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A New Life: Reen’s Story

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44-year old Reen Naicker from Phoenix has been healed of his addiction of 30 years through CAST in partnership with Project Exodus, and partner church, Cornerstone Community Church (CCC).  Reen’s journey out of addiction began with attending a weekly support group meeting at CCC. This was made possible through the meeting of the leadership of Project Exodus and CAST at the Ibandla Malivuke Conference in 2018 which led to the formation of a partnership that has gone on to help many substance abusers in the community, like Reen, as well as their families and supporters.

For Reen, he testifies that it was only through the grace of God that he has been set free, able to overcome his addiction and is now four months sober. Before this, Reen had been in suffering since he began using substances at an early age. His habit soon developed into an addiction, but Reen felt that he had it under control, so much so that his wife and child were not even aware of his problem.

This was until Reen moved onto more potent drugs like heroin and whoonga. His life took a drastic turn and he began spiralling downwards, losing his job, his house and those closest to him. He stayed with his sister for a while and was allowed to bring his daughter over regular visits, but his desperation took hold and he began stealing from his sister’s house to feed his addiction.  They soon withdrew their support, and Reen had nowhere else to turn to but the streets, feeling that people had given up on him and was too ashamed to face his child.

His health deteriorated, growing weak and thin, and he contracted Tuberculosis. While on the streets, Reen would only mix with other addicts. Lying and using foul language became second-nature to Reen. He had lost who he was and would cry out to God, praying for answers. “I couldn’t see the glory in all of this,” he says. “God had his hand upon me, but I never saw it. I always thought I was fighting this battle on my own. I thought God left me.”

On his way to a tuckshop one day, Reen came into contact with a Pastor who told him of the support group meetings at CCC, and was referred to Raheel Govender, the CAST Phoenix Community Co-ordinator. Reen went to see Raheel and asked to be registered for the programme. Even in taking this step, Reen did not feel that others took him seriously given his history with relapsing. Regardless, he pitched up to the meeting, late, with the expectation of receiving medication that would make his pain and withdrawal symptoms go away. But instead, Reen discovered that it was much more than that as the trained volunteers from the local church and Project Exodus were heavily invested in the holistic transformation of each addict in recovery, offering support groups for both the recovering addict as well as supporters of the addicts.

Reen attended the meetings in faith, learning more and meeting people who he felt supported by. Pastor Clement Moses of CCC asked Reen if he really wants to change his life and if he would be willing to go to Jump Youth Mission, a centre for the rehabilitation of addicts using a Christ-centred approach to treatment. This was the answer to Reen’s prayers. Without hesitation, he took the opportunity and went. Conrad and the team from Project Exodus played a vital role in acquiring funds as well as care and support for Reen to be accommodated at the Mission house.

Although he is still on the journey to full recovery, Reen now feels he has been set free from the addiction. He has cleaned up not only his physical well-being, but feels emotionally and spiritually strong as well, and has been tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the kitchen and looking after the centre when the Pastor is not there.  Part of the programme also sees Reen doing outreach on Sundays, cooking for people in the communities, and ministering to those in need. From living selfishly and arrogantly, Reen now puts others’ needs before his own and carries out his duties at the centre with a sense of humility.

Reen’s sister now visits him at the mission and has opened the door to support him when he returns home. Reen has also improved his relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, who he looks forward to seeing every Thursday at the support group meetings at CCC, where he is encouraged to share his testimony with others who are still in the grips of addiction.

“God is working wonderful things in my life. I broke a lot of relationships and hurt a lot of people. Now that I’m in recovery and the spirit of the Lord is upon me, I’ve learnt to be a responsible person, a father. I serve others for the glory of the Lord. I live honestly, lying is now the most difficult thing for me. If I go wrong, I ask for God’s forgiveness. It’s a journey.”

As of July 2020, CAST is proud to officially partner with Project Exodus, with a mission to “provide sustainable solutions, and harness the transformative power of the networked Church to make expert recovery resources accessible for all South Africans.”  The programme will be implemented in three more of CAST’s partner churches namely: Kingdom Connect Ministries in Mariannridge, Mount Zion Church in KwaDabeka, and Home Ground Westville Baptist Church. If you would like to contribute towards the expansion of this programme, contact info@cast.org.za or call +27(0)31 2668830.

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Living Testimony: Siya’s Story

During the month of December 2019, CAST was blessed with a total of 33 interns sponsored by ABSA Bank Ltd. in partnership with Catalyx Consulting as a host organization. Our duty was to implement the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme initiated by President Cyril Ramaphosa. This year-long internship aims to assist unemployed South Africans aged 18 – 28 years old in gaining full-time employment in their chosen fields.

