events that we have already hosted at the hope@cluver amphitheater, we are able to host more children at the project, we have a stronger social work sid…

its lovely weather for a sleigh ride together

yes its that time of year again when the days are sunny, warm and bright and we dust off the 'good olde sleigh' again and tow it, along with father christmas, around the community of grabouw.

if you have followed this blog for any length of time you will know that our annual sleigh rise has become a tradition at the village of hope, to see the faces of the children as they catch sight of santa passing their homes is a real treat and to hand out a few sweets brings so much joy to those who won't have chance to visit santa's grotto in the local mall.

we know that christmas isn't all about presents and a funny white bearded guy who supposedly comes from the north pole (no that's not you trondar) but to know that this one hour of fun can bring so many smiles from all ages of people is worth doing and we trust that this random act of kindness will be seen as our continued desire to serve the town of grabouw via our village of hope children's unit, our sports outre…

beach days, new babies and mentors help....

we have been enjoying some balmy summer weather over the last week or so and fittingly after the funeral of nelson mandela on sunday the country celbrated its annual public holiday, 'the day of reconciliation' on the 16th december.

on the 15th we held our 'christmas dinner', which was cooked for us by barbara and my mum (tim) and on the public holiday it was a chance to take our wonderful children, our house moms and some members of the thembacare grabouw staff for an afternoon of fun and games at the local beach. the weather was great and the kids had a great time digging sandcastles and jumping in the surf.

after our sad goodbyes to two children on friday, see earlier post here, it was fantastic to be able to take in our newest child, a seven week old baby boy who has been placed with us after some very trying home circumstances.

the weeks seem to be flying by at the moment and although the schools have broken up we have been holding our sports outreach during the after…

parting christmas parties

it is the season to be jolly ( and on friday lunchtime we were able to celebrate with the children who are currently staying with us, with some of those who have been discharged and with their carers. it was great to see some of the little ones who had spent time with us at the village of hope doing so well and to be able to bless their moms, aunties and grannies with a festive feast (kindly donated by chanttel and her husband)....'father christmas' (aka josh holtrum) made his annual (josh's first) appearance and handed each child and their siblings a present.

the party had its ups and its downs as we knew at the end of it two of our longer term boys would be going home to stay with aunties and grannies for good. the aim of the village of hope has always been to provide a safe environment for vulnerable children to stay whilst their medical and or social issues are sorted and maz and her team have now successfully placed over…

rainbow smiles for a rainbow nation

as you can imagine the news of nelson mandela's passing on thursday evening has dominated the thoughts of all here at the village of hope, the news feeds, not only here in south africa but all around the world are full of thoughts towards him and the name he was, its quite strange being part of the national outpouring of love and support that this country is going through at the minute and we are aware that that will probably heighten during the next few days as we lead up to his funeral this coming sunday.

yesterday morning we gathered with the rest of the congregation at elgin united church to hold a special memorial service for nelson mandela and we had the privileged to hear from two men who were very close to him following his release and creation of the new government. the stories they told really captured the essence of the man the world has come to revere and as a nation we are now standing at the precipice of a new era, he has gone but as he so rightly said in one of his a…

Meet Zoleka, Breastfeeding Counselor

I was recently able to spend some time with Zoleka Malamba, a breastfeeding counselor and advocate. I was struck by her personal story and how her history has led her to where she is today, making a difference in the lives of other women in similar situations.

Today, Zoleka is 34 years old and has three kids.  She is married and lives with her husband, George, whom she met 1998.

Zoleka met Frances Fuchs, the manager of Bosom Buddies, while she was working for another NGO (non-governmental organisation), Mothers To Mothers, that counsels women who are HIV+.  She is happy today that she spoke with Frances when her contract with Mothers to Mothers was coming to an end.  She accepted the offer to work for Bosom Buddies in April 2012.

This is just a bit of Zoleka’s story.

