Showing posts from 2014

Village of Hope: A Little Bit of Hope this Christmastide

by Tim Walker, Project Manager at Village of Hope

During the last week, we have been preparing ourselves for the festive season with our annual sleigh rides into the community and giving Christmas gifts to friends and families in the community (including live chickens to some of our mentors), as well as helping the children who live with us understand the 'real meaning' behind all the bright lights and carols.

It's also fantastic to be able to provide the children with some of the traditional pleasures that we have grown up with. It's not all about looking forward to the presents, but we have lit an advent candle every evening as we count the sleeps to the big day (thanks Nana!) along with decorating the unit with some of the decorations we bought from England.

However, our biggest news this week is that one of our little ones received his Christmas present early as he was reunited with his family in the Eastern Cape. This little one came to us when he was only a few d…

Village of Hope: Summertime Fun

Last week, the local schools closed for summer so we have had a bit more time to spend with the children in the unit who are already crawling off the walls and proving to be a bit of a handful to our dedicated house moms (who are also nearing the end of the year and having to plan and prepare for their own family Christmas).

Katie has been preparing some morning time activities for the older children, but as we celebrated another public holiday on Tuesday we decided to take all the children, house moms and volunteers to the local beach for an afternoon of fun. Looking back, it seems that we have done this each and every Heritage Day, and it's amazing to see the children's reactions as they get time to play in the sand and swim in the sea.

They are such a pleasure to be with and I think every child dipped their toes in the sea with some taking it a little bit further by actually trying to body board! Greg made a huge and complex sand castle trying to replicate the French islan…

Village of Hope: Three Siblings are Reunited

by Tim Walker, Project Manager at Village of Hope

Yesterday, we said our sad goodbyes to three of our wonderful boys - sibling brothers, who arrived with us in early September. Since they arrived, the youngest started walking and the older two were able to restart their morning placements at a local creche where they have really thrived.

As with many of our children, these boys come from a complex family situation. However, it's great to see them reunited with their grandmother who is now able to provide a secure and loving home for these three boys.

We will obviously keep close ties with the family, providing help and support where required as they settle into their new surroundings, we will miss these little guys who have kept us entertained and who have really captured our hearts. However, a home placement is our best out come for any child so we wish them well and a happy Christmas with their family!

Village of Hope: December 2014 News

Children’s Unit
The end of the calendar year also sees the end of the school year here in South Africa, so we’ve been busy with various end of year events for the kids. Some of our children are finishing pre-primary and moving into primary school which is a real landmark.

We have also been able to discharge one little boy back to his parents and our little girl with cerebral palsy is doing fantastically – she can now walk with just one stick and her balance is improving every day.

Our relationships with the social workers are continuing to strengthen, and Emma now has weekly touch points with them to keep abreast of all the situations. We’ve  also been working hard at doing lots of paperwork and getting more policies and procedures in place as well as sorting budgets for next year. Although this is sometimes monotonous and mind-boggling, it is very worthwhile and necessary!

Last week, we took the staff to the Caledon Spa for their end of year treat. The destination was a surprise, but…

Graceland: Finishing 2014 Strong

by Simone Van Der Berg, Principal and Project Manager at Graceland Preschool
One of the most exciting events happened at Graceland on 12 November 2014. It was the opening of the new library! The first idea of a library at Graceland started with Zoë Lee, however, due to the need of another classroom, we decided to move the library to the loft where our storage was. Thanks to Imperial Managed Logistics, this dream was turned into a reality. Imperial Managed Logistics funded the staircase and the renovations to make it safe and beautiful.

Right now the Library is only available to children who attend the preschool, but in future we would like to make it available to Devonvallei Primary as well. We are working on a system that will allow children to take books home and return them after a certain period. However, we will only be able to extend the availability once a proper system is in place.

Mama Themba: 2014 in Review

by Frances Fuchs, Project Manager at Mama Themba

Year 9 in the existence of Bosom Buddies has brought some changes and challenges, laughter and tears, new relationships and strengthening of old bonds.