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Below is the testimony of one of our interns, Siyabonga, sharing his journey of transformation since joining CAST last year.

“My name is Siyabonga Makatshu. I was born on the 26th of February 2001 at KwaDabeka Clinic, but my family’s roots are at Eastern Cape. I grew up in Clermont, KwaDabeka. I started schooling at Mcopheleli Primary School, then went to Sithokozile Secondary and that is where I matriculated.

My journey with CAST started in late 2019 when I had no clear direction about my life, and I didn’t have any interest to further my studies. I was in a bondage by that time.

I remember in February, my friend asked me to accompany her to get her mother a food parcel at CAST KwaDabeka Community Centre. We went, and when we got there, the Co-ordinator of CAST KDB, Bab Peace Msimango told us that he needed volunteers to help the community and we agreed to come help. The day came when we met the second time with the intention of just “coming to help the community” but Bab Msimango told us that we need to do training before we start the ministry that God called us to fellowship on. We attended the training, and when we were all together as a team, we worshipped and shared the word of God. That grew us spiritually. I was never a perfect creature, I was smoking, drinking, stealing, swearing and did other horrible things, but God changed my life

I remember our co-ordinator asked us what our goals were, and I said that I would like to know God better than I know Him. My spiritual father, Bab Msimango, is the one who supported me all the way up until today. He was there for me throughout. I then started attending church every Sunday at KwaDabeka Baptist. I was still, however, not able to support my family. My co-ordinator visited me at home to see where I come from. He then saw the need to give me a food parcel to support my family, because I was a committed volunteer and participating in the community. I am happy to say I was the first volunteer at CAST to be visited at the township and that’s history. I was picked to go to the boys2MEN Camp and CAST’s 10th Anniversary Celebration. Our co-ordinator told us that after 6 months to 1 year, we will get a reference from CAST, because there are not many job opportunities in South Africa and that it will then help us in our future working lives.

In December, I and the other volunteers went to the volunteer thank-you party to receive certificates for tutoring in the Wordworks Literacy programme. I have learned a lot of things at the CAST organization. 2019 was one of the best years of my life and I have a testimony. I call myself a ‘living testimony’. Now, I have a clear direction in life unlike before.

I remember every Tuesday, we prayed for job opportunities and luckily my friends got an opportunity to work at the Airport and my nephew got a job at Pavilion Shopping Centre and there were four of us and I was left alone. I wondered, why me? But Jeremiah 29: 11 says, “I have plans for you, said the Lord, the plan to prosper you and not to harm you to give a time and hope.”

I learnt to be patient because patience is not an ability to wait but, to keep a good attitude while waiting. In December 2019, I went to an interview for the YES Internship programme at CAST and thank God I got the job. I am so happy to have gotten the opportunity to work because I am learning a lot. I met my new colleagues and am learning so much from them. I have improved my English and communication skills. I have learnt not to impress others, but be impactful towards them. The Catalyx training on work-readiness was and is effective in my life and I have also learned a lot from CAST.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Siyabonga played a key role in supplying food-insecure families with emergency relief during the national lockdown. Watch him in action on the CAST YouTube channel.

Siya’s dream is to study either Health and Safety Management or Trade and Marketing Management and follow his calling to become a Pastor. If you would like to support the development of young leaders in our communities like Siya, contact us at info@cast.org.za for more information about other CAST initiatives.

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Protecting our Communities

CAST-kruger-masks4

At the start of the national lockdown in late March 2020, the Kruger family were watching a news report about the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa. The family knew that people did not have access to face masks, especially those who did not even have money for food.  They knew that the need for masks was going to be huge and urgent, so they got to work the very next morning.  Caitlin Kruger worked on finding and adapting a pattern to make masks.

The family first made a number of different masks and then chose the best pattern and started in earnest on that Monday afternoon.  Makhosi Zondo, who usually sews clothing for CAST with the KwaDabeka sewing group, was staying with the Kruger family during lockdown and switched to sewing masks. Before they knew it, the whole family were producing masks. The little girls, aged 4 and 6, even climbed in to help by turning the masks inside out once sewn and enjoyed pegging them on the line to dry after they were washed.  The Kruger family managed to make 544 masks in the first week, and just over 2 000 in total.

