With Leona running our first ever CUDDLE (Crèche Upgrades Development Directives Liaison and Education) in early January, it was very informative and rewarding to see the enthusiasm of our ladies while learning. We had 8 ladies from both the local community and also our very own Crèche teachers from Marianhill and Lamontville attend. The 8 week course was crammed into a week and over the weekend due to time constraints.
Two crèche’s have been identified for upgrades. The following crèche’s would boost our CUDDLE attendance and credibility until finances are obtained through sponsorship.
Sizimele – Painting, shelving, roof leaks.
Leth’ukuthula – fence, playground.
We are inviting the health inspector to come to our Marianhill crèche to give us a list of health requirements that need to be done in this area.
We originally scheduled our “crèche upgrades” on a Saturday. However through trial and error we have found that this does not work for most crèches as they are closed on a Saturday and teachers do not want to come in on their “day-off” so we will be moving it to a week day, when volunteers and finances are available.
My first CUDDLE graduation was on the 8th March. Nine ladies’ graduated; a DVD is available of interviews with ladies. Most of these ladies are already attached to existing crèche’s/schools. At least two schools have expressed that they would like to send teachers on a regular basis to attend our CUDDLE courses.
Due to April holidays and our Cape Town trip the next CUDDLE has been postponed until our return
- · Other CUDDLE possibilities: CANDU would love to have a course (maybe if we can get Caz or Liezl to run?)
- · Also East London with Tracey
Lamontville has been placed on hold at this time, as Char and myself have identified that there is an existing course that is accredited that seems to be supported very well. We have tentatively decided not to re-invent the wheel, and add our CUDDLE course as a more practical aspect or a second course.
Marianhill and building projects
Grant is working hard on the wall at Marianhill. He has had a minor setback, when a torrential downpour “tested” the strength of the wall in the middle of the building. He had not completed the drainage yet and a small portion of the wall collapsed inwards as the dirt behind it washed away. After digging almost two feet of dirt away from the bottom and rebuilding and refilling, building was resumed.
He also had to clear some space to build a little shed at the back of the Westville hall, for storage and tools. I am not sure who had more fun doing this Grant or the boys!
Happy’s needed to have the swing fixed. It has been nicknamed “the two minute swing” because despite everyone’s best efforts in fixing it – it usually only lasts for a couple of days before an overload of kids and rough play has it broken and out of commission again! We will keep on trying though
With setting up a regular schedule with our local ecclesia here in Westville, we have set aside a Tuesday morning to distribute sandwiches and fruit as part of the Meal-a-day project here in Durban. We are always greeted by friendly although sometimes sickly faces that are very thankful for the little something to eat after generally standing or sitting in queues from about 4am in the morning. We make the sandwiched the night before, put them in the fridge and try and be at the clinic between 9:00am and 10:00am every Tuesday morning. We have chatted to many people that are encouraged by our support and general concern for them. With the distribution of flyers from time to time, we have seen several people enquire about our presence in the area.
Mariannhill Community Woodworking Training Course
Roy Marshall and John Downer/UK came in February 2012 to run a Lignum woodworking project in Mariannhill. This was a follow up course from their work in 2011. The course ran from 8am to 3pm each day and 13 students signed up to attend. The students started off very quiet and with little confidence, but by the end of the two weeks, with the encouragement of their instructors and classmates were showing great confidence and ability.
8 of the students were able to complete the entire course and produced furniture of a saleable quality. Certificates were issued for their competence in woodworking which will hopefully enable them to pursue employment opportunities more successfully.
We thank Roy and John for their tireless efforts to share their talent and passion with South Africa.
Christianberg Primary Afterschool Club
The COP Trust has been working with Christianberg School in Clermont for the last year in a feeding scheme to give the students a healthy breakfast each day. Partnering with us is an organization called NOAH, who provides an afternoon meal to about 50 students aged 7-15 that are orphaned or vulnerable. The organizer was seeking someone to work weekly with the kids and Lauren Ghent (Canada), Abi Whitehorn (UK) and Rachel Fletcher (UK) was eager to volunteer. They have incorporated life skills with fun activities, focusing on sewing, sports, swimming lessons and basic first aid. Because South African ambulance service is notoriously slow, learning these life skills will help them handle crisis situations such as cuts, burns, seizures, choking and finding someone unconscious.
Recently they set out to work on basic recipe-following skills, but didn’t have access to a stovetop or oven, which limited their food options. Instead, they opted to make play dough, forming teams and then sculpting into creative designs. Thursdays are now a bright spot in the week of these children as they look forward to their time with the volunteers.
Lamontville and Mariannhill Creches Receive an Educational Boost
Each week Lauren, Abi and Rachel also help at the Lamontville and Mariannhill Good News Centre crèches. The goal of their presence is two-fold: positive interactions with the children (and lots of English exposure for them), as well as modelling theme development techniques for the teachers, to help improve the quality of the teaching offered. They choose a theme for each visit, and show how that theme can be worked into art activities, games, morning circle, songs, and stories. Rachel is an experienced nursery school teacher, Lauren is a deaf/blind intervention therapist and Abi is in the midst of a child psychology degree. All bring their experience to benefit the crèches.
English Classes Resume in Lamontville
Abi, Rachel and Lauren have become known as Team Zoomer, because they zoom around each week supporting 8 different projects. They have re-ignited the English classes run by former volunteers at Lamontville, turning it into an after-school club for the youth. Usually about 20 show up, and most are also Sunday school students. In addition to teaching English lessons, they also help decipher complicated homework assignments. Even after a full day of school, the kids are surprisingly excited about additional lessons, and readily ask questions when they don’t understand.
One of the students rapped out her poem after a rhyming lesson
With co-ordinating our incoming volunteers, setting up schedules, running them to local projects and showing them the basics, in my role as volunteer co-ordinator – I have had the privilege of working with Lauren, Abi and Rachael very closely over the last month and have enjoyed their enthusiasm.
Ndwedwe: A “future” project
Grant and I had to run some leftover food to Sister Jabu in Ndwedwe just an hour north (as the crow flies) of Durban. Needless to say, we fell in love with this area and its sheer beauty and rural charm. Jabu has a vision to create a community centre here and to look after and feed a number of vulnerable and orphaned children. A lot of the kids cannot attend school as they do not have birth certificates or South African ID documents. These are basic requirements for attending school.
We talked with Jabu about her future plans in working with the community to create a self-sustainable community centre.
We went back towards the end of March to look into more specifics and for Grant to get an idea of what building projects would be needed and where to build. Abi and Rachael had the opportunity to come with us and explore this wonderful area and its surroundings.
A little “dirty” after a long day on the dusty roads 🙂
We believe in putting our extra helpers to good use 🙂