Please tell me about yourself.
I grew up living with my mother, grandmother and uncle as social outcasts.  My mother had me when I was 15 years old and then my father left her and went on with his life.  My mother was forced t…

thoughts from the village of hope around world AIDS day...

stories in the news around HIV can be confusing, on the one hand we hear that there has been a 'dramatic drop in new infection rates' and 'that mother to child transmission is falling', and on the other hand there are 'reports of a more dangerous strain of the HIV virus in west africa' and that 'adolescence dying from AIDS in south africa is on the increase', what are we to believe on 'world aids day' in 2013?

well we will now provide you with four stories that have impacted us in grabouw over the last four weeks where we are really feeling the effects of the loss of our full time ARV doctor at our local hospital, not all of these stories can be attributed to the fact that we have lost probably one of the most amazing and caring HIV specialists in south africa and we don't want to get into the politics of all that here but the facts on the ground are pointing to more suffering and even deaths due to the changes that have been made.

the facts a…

thoughts from volunteers and mission teams!

living in the day to day 24/7 world of the village of hope is an awesome experience and it's amazing to think that our small actions are having a huge impact in our community. we are obviously aware of the plight of the poor, we work with them each and everyday, however there are days when we forget that we still live in a very parallel universe, on one side are 'the haves' and on the other side are 'the have not's'.

we are blessed to be able to host volunteers at the village of hope, these come in all shapes and sizes, they can be individuals who have felt the call to serve for three months or more, or can be larger groups of short term mission teams, mainly coming from churches who are linked to the wider foundation.

it's interesting to watch the dynamics of these teams as they see for themselves the impact of our work via our various missions in our town and have an opportunity to meet the people we serve, it's also interesting to watch each individual…

November News

With only a few weeks until the end of the year we are packing in as much as we can before the country slows for the summer holidays. Sports Saturdays, music concerts, home visits, mission teams, budget meetings!!!!...We are actually looking forward to a slightly quieter time over Christmas!

Perhaps some of our most exciting news is that two children who used to be part of our Village of Hope family now have a new family! They have been adopted as brother and sister to a wonderful American family. It is our first international adoption and is such a turn around of prospects for these little ones compared to when these two first arrived with us. Read all about their new family journey and the process of international adoption via their blog here: We are going to miss these two terribly but are SO over-the-moon for their new family!

Children’s Unit
The children’s unit continues to be busy with seven children under the age of six! This includes a five-…

Thembacare Grabouw: November 2013 News

Who can believe that another year has come to the end? There have been lots of challenges this year, especially in the IPU: We had 61 new admissions for the year (this is except for those how had been re-admitted into the IPU) and 13 deaths. The sad part is two of the ladies who died were on our books the longest - but no amount of education, love, or care could stop the illness. There are so many out there who need our love and care, and our Home-Based Care ladies have a great task to see to them and their needs.

To the many volunteers that visited our project and went on rounds with our Home-Based Care ladies this year, we want to thank each and every one. We pray that you will take with you the knowledge and empower others around the world with what you have experienced first hand.

ThembaCare also put on a fresh coat of paint in the interior and we look really smart for the festive season. To our loyal staff, we wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and that the new year…

November News

The best gift a teacher can receive for Christmas!

In 1999, two little girls, Abigail Adams and Bernadine Van Wyk, started school at Graceland together in the 3 – 4 year old class. They were at Graceland for 2 years together before separating and continuing their schooling at different primary and high schools. Thirteen years later they reconnected at Bergzicht Training where they are both currently completing a course in Early Childhood Development. 
Abigail Adams (19) “I dropped out of school when I was in Grade 10 but I didn’t give up. It is a privilege for me to be able to do my practical at Graceland because I had the best preschool teacher (Elizabeth) ever! And now I can say I am preschool teacher too.”

Bernadine Van Wyk (19)

“I finished high school last year, 2012. I am currently studying Early Childhood Development and am loving it. I never thought I’d find myself at Graceland again but here I am. It’s a great honour to be able to do my practical with teacher Elizabeth. She has ins…

Themba Training: Featuring Patson Musabayane

by Francois Heunis, Project Manager at Themba Training

Patson Musabayane is one of a kind - there are not many like him. He is a true entrepreneur and leads the micro business training courses we present at Mfesane in Crossroads, Cape Town.

Patson was born in Zimbabwe approximately half a century ago (very old!). He became a victim of the crisis that took place in Zimbabwe after 2000, and moved to South Africa in 2007. The Zimbabwean crisis split his family apart, and on top of it he then had to endure the evils of the xenophobic attacks in 2008. This is when he met Adrian Lange and was introduced to Themba Training. Adrian spotted Patson’s gift, and since then he has been the “anchor” trainer in our programme with hundreds of students passing through his classes.