In partnership with our alliance of churches, CAST was issued an essential services permit to pack and distribute food parcels during the lockdown which were delivered to 9 of our partner churches, aiding those identified as food insecure in the communities in which CAST operates. Over and above our usual monthly distribution, 1500 food parcels have been delivered so far, each able to feed a family of 4 for up to 2 weeks. In addition to the food, each recipient was provided with a mask very kindly sewn with love by the Kruger family.

We really appreciate the support from the Kruger family during this challenging time. If you would like to contribute towards supplying more protective masks for those in the communities, visit cast.org.za to make an online donation or EFT. For more information, contact us on info@cast.org.za or +27(0)31 266 8830.

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CAST Annual General Meeting 2020

Thank you to all those who were able to join us for our first-ever virtual Annual General Meeting – it was a great time of reflection on 2019 – hearing what God has done in the communities where we work, and connecting to the greater CAST community that has played a significant role in making this Ministry possible.

Our latest Annual Report for 2019 is available for viewing and download via the following link:

CAST Annual Report 2019

And you can watch the evening’s proceedings on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CASTngo/videos/189878529077333/

For more information on how you can get involved in any of our programmes, contact us at:

E-mail: info@cast.org.za

Tel: +27(0)31 266 8830

Website: cast.org.za

#movebeyondcharity #jointhemovement

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[MOVE BEYOND CHARITY] CAST Newsletter Vol.2 April/May 2020

Greetings, CAST Community!

Today we bring your our second quarterly newsletter for 2020:

 

Click here to download the pdf: CAST Newsletter Vol.2 APRIL_MAY_2020.

Watch this space for more about our ministry highlights and upcoming events.

Feel free to share with all who are interested in the movement beyond charity!

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Making it Work: LED during lockdown

Since the enforcement of the national lockdown on 27 March to stem the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa, CAST faced the challenge of suspending programmes normally held in group settings at the 13 communities in which we operate.

Our Local Economic Development programme seeks to teach business skills and introduce new opportunities to those already running small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Over a period of 9 – 18 weeks, the entrepreneurs take part in the Paradigm Shift Business Experience and Business Growth courses facilitated by volunteers and mentors. This curriculum aims to not only educate, but spiritually uplift as the content takes its lead from Holy Scripture.

With this programme suspended, CAST was determined to explore different ways of staying connected with our participants, so as to not lose the tremendous progress they have achieved. Through WhatsApp groups set up for each community of entrepreneurs, we have been able to conduct weekly business forums accessible to all who are interested, creating the space to share ideas, opportunities and prayer requests.

While many are facing severe economic challenges with a sudden loss of income due to enforced business closure and limitations on part-time work, Shakira from Phoenix in Durban is one such entrepreneur who has been motivated by the programme and identified the opportunity to produce cloth face masks, an essential item of personal protective equipment during this time.

The business forum WhatsApp group has been a great idea as we can’t attend our weekly classes. And having this group, we are able to communicate with each other. Janet has been a great help and God-send as she has dedicated her time to helping and assisting us through this lockdown period. Janet has assisted us in continuing with our studies via this means of communication and help us with our business plans/profile. She is passionate and helpful and is always willing to assist where she can. We get to share our weekly experiences with the group and find new ways or ideas on how to use this lockdown time to valuable use.

I have completed my business profile and with the help of Janet, I have to adjust and make a few changes. I am hoping this will improve and grow my business. The lockdown had not been good financially for my business as I have no income due to people being quarantined, but I do believe God has a bigger plan for me. We get to send our prayer requests weekly and Janet prays for our needs. I am truly blessed to be part of this incredible family.

Above: cloth face masks produced by Shakira

Below is more feedback received from other members of the WhatsApp Business Forums:

My business is not registered yet, I sell different things to people, but what I can say is, whenever we converse in our WhatsApp group I learn more about business. My very next step after lockdown is to register my business. Before CAST, I had studied business economics and economics at school and have had a learnership that I’m still busy with, it’s also about managing businesses or organisations. But the magic is only happening now.

The networking conference that was organised by CAST earlier this year, the WhatsApp group, the way CAST doesn’t let go of us, it nurtures me. I never thought that after we have graduated, we will still have a relationship with CAST. Every time I’m with my entrepreneurs’ group, it’s just a confirmation that I was meant to be in business. There was a time when I wanted to quit because I was learning common stuff during the class, but I’m glad I didn’t quit because CAST presents business from a different angle. It’s moving us beyond charity, as the CAST slogan says😃

– Surprise, Lamontville

 

The WhatsApp group business forum has been very helpful in a sense that there is a lot of information shared about how people in business can get help from the government. Also information about how people can get a social grant if they are not employed. It’s like a community where we can share our feelings about the lockdown and it’s also a platform where we receive information.