Some of the highlights:

Bosom Buddies becomes Mama Themba! Probably the highlight of the year for us, and a proud moment. The name change has been a while coming. Our new name signifies our unity with our parent organisation, Thembalitsha Foundation, as well as our increased focus on the MOTHER. We love mothers. Our existence and all our efforts are geared towards the empowerment and education of mothers.

As fellow mothers, we know and understand too well that the intense way in which a mother loves is immeasurable; that our love is without boundaries and can't be counted and compared. That even when we mess up and our children get hurt, the pain is unbearable. This is why we teach mothers how to care for their babies, what we know is best for their babies, while they get confusing an…

Thembacare Grabouw: December 2014 News

by Thandi Sililo, Project Manager at ThembaCare Grabouw

One cannot believe that 2014 is almost over, and what a year it has been!

As the year draws to an end, it is impossible to not be able to reflect on all the activities that have happened at ThembaCare Grabouw, and to reflect on all the much needed care and support that has been offered to all our HIV, TB, cancer and terminally ill patients and their families through our In Patient and Home-Based Care Units. Ensuring that a patient was "pain free" or died with dignity, love, and care and was able to access medical and nursing care, was a special privilege! Being able to continue to provide HIV and TB health education and awareness through the HIV Counselling team in the community, schools and surrounding farms was invaluable, so that patients could make informed life choices and decisions!

In the midst of caring for our patients, our Care staff have been quite busy attending training sessions that were facilitated by the …

Village of Hope: Mission Team Brings Us Back InFocus

by Tim Walker, Project Manager at Village of Hope

Over the last week, the Village of Hope team has welcomed some very familiar faces back onto the project. It is so good to see friends from InFocus Church in Augusta returning year after year to come spend time with us.

Six of the team (of ten) have been part of previous mission teams, and their willingness to get stuck right in has impressed us once again. It's hard for us to put into words the value that they add during their visit, but they have not only been involved in some of the more physical aspects of the daily chores that a six hectare property needs to ensure that things don't get out of hand (such as weedeating and tree felling), but they have added much value to our spiritual well-being too.

The list of jobs they have undertaken is quite substantial, so if you would like to find out more about those and their other experiences during their trip then it's probably best to visit their blog via this link to get th…

Village of Hope: One Child Leaves, One Space for New Hope

As one child leaves to be reunited with his family, the door opens for another child to receive the amazing new hope that we are able to provide via our wonderful Children's Unit. Each child has their own individual story, and some are more complex than others.

Please pray for this new little boy who has been placed with us to provide some space for his parents to seek the help they need to enable them to gain perspective on their lives and set up a home which will become the secure environment that this little one needs as he grows.

Village of Hope: Another Child Leaves for Home

It's always sad to say goodbye, especially to a child who has become so loved by the staff at the Village of Hope. But, in our sadness, there is joy as we know that we have done everything possible to not only stabilise a child who has been placed with us with either complex medical or social problems, and that we worked so hard with our local social workers and the child's family to ensure that a successful placement is made with confidence.

This post, then, contains a great story of new hope as over the weekend Emma took one of our dear little three year old boys back to his family home. This is incredible and exciting news as he was in such a poor state, requiring specialist hospital care this time last year. We are so thankful to our house moms, key staff and the persistence of our team to ensure that he received such wonderful care whilst he was with us, and that we were able to place him back with his own family who now know how to care for him and meet his needs.

Village of Hope: Year 7 - A Time For Rest

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Can you believe that Tim and Maz have just begun their seventh year working full time for Thembalitsha in South Africa? How the time has flown and what a lot has happened in the past six years!

This courageous couple were the catalyst that enabled Village of Hope to be birthed and their perseverance over these years has enabled this essential haven for vulnerable children to develop into a professionally run project which has sustainability and is well respected throughout the Grabouw community and beyond.

