Showing posts from May, 2015

Village of Hope: An Ode to [House] Moms

by Emma Podmore, Social Work Volunteer at Village of Hope We recently celebrated the seventh birthday of Abby, a vivacious little girl who has been at Village of Hope since she was three years old. There was dancing, singing, a Barbie cake – all the makings of typical party for a seven year-old girl! I have been at Village of Hope for the past two years and watched Abby grow and develop into the person she is now: polite, kind and considerate (not to mention sassy!).  Just days after Mother’s Day, I thought about our twelve House Moms who have worked tirelessly to bring up Abby, to shape her and teach her to be a positive little human. And she’s just one of the many children who have come through the Village of Hope. It occurred to me that we do not always realize or even appreciate the important role a mother plays in our lives. Staff outing with our awesome House Moms last summer Growing up, I often took my parents for granted – particularly my mother. She was just th

Notes from the MD: The Ripple Effect

by Monica Folscher, Managing Director of Thembalitsha Foundation "Doing good holds the power to transform us on the inside, and then ripple out in ever-expanding circles that positively impact the world at large." - Shari Arison We are all familiar with the “Ripple Effect.” If you throw a pebble into a pond, it breaks the surface, creating an ever-wider set of rings. This is how I think of the work we do at the different Thembalitsha projects: every pebble of hope we throw into the pond of hopelessness and helplessness impacts and transforms the lives of our beneficiaries. But this ripple effect has a much wider impact. The act of helping another person also impacts and transforms the helper. Dealing on a daily basis with the emotional and often heart-breaking life stories of our beneficiaries can leave a person shell-shocked. On the other hand, seeing the life of an individual transformed and wathcing the effect spread wider and wider is a humbling but encouraging ex

EduCare Grabouw: Out of the Ashes, A Flower Blooms

  by Van Heerden Heunis, Project Manager at EduCare Grabouw No parent should have to bury his or her child. Yet, sometimes, the unthinkable happens and a child dies before a parent. It is a heartache beyond comparison, a loss beyond words. Tandy Mposi of Grabouw had been the principal of Landulwazi EduCare Centre for ten years when, one day, she got word that her beloved daughter had died in a car accident. She was completely devastated and resigned from her position. She attended all the court proceedings following on the accident that claimed her daughter’s life. Gruelling as the experience was, Tandy found the courage to pursue her calling yet again by founding a new EduCare Centre named Mbalentle, after her daughter. The name means “beautiful flower.” Tandy opened the centre on 15 January 2014 with the assistance of Millisa Gertze, Lulutho Mposi, Nonkoliso Jiya and Busiswa Zulu. The five of them are still working together to provide the best possible training and care

School of Hope at Graceland: Starting the Cycle of Change

by Simone van der Berg, Principal & Project Manager at Graceland Preschool “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” -Maimonides One of the most important lessons that we can learn in life is that you don’t need much to be able to give, for giving has a far greater reward than receiving. Recently, we had some special guests visit Graceland: the learners from the School of Hope. Seeing these students invest in the little ones at Graceland was beautiful and inspiring. It's a perfect picture of what we are trying to achieve through Thembalitsha - we aim to restore hope, but also equip those who have been affected by the Foundation to become the drivers of change and restorers of hope themselves. To see the older learners playing with my children was heart-warming. My hope for each one of them is that this will be the beginning of a series of kind-hearted acts. When you come from a difficult background yourse

Village of Hope: Bon retour, Gregoire!

Gregoire (right) sets up a sports club in Grabouw with Boniface (left) and William (middle). by Daniel Jones, Marketing Assistant for Thembalitsha Foundation Living with strangers is a tricky experience. There’s something altogether collegiate about it. It’s what you would find in a university dorm, summer camp or youth hostel. At a certain point, you think you’ll outgrow it. Then you move to the other side of the world to volunteer for a season and – bam! Strangers are right across the hall once again. In the living room. Sharing the bathroom. Cooking with you. Learning more about you than most people on earth know. It’s happening on a quicker timeline than usual because you’re living in a bubble world where reality is compressed. These strangers better be pretty entertaining. I have been lucky during my short months with Thembalitsha so far, co-existing with some exquisite strangers at the Village of Hope. But today, my housemate of three brief months leaves to start the ne