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#IAm a Child of God: Naledi’s story

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One of the main aims of the CAST Ministry is to help those in our communities grow, develop and be a guiding light for others. One of these people is 15-year-old Naledi Dladla who shares her testimony about how her life has been transformed since joining CAST:

My Name is Naledi Nthabiseng Dladla, I am 15 Years old and I am a Christian, a child of GOD. I live in the rural Appelsbosch Mission Area with my granny, aunts, brothers, and sisters – one big family. I participate at CAST as a volunteer for the Children’s Holiday club, Sunday school, and I interpret for the American Missions Teams. Before I joined CAST, my life was a mess. I could not understand it.

When I was young, I had a lot of anger about my Mom. She passed away when I was very young, so I don’t know her. I was told by my dad and grandmother that she got sick and then she passed on. That hurt me a lot, because I could hear my friends and other children talk about their moms, and me knowing very well that I can’t talk about my mom because she no longer exists on earth.

So I heard about CAST from my Sunday School teacher, Uncle Fortune (former CAST Community Co-ordinator at Appelsbosch Baptist Community Church), who also worked at CAST. He is the one who got me to be close with people who work at CAST. One of my favourites is Thandi. I started in 2017 by going to Camp with other girls whereby we can share our stories, views and ideas.

I got involved at CAST because I have seen them help a lot in my community. I am a person who has a big heart, who loves to help, and who want the best for the community. CAST has made big change in people’s lives my community, especially for girls…if I didn’t attend Girls Camp, now I could be a person who drinks alcohol and abuses substances (drugs). CAST has made a big difference in my life.

I have an older brother from my mother’s side who was abusing very strong substances. He would come home drunk and high by weed. One day, I decided to take my life by drinking alcohol and smoking weed, but in my ears there was this voice that was saying, ‘’no Naledi, don’t ever do that. What are you trying to do? GOD has big plans for you. You’ve got a lot of things to do to make your family proud.’’

Then I told myself that I should speak about this, I can’t just keep quiet and watch this boy hitting me and insulting me with all kinds of words. I went to uncle Fortune and asked him about these Camps…. I asked him how much money I could pay then he told me. He was telling us that Camp is where girls gathered and talk about everything.

I asked them at home and they agreed. When I got there, I met Thandi, a most wonderful humble woman. She was the person I knew to talk about everything to because she was the one who understood my feelings and she still does. I told her everything that happened to me, that I was almost raped. I couldn’t tell my family because I was scared.

Thandi prayed for me, and told me that it is not over until GOD says so… she told me that I could pray to GOD and tell him everything that I am facing or that I’ll be facing. We prayed together and after that I realised that GOD can be with us all the time.

That’s how CAST has made a difference in my life. What I learned from CAST is that it is important to be patient, brave and ask for help from people who can help you, and to give back to those who could need your help, because that’s what GOD created us for, that we help each other as His children.

I would like to get more involved at CAST, and become a partner, because it is so amazing to be part of people who are the same as you, who know what’s wrong and right, people who don’t count how much they’ve helped that particular community. So I would like to be a member, be there most of the time and learn more about being a helper.

Like in my church where I attend at Appelsbosch Baptist Community Church, my Pastor always preaches to us to help the poor and people who need help, even it’s not the poor but people who could need help like at my school. I am the one who knows English in my class, so most of the time I could help them with essays and their writing. I know that I am not a clever person, but then I always tell myself that I am not stupid. That’s what Pastor Dube always tells us to tell ourselves.

CAST has impacted my spiritual journey by encouraging us to trust GOD very much because we live by Him. At Holiday Clubs, they teach us more about Jesus and GOD, memory verses and other verses that tell us more about GOD. That’s how CAST has impacted my spiritual journey.

My dream for the future is to become a lawyer. That wasn’t my dream when I was growing up. I wanted to be a doctor, but as time has passed, I saw that lawyers are people who are liars, not honest in the cases they work on. I have always told myself I will only deal with innocent people and that will depend on their cases.

For me to reach that dream, I have to work hard at school, go to varsity and graduate just like my dad and my older sister who is a doctor. I just wish to ask if you guys pray for me to seek GOD to show me the way forward, and for him to protect me in every way I go. Thank you.

By Naledi Dladla

Be part of the BIG picture and change a girl’s life this Christmas!

This year, CAST is excited to shine a light on our youth development programmes for young women aged between 12 – 18 years old. With your help, we will be raising funds to help our partner churches form communities where girls can thrive, build their resilience and combat gender-based violence.