I have had the pleasure of sitting in on some of these classes. They are full of humour dramatic interaction, life, and lots of action. At times I am confused as to why he addresses certain subjects, but then I notice the res…

Newsletter: Sophie's story

It has been a year since we met Sophie at our breastfeeding support group in Macassar. She was referred to our group whilst pregnant with her third child. The antenatal clinic sister thought that Sophie could benefit from joining our group.
Sophie is young, under 25 years, and not a small girl. She has a few tattoos, she is confident and outspoken and often had the group in stitches. What we loved about Sophie was that she was extremely forthcoming with her story and her experiences and not shy to tell us about mistakes she has made and how she has learnt from them.
She left her parent’s home at 17 when she fell in love with the man who also gave her the first taste of Tik. She soon became addicted to the drug and reverted to crime to pay for her habit. When Sophie went to jail she was only 19 years old. After her release at 22, she was unsure of what to do, where to go. Totally alone in the world, she was vulnerable to anyone who would offer her a roof over her head and some kindness a…

help from our friends from dallas

last week we hosted our first major mission team in the new short term volunteers accommodation, the teams who had used it before were mainly couples or families so it was good to see that the building held up and was enjoyed by the guys from dallas.

during the week they helped us with some jobs around the village of hope, sanding down the new board walks, chopping up wood to ensure we have enough dried for next winter, sorting donations and playing with the children in the unit. they were also able to help out with our community work, planning and running our rainbow smiles support group, assisting at our sports outreach and making house visits with our thembacare home based careworkers, they also joined us for our weekly thembacare service which was a joy to behold.

on friday the men helped to put a sail sheet onto one of our discharged children's homes (see photos) which was a real blessing to him and his grandmother and at lunchtime they joined us on the soup run and prayed for …

Three Outstanding Young Men

At our recent Awards Evening, we celebrated the achievement of many students and three young men in particular. These are their stories.
We met Goldman Gambiza when he was just 14, an economic refugee from Zimbabwe. As a child in the ruthless streets of Cape Town, he became part of the Adonis Musati Project an organisation doing wonderful work with refugees in the city. He was enrolled at School of Hope and soon became part of the family. The tension of being at school when his struggling family expected him to work, was overshadowed by his obvious academic intelligence and love for learning. But the tension remained. In spite of this, Goldman continued to perform well academically and reached Grade 12 easily. Goldman is a sensitive, compassionate young man. He demonstrates the value of HOPE, a joyful expectation for a preferable future. He is determined to complete his tertiary education and we will certainly be there for him throughout that process. Goldman wants to study IT in 2014 …

an amazing sports saturday

last saturday we held another of our amazing sports saturday's where we hosted over 160 children who joined us at the elgin country club on what was a very sunny and happy day, we therefore firstly need to thank God for the provision of the good weather, the finances and abilities that each of our team has which enables us to run an event as big as this.

the children who came are part of our sports outreach clubs which run every term time weekday afternoon, weather permitting, in seven different areas around grabouw and it was a real pleasure to see the joy and excitement on their little faces as we met them at each bus pick up points with an expectation of a morning playing sports.

the day is a celebration of the children's commitment to our weekly clubs and is a place where they can show us the skills that they have learnt on the sports pitch as we organise an under 11 and over 11 soccer (association football for all those living in europe!) and netball competitions throughout…

Thembacare Grabouw: October 2013 News

The inpatient unit continues to ebb and flow with patients. Earlier this month we had only three patients, and now we are full again including caring for a mother of a former Village of Hope child. She is in a very bad way with what has been diagnosed as cancer, and we are doing our best to make her as comfortable as possible. We sadly lost one of our patients early this month.

The outpatient carers are still on their normal routine in the community providing hope through caring for those in need, with day-to-day challenges. We also have had some volunteers who dedicated their time to assist in the community by accompanying the carers on their rounds.

The HIV Counselling and Testing team goes out at least 6 times a month to the local businesses and farms to test the staff. Huge thanks goes to the driver, Johan, from Village of Hope, who compromises everything to make sure the two counsellors arrive to the farms and businesses safely.

Our staff enjoyed themselves at the year-end staff …

October News

Tim and Maz are back from the UK and the rest of the team are breathing a sigh of relief that they are! On their return we were able to all attend the Thembalitsha annual party which was held at a township restaurant near Cape Town. The House Mom’s said it was ‘rockin’ (!) which is always good to hear and we were able to celebrate and recognise staff members who’d made extra effort this year by presenting them with certificates. We were very thankful for our team of volunteers who took up the baton of caring for the children in the unit to allow the House Moms to be able to attend the party.