– Noxolo, Mariannridge

 

The WhatsApp group business forum is doing well. It’s making things easier for us to share business ideas and everything relating to business and CAST community. This platform is really amazing as we lift each other through this business journey with business profiles/business registration, business plans and other ideas.

I would like to thank Janet Okoye and Khetho Morgan Mdluli.

God bless you guys and we are very happy to be part of this platform.

THANK YOU CAST, you are transforming our lives 

Stay indoors healthy and safe.

– Thobani, Lamontville

 

If you are interested in mentoring our entrepreneurs or would like to get involved in the Business Forum WhatsApp groups contact head of CAST’s Local Economic Development programme Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or 083 990 2090.

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CAST COVID-19 Emergency Response

CAST Community,

As you may know, South Africa will begin a 21-day lockdown from midnight on 26 March until 16 April 2020 to stem the spread of Coronavirus.

Many of the needy in the communities where CAST operates will be severely affected by limited access to food and basic necessities during this time.

Join our project to pack and distribute 500 food parcels in the next 2 days by donating the items below or making a contribution of R250 per bucket.

1kg samp
5kg maize
490g peanut butter
375ml oil
1kg beans
1kg Morvite / any porridge
500g soya mince
1kg flour
1 bar soap
(and anything extra you might want to add!)

Donated items can be dropped off at the Home Ground Westville Baptist Church Youth Centre (2 Church Place, Westville) or the CAST Head Office (17 Langford Road, Westville)

For online donations: https://www.cast.org.za/product/donate-now

Banking Details:
Account name: CAST
Bank: First National Bank
Account no: 62825576301
Ref: Corona

On behalf of those we serve, we thank you for your prayers and support.

#CAST #movebeyondcharity #jointhemovement #coronavirus #covid19 #donate

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God in the Business: Slindile’s Story

                                                          

37-year-old businesswoman from Skhawini in Northern KZN, Slindile Gwala, shares her story of how CAST’s Local Economic Development programme has helped her develop her baking business and strengthen her relationship with God. 

‘’Before I joined CAST last year, I was not doing anything. I was not baking cakes, I was not making any hats, no flower arranging. I didn’t have a qualification for skills. Basically, I did electrical training from level 1-4. I stayed home and applied for jobs but, no luck.

Then, I went back to study Education for 4 years. Still, I was unemployed until CAST came to our church, Esikhawini Baptist Church and introduced one of their 4 main programmes which is Local Economic Development. Mama Janet explained why it is important to start your own business. The reason why I joined the programme is because I also did know how and where to start a business, how to select your customers, how to collect my money from debtors, but she said something that touched my heart, ‘’we are afraid of what we don’t know.’’  She was right. “I can do something instead of waiting for being employed, especially since our country is faced with a high rate of unemployment and time is against me.

Now, I am working with another company. They sent me their product so I can also sell it this side, then I get paid as well and now I don’t have to wait and depend on my husband to give me money. I can provide for myself.

Even though I was a Christian before CAST, during the training they also taught us about the importance of God in your business. Everything starts from God. During our training sessions, we stop and make time for worship as if we were at our Sunday service.

What I like more about this programme is that it does not exclude those who are not Christian, but everyone is welcome. I would like to recruit more people who are non-Christian to be part of the programme. Now I have joined another CAST programme which is Education & Child Development. I always love to work with kids and this programme has taught me something I didn’t know, like sounds -how to pronounce words to the younger children. So, we will be helping young children with reading and writing. I am looking forward to helping our future leaders.

What I would like CAST to also do is introduce their Youth Development programme to support youth who feel rejected by their community because of their past behaviour , as well as for the older generation to be more understanding of current issues facing the youth. Going forward, my dream is to grow my business and become a supplier of baking goods to big stores.’’ To help make this possible for Slindile and many other entrepreneurs in our communities, contact CAST Head of Local Economic Development, Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or call (031) 266 8830.

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[MOVE BEYOND CHARITY] CAST Newsletter Vol.1 Jan/Feb/March 2020

Greetings CAST Community! We are excited to bring you our first quarterly newsletter for 2020:

Download the full pdf document here: CAST Newsletter Vol. 1 _ JAN_FEB_MARCH 2020

Watch this space for more about our ministry highlights and upcoming events.

Feel free to share with all who are interested in the movement beyond charity!