A donation of R150 per girl will fund their participation in our girls’ conferences, sport, and discipleship programmes for 2020.

Each donor will receive a beautiful #IAm Christmas decoration and card decorated by the girls in our programmes, as well as your piece of the puzzle to make up a picture symbolising our theme, Ubuhle Bembokodo – “the strength and beauty of a woman”

For more information, contact Thandi: thandi@cast.org.za or call (031) 2668830.

#movebeyondcharity #jointhemovement #bepartofthebigpicture #UbuhleBembokodo #girlsempowerment #youthdevelopment

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Be Part of the BIG picture – Change a Girls’ Life this Christmas

This year, CAST is excited to shine a light on our youth development programmes for young women aged between 12 – 18 years old. With your help, we will be raising funds to help our partner churches form communities where girls can thrive, build their resilience and combat gender-based violence.

A donation of R150 per girl will fund their participation in our girls’ conferences, sport, and discipleship programmes for 2020.

Each donor will receive a beautiful #IAm Christmas decoration and card decorated by the girls in our programmes, as well as your piece of the puzzle to make up a picture symbolising Ubuhle Bembokodo – “the strength and beauty of a woman”

For more information, contact Thandi: thandi@cast.org.za or call (031) 2668830.

#movebeyondcharity #jointhemovement #bepartofthebigpicture #UbuhleBembokodo #girlsempowerment #youthdevelopment

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God Bless our Volunteers

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We are truly blessed to have volunteers in our Early Literacy programme who have given so generously of their time and love to the learners in our communities this year.

Your excellence drives our success and makes an invaluable difference in those young lives. What a beautiful picture of people from all walks of life coming together for God’s purpose!

#movebeyondcharity #jointhemovement

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Early Literacy Graduation 2019

We are so proud of the learners in our Early Literacy programme for showing a remarkable improvement in their reading and writing skills this year!

5 years ago, we were called to partner with a local organization, Wordworks to help build a brighter future for those children in our communities who need extra assistance at school in the foundation phase.

We are ever-grateful to our generous donors and faithful volunteers who have made this possible by reaching out to make a lasting difference in these young lives.

For more information on how you can get involved, contact us at: info@cast.org.za or call (031) 266 8830.

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Isipho Sembewu: Celebrating a Decade of Growth

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This year marks 10 years of CAST Ministry and 46 years since our first church partnership was established in 1973 with Noodsberg Baptist Church.

A big THANK YOU to those who joined in the festivities of our 10 Year celebration, and to ALL in our CAST community for your continued support.

The theme of our celebration, “Isipho Sembewu”, means “the gift of the seed” in isiZulu. Let us pray for many more years of growth and transformation of the seed so faithfully planted all those years ago.

 

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Building Resilience in our Youth: Azriel’s Story

At CAST, we believe that resilience is key to being able to deal with life’s challenges and bounce back from setbacks. In addition to our sport and discipleship programmes, we are excited to be running the Smart Moves Resilience programme as part of the national Life Orientation curriculum that will reach over 400 youth in our communities this year – many of whom have already shown great improvement in their level of engagement and participation at school.

The programme was piloted in 2018 at two schools in Phoenix, one of CAST’s target communities in KZN, with 115 learners in attendance. The Smart Moves curriculum is adopted from the resilience framework formulated by a UK-based resilience research group, BoingBoing, in the UK, with the aim of guiding children in the pre-teen age group to make “smart moves” as they navigate their way through adolescence and into adulthood. After regular sessions over a period of a few months, many of the learners reported enjoying the programme and teachers at the schools began to see significant improvement in the children’s conduct and willingness to learn.

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12-year-old Azriel Joseph from Mariannridge Primary School is one of 188 Grade Six learners who participate in CAST’s Resilience programme each week.

Azriel shares that he used to be shy, and was often bullied at school, afraid to speak up. Participating in the programme has helped him to overcome this and taught him valuable life lessons – how to be responsible, safe, and look out for others if they’re in trouble. “I used to hang out with the wrong crowds,” he says, “but now I’m deciding who to play with. It’s been a turning point.”

Like many children in his community, Azriel is being raised by a single mother since his parents’ separation 3 years ago. He feels a strong need for a relationship with his father, who has remarried, and often seeks support from uncles or through learning about his late grandfather, a former musician and Pastor. With an avid interest in music and Pastoral work himself, Azriel greatly looks up to his “Pa” as a role model, but sadly did not have the time to form a relationship with him as he was only four-years-old when he passed away.