Children’s Unit
The unit is gradually filling beds. We now have two new children. One is a little girl who is only 3 weeks old. She is tiny! Our 3-year-old girl, who’d been having trouble walking has also been fitted with splits to assist in her development and to complement the work being done in her regular OT sessions. She is not too pleased with them at the moment and keeps trying to take them o…

October News!

MarketDay 2013! Meet Rosaline Fortuin (33), a teacher at Graceland Pre-primary. She started working for our preschool in 2006 as a volunteer, helping out by preparing lunch for our little ones. When another teacher was needed at Graceland we didn’t have to look very far. Her good attitude, hard work, faithfulness to Graceland and her love for children made her a good candidate. Rosaline has since completed a Level 4 course in Early Childhood Development (ECD) to qualify her as a preschool practitioner. She loves her work now more than ever. She enjoyed Market Day and wrote the following: Our Market Day on the 3rd of October 2013 was held at Graceland. What a successful and fun-filled day it was. The event started at 3 o’clock but we had parents queuing to buy coupons from Samantha (our administrator) long before. Excitement was in the air as the bustling began.
This year we sold second- hand clothes, jewellery and vegetables, played dominoes, sang karaoke, took scooter rides, played a fi…

October news: BB support groups

The 'Funky Females' Bosom Buddies support group from School of Hope with                                             Frances and our American friend, Shanon.

The support group format has proven very successful for Bosom Buddies. It offers counselling and support, but more than that, companionship and rapport between people in similar circumstances or recovering from similar problems. It is disappointing that our groups aren’t always as well supported as we would like. People don’t recognise the benefits of this format and often might consider it too much effort to join our groups. However, support groups fall in line perfectly with the spirit of Ubuntu and community support and enhancement. Our most successful support group is at the School of Hope, where I meet with the ‘Funky Females’ on Friday mornings. This is a group of young women who have had children or are pregnant while attending school. I have built a strong relationship with these girls and love …

welcoming new children

the recent official registration of the village of hope with the department of social development has meant that our phones have been busy with calls from our local social workers as they seek to place children with us, which is obviously great news and the reason why we exist, however with any new admission the realities of the communities we work with are highlighted and the need for the services that we provide become even more evident.
highlighting this fact was the arrival of our second new admission in as many weeks and this afternoon we received the second of two girls who need our care, the newest arrival is a beautiful little 3 week old who has been placed with us from some very trying circumstances and she joins a very malnourished and needy seventeen month old who was been with us for just over a week.
please pray for us, the team of wonderful house moms, the social workers and our volunteers as we all try to work together to understand the needs of these, and our other child…

Themba Training: A Successful Graduation (October 2013)

by Francois Heunis, Project Manager at Themba Training

28 of our students graduated last week on 14 October. This was surely one of the most exciting and colourful graduations in the history of Themba Training. I believe four things contributed to the success of this event:

1. Patson and his students
The interaction between Patson and this group of students, plus between the students themselves has been very encouraging. This group also represented an older age group than most of our previous classes. A number of the students were born in the 1940s and should be preparing for retirement. This is the furthest thing from their minds as they simply cannot afford this luxury. The prospect of finding employment at this age is almost nil, therefore establishing microbusinesses is the only way to put bread on the table.

2. New premises
We held the graduation in the large training room which forms part of the new facility we will be moving into at Mfesane on 1 November. It is a great improvemen…

The World Race comes to Graceland

Graceland's exposure is growing exponentially. This week we hosted 7 girls from The World Race as potential ambassadors and partners with the Thembalitsha Foundation. Excited to see what this connection will bring.

Rite of Passage: Matric Dance 2013

In the Western Cape the Matric Dance is an important rite of passage. Parents of all economic backgrounds, cultures and communities save for months to send their children off to their Matric Dance in style, usually sparing no expense regardless of what the rest of the family will have to go without. It is no wonder, when you consider that less than half of all Grade Ones in South Africa make it to Matric in the twelve years they are given to do so.

It is no different at the School of Hope, where learners have made it to Grade 12 against all odds.  We think the pictures will tell this story best. Enjoy.