As you can well imagine, this kind of result required a significant amount of time and energy from Tim and Maz and, because of this, they’ve requested a six-month sabbatical period to re-charge their batteries and explore possibilities for the next phase of their lives. In order to do this, they will be stepping back from their roles as project managers for Village of Hope.

Village of Hope: Volunteers Galore

Over the last couple of weeks, the day-to-day team at the Village of Hope have been blessed by a plethora of volunteers who have come to spend time with us from all over the world.
Firstly, we were joined by Matt, Seb, and Chris who hail from Sydney, Austraila. These three guys, also known as Captain Hook, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, were an absolute God-send as they cut, chopped, mowed, chipped, and thoroughly overhauled our grounds, giving it a real spring tidy up after the Cape winter. They also joined us at our sports outreach where they worked with our sports mentors during our afternoon sports sessions.

Then we hosted an amazing team, led by Larry from Trinity Church in Dallas. This was the second time that Larry, his wife and son, along with Sarah and her son Christian, had visited us. This time, however, they were joined by a Village of Hope newbie named Celeste who fit into their team very well. Not only did they help out with sports, some gardening work, and playing with the …

Village of Hope: October 2014 News

The past couple of months have not been lacking in drama here in Grabouw. This was particularly highlighted with the service protests in the community that descended into days of violence. The protests left us without any of our usual staff of House Moms as they were not able to get into work safely and the school-age children remained home because the schools had to close.

Although these few days were challenging, we received wonderful ‘back-up’ from the rest of our Thembalitsha family and were left with a reminder of what wonderful ladies we have in our House Mom team – being Mom to 13 kids is a tough job!

As well as the days off because of the protests it has also been school holidays which gave us an opportunity to arrange some outings for our children. Paul Cluver Wines kindly allowed us to come and visit the Zebras that live on their land. Unfortunately we did not see the Zebras up close but they allowed the children to feed, ride and stroke the horses which the children loved!…

Thembacare Grabouw: October 2014 News

After the riots in Grabouw have died down, it's been work as usual at ThembaCare Grabouw. Many thanks for some much needed patient pyjamas that were donated by Elgin Free Range Chickens and the delivery of a cheque from the Elgin Gentlemen's Associated which they raised from their annual barn dance! Thank you for supporting the palliative care work that we do at ThembaCare Grabouw! This month we were also thanking some of our staff for having worked 5 years at ThembaCare and for their hard work and care, loyalty and diligence.

Themba Training: Course 3 of 2014 kicks off!

Exciting things are happening at Themba Training! Our courses are now geared towards Women's Empowerment, and our 12 week course covers 4 levels, namely business entrepreneurship, sewing training, computer training, as well as a life skills component. We are happy to be offering safety training as a part of our course to our students.

On 15 September, 18 women started the third and final course for 2014. We wish them all the best and lots of success during their course!

Educating teen moms

In South Africa, less than 8% of mothers’ breastfeed exclusively for 6 months after their baby’s birth. Yet our infant mortality rates are alarmingly high. The World Health Organisation in partnership with Unicef is driving a worldwide campaign to increase breastfeeding rates and hence positively impact infant mortality and morbidity. The majority of infant deaths in rural as well as urban South African are from illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhoea, which are 100% preventable through the right breastfeeding practices. The large HIV/Aids rates in SA complicates the matter, and breastfeeding and lactation consultants need specialised training in working with the diverse cultural differences, poverty levels as well as levels of education of the mothers we meet.

Through the interventions of Mama Themba, we assist local hospitals Helderberg Hospital, Macassar Day Hospital as well as Grabouw Day Hospital in achieving Mother Baby Friendly Status, which means that these hospitals comply w…

September News!

Graceland Market Day 2014
We are happy to announce that on the 2nd of October 2014 we had our 3rd Market Day at Graceland and it was a great success.