The interactive lesson structure of the Resilience programme has given Azriel the confidence to “be real”, open up emotionally and share his thoughts with others, and has especially improved his communication with his mother. When he is going through a difficult time, Azriel now turns to his mother, a children’s day-care worker, a.k.a his “warrior”, for immediate support. Every morning before school, she helps him with his Mathematics homework, a subject he often struggles with. “That’s my enemy that I’m trying to conquer. My mum encourages me and tells me I’m going to pass.”

Azriel has also learnt the importance of having a relationship with God. He regularly attends church and is keenly involved as the drummer of the worship band. “Mum has been telling me that there’s only one way. There may be tough times, but God can help. I used to be sad and think there’s no hope. There is. Don’t give up. There’s a glimpse of hope. God can help me,” he says.

Azriel looks forward to starting high school in the next 2 years and wants to use what he has learnt to make good decisions for the future.

“Being in the programme has helped me to speak up and understand better who I am.”

If you are keen to make a difference in the lives of the youth in our communities, like Azriel, CAST is hosting the 10th Annual Boys Camp to provide boys without fathers an opportunity to learn about Manhood and Fatherhood as God intended. Sponsoring a boy will cost R400 p.p. For more info contact George Mwaura: george@cast.org.za or call (+27) 31 2668830.

CAST Banking Details:

Account name: CAST Trust

Bank: FNB

Branch code: 250655

Account no: 62762010248

REF: “BoysCamp”

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A Light on the Path: Lynette Pather’s story

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Lynette Pather is an experienced youth leader in the community of Phoenix in Durban, South Africa and has dedicated herself to helping the children and youth in her area through CAST’s Reading Intervention Programme for Grade 3s, and Life Skills Resilience Programme for Grade 7s.

She first joined CAST as a volunteer in 2017 when a pastor from Cornerstone Community Church went door-to-door around the neighbourhood to speak to youth and Sunday School teachers about the programmes that CAST was planning to implement in partnership with the Church.

Lynette then attended the training to become a facilitator for the programmes which she now volunteers for 3 times a week and is always willing to assist CAST when needed.

The reading intervention programme is aimed at helping children who did not receive adequate assistance at foundation phase to improve their skills in reading and comprehension at the appropriate level. Lynette assists a group of 10 learners and describes this as a trouble-free class.

The Resilience classes, however, pose more of a challenge for the facilitators. Lynette describes the Grade 7 learners, aged 12 – 13, as going through a transition phase into their teenage years, and find themselves unsure of how to deal with uncomfortable feelings and emotions when certain topics are raised. Some even become defensive and disruptive or begin making jokes to detract from serious subjects.

With an average of 40 children per class, it is not easy to manage. The facilitators, fortunately, have the support of the school but avoid disciplining the children, and instead, try to adopt a “love of Christ” approach towards unruly learners. Lynette believes the root of this behaviour is due to the prevalence of single-parent households or those with absent parents in the community and has seen how children as young as those she teaches are forced to take on the responsibility of parenting their younger siblings. Many of these single-parent households do not receive support due to the shame and stigma of being a ‘broken’ family. “We have to give honour to [single parents] instead of looking down on them,” she says.

Since the programme was implemented, Lynette has noticed a positive difference in the behaviour of learners that participated last year who now push themselves to attain good school marks in order to qualify for university. “They are more self-motivated, centred, and know that only they can make the decision to get out of the cycle of poverty,” she says.

Although the programme does not allow for the facilitators to share Christian teachings, as the learners of the school are religiously-diverse, they still offer encouragement and support to equip the learners with information to pursue further studies at tertiary level. Her dream for the children in the community is for them to “see the bigger picture.”

Lynette, herself, comes from a strong Christian family who founded and pastor Fountain of Hope Christian Centre in Phoenix. As a qualified Christian Counsellor with a diploma from the Logos Bible School, her many years of experience in youth ministry has grown her passion for serving the younger generation. Her advice to other leaders of young people is to “never give up until that person can see what God has for them, especially if you see a child with potential. Take that child’s dream, put it into your spirit, pray, and make it a reality.”

“I want to help the youth see the world differently,” she says. “There are so many opportunities. The world is for you.”

If you are keen to support these programmes or commit to tutoring and mentoring young people in our communities, contact CAST at info@cast.org.za or call (+27)31 266 8830.