The reason we first started having the market day in 2012 was create a fundraiser that will involve the whole community and to challenge them in their individual capacity to give, while at the same time creating a family fun day that parents can enjoy with their children. We create a space where people can donate old but still nice clothes, shoes, jewellery, odds and end, tuck-shop stock and give towards the games which are presented on the day. Due to the fact that everything is donated we are able to sell everything at a reasonable price and still make one hundred percent profit.

This year we had two jumping castles, domino table, karaoke, face painting, balloon animals, play station games, a colouring in competition, an obstacle course, and five great raffles and on sale we had lots cosmetics and second-hand clothes, jewellery, odds and …

emerging leaders!

it's been a whilst since we updated the blog and we are thankful to report that things have calmed down since the last posts. in fact since myself and maz returned from our break in england i have been very busy in the local community rallying local leaders to attend a well timed and aptly named 'Leadership for Hope' training session.

as i type we have just drawn to a close day two of the three day course which we are hosting in the local community hall with the programme being given by trevor and jane waldock from the charity 'emerging leaders', who work with various partners including 'world vision' around sub saharan africa.

it has been amazing to see the local community come along and support this mind changing training session which is looking at encouraging everyone to consider themselves as a leader, whether that be in the home, at the work place, or within their local street or town.

leadership starts with yourself and this wonderful training in enabli…

The Show Must Go On!

We've had to batten down the hatches over the past few days because the protests over service delivery in Grabouw have descended into riots. The kids can't go to school because the schools are shut, we are struggling to get supplies because the shops are shut, the local hospital is shut making access to medication difficult and the main routes in and out of town have been closed. To top it all off, our House Moms, who live in the community amid the violent protests, are being threatened with death if they attempt to come to go to work. They are extremely scared and have had to witness some terrible things. It is horrendous and tough.

With our wonderful House Moms unable to come in to fulfil their duties it was up to us (the Dream Team as we like to call ourselves: Barbara, Emma, myself, Johan (our trusty maintenance man) and Nigel the gardener) to pick up the baton and keep the unit going.

Yesterday was quite hilarious as we tried to continue the usual routines that the House Mo…

The View From The Fence

With Tim, our semi-pro resident blogger, away on a break, I am attempting to take up the blogging mantle on behalf of our current and unusually reduced Village of Hope team (Three of the core team, Tim, Maz and Mel, are all abroad at the moment!) So apologies in advance – it is not my natural calling!
We’ve been toddling along relatively successfully over the past couple of weeks, filling in the gaps where we need to and trying to keep the project running smoothly in its routine. Barbara, Emma and Johan have been legends!
The extra challenge today has been continuing the routine whilst negotiating the protests that have begun once more over service delivery. We couldn’t take the kids to school or preschool because the schools were shut and we had to cancel the afternoon sports programme because it wasn’t safe to be in some parts of the community. Switching over the day and night shift House Mom team is also sometimes a bit hairy!
Over the past few years the strikes have almost become par…

more birthday celbrations....

with thirteen children in our unit birthdays seem to be a regular occurrence and last week was no exception as two of our little ones had their birthdays. as always we try to make our children feel really special so we go out of our way to ensure that they have a birthday party to remember.

its always hard to think of something new to do with the children but as one of our elder girls turned four auntie mel (kidd) was intent in creating a 'princess themed party' which she (the little girl) enjoyed so much, however i'm not sure the boys thought that was a great idea especially the one who celebrated his first birthday party with her!

obviously i jest as all the children really did enjoy making and decorating special princess (and prince) crowns which they all wore with so much pride and as auntie mel said 'pass the parcel can become a little boring after a while' (i don't know what she means!)

August News

These past couple of months have been jam-packed with visitors and volunteers and we are feeling very loved!!

Children’s Unit
The unit continues to be a hive of activity! Recently one little girl contracted chicken pox and now she has mumps (poor thing!) but she seems very unaffected by it all considering and with the provision of some new walking sticks (sent from England) she is making wonderful progress, she is now able to stand unaided and this is quite remarkable given the fact that the doctors had told us that she would never walk!!! Obviously it is impossible to stop these viruses spreading in a unit full of kids who are always at close quarters but (thank the Lord) it seems that none of the other children have contracted it!

We are always thankful in these situations that the children are in our care when they are sick with these kinds of illnesses rather than in a more typical community environment where it is harder to manage and the likelihood of a child getting seriously ill …

Thembacare Grabouw: Busy as Bees (August 2014)

"Busy as bees" has been the buzz phrase at ThembaCare Grabouw. The building of the new sluice room has begun in earnest, and while all this has been happening in the last few weeks, there have been local schools and visitors coming to see the Palliative Care work that Thembacare Grabouw is offering in the community of Grabouw. And in the midst of all this the caring of our patients carries on!

Also, we've been on TV. TBN's Watchman on The Wall programme did a special programme for Women's Month and featured our very own Lindi! It was a fantastic programme, over 20 minutes long and we are very grateful for the exposure of the essential work we do for the community.

August News

"Goodbye", to muddy shoes and "Hello, Wellington Boots!"
Graceland's third term started with a reason to celebrate. Thanks to Imperial Managed Logistics our children are now well prepared for the rain. One of our greatest challenges to get to school in winter is the wetness, muddiness and the rainfall of winter.

During the winter season the attendance rate is 60% because of the rainfall and the fact that children have to walk from their farms to Devon Valley Road to get their transport - for some this could be 300m-500m. We currently have a great partnership with Devon Valley Primary School who allows us to make use of their minibus.

Thank you Imperial Managed Logistics for your commitment to see all little Gracelanders succeed, you continue to not only give in kind but also of your time. May your staff be as blessed at we are.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."  Helen Keller


Themba Training: Graduation and upgrades

On the 31st of July we celebrated the culmination of the second Women’s Empowerment sewing training course. 12 women and one man graduated, and we are very proud of our students. It was also a gigantic honour to host our board members for a part of our celebrations.

We were hugely blessed by 20 visitors from the US as a part of the #10Days mission tour to South Africa. These volunteers arrived by bus to spend two days working very hard at upgrading our TT facility. Our computer lab is ready and awaiting the computers that will be moved from Bellville to Mfesane during August.

Our premises are spotlessly clean, everything neatly sorted to start our trade business with our students. Thank you #10Days!

Dutch Connections!

What a joy it was to host 31 Dutch students and their teachers from Sint Maartens School in Holland. For a whole week they made our library their home and spent every waking moment doing things to improve our school building.

They also taught us a dance, introduced us to the 1Billion Rising campaign against women abuse and gave us a taste of Holland – teaching the Consumer Studies classes to make delicious waffles.

One of the great projects they tackled was the planting of an indoor hanging garden (right). This ingenious idea has added much needed green to our indoor premises.
Global Exploration made it possible for learners at the School of Hope and those from Sint Maartens to gain experience through a cultural exchange. Their mission is simply to make making a difference in the world.

They excitedly and passionately came to paint the school, teach lessons and immerse themselves into a different culture, confronting the realities facing Cape Town’s youth. Their hope is that this experien…

village of hope sports mentors do thembalitsha proud....again!

on saturday josh (our international volunteer who has been with us for over a year) took eight of our sports mentors to a football tournament in worcester. this has become an annual event and once again the boys were up early as josh made the hour long trip through the beautiful mountain scenery to attend this event which was hosted and organised by our friends at solid rock.

it is so good to write up this post which follows on from the same theme as last years, which can be read by clicking on the link here, as our boys once again performed with incredible consistency winning 10 of their 11 games and drawing the other one.....over the last two years we have now played 18 won 16, drawn two and have yet to lose a match!

i'm not sure any of us can really appreciate the tough lives these amazing mentors live, not all of them have brick homes, some of them live without basic sanitation and have to walk to collect their water, many of them have no father figures in their lives and by loo…