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Mama Palesa

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Simphiwe Mbeje, CAST’s Lamontville Area Coordinator (on right), works with many women in his community who are the sole supporters of their families. He ensures these women receive food parcels from CAST’s Povery Relief Programme. One of those ladies is Mama Palesa (on left). She lives in a simple home, cooking samp and beans from her CAST food parcel over a fire outside her home. Supporting her seven children and eleven grandchildren, Mama Palesa makes and sells children’s clothing in Durban Central.

Mama Palesa experienced the loss of her husband in 1995. In the past, she had supported her family through sewing and gardening alone. However, things became more difficult as her family continued to grow. Mama Palesa began to sell meat bones out of desperation to make ends meet. With no one else working in the family, Mama Palesa was not coping well with the load she was carrying.

Last year, someone told her about CAST. Mama Palesa met with CAST’s Lamontville Area Coordinator and was put on the food parcel programme. Mama Palesa thanks CAST for the support because she is able to feed her family. Her grandchildren even receive Christmas gifts through CAST’s lovebox drive!

One of Mama Palesa's grandchildren

One of Mama Palesa’s grandchildren

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Mama Palesa is always looking for ways to support her family, so she also joined the CAST Business Forum. She has always used sewing to support her family, but CAST gave her the opportunity to sell at other markets, such as Hope Market in Umhlanga. In addition to making and selling clothing, Mama Palesa collects bottles and cans outside her home to recycle as a small income.

Mama Palesa is one of many women in Lamontville who have been empowered by CAST’s services. If you are interested in supporting someone like Mama Palesa through CAST’s business forum or food parcel programme, please contact Murry, our Volunteer Coordinator, at murry@cast.org.za.

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Winter Warmth

Last week, CAST had a chance to partner with a life group from Westville Baptist Church to reach out with practical compassion in Lamontville.

It all started last year, when the same life group from Westville Baptist saw some kids playing without jerseys on a cold evening.  Their group had the idea to collect jerseys for those who needed them most during the colder winter months.  Although the vision was present, the group ran out of time to complete the project.

This year was different.  When Westville Baptist began 40 Days of Community, the same life group decided it was time to reach out.  Winter Warmth Jersey Drive started out as a simple Facebook page and grew into a campaign to make the greater Durban area a warmer place.

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The life group partnered with another life group to collect more than 500 jerseys.  Each individual in the group collected by advertising on Facebook, putting posters up at work, and even going door to door asking for jerseys.

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The only problem was that they didn’t know where to take the jerseys.  With so many communities that could benefit, the life groups wanted to make sure the jerseys went to individuals who needed them the most.  They also wanted to spend some time in the community where the jerseys would be distributed instead of just dropping them off.

So the life group leader contacted Murry Pieterse, CAST’s Volunteer Coordinator.  She was able to connect them with Lamontville Baptist Church, one of CAST’s local community churches.  The life groups decided to present the jerseys at Lamontville Baptist’s Sunday morning church service so they could see what the community was all about.

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At the service, the life group was amazed by the friendliness of the church members.  Every life group member was hugged, greeted, and warmly welcomed into worship and prayer.  When it came time to explain the Winter Warmth Jersey Drive, the church was blessed with the jerseys to distribute to the most needy in Lamontville.

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Winter Warmth Jersey Drive is one of the many ways CAST is mobilising local churches such as Lamontville Baptist Church to reach out with practical compassion to transform local communities.  CAST believes that true transformation happens when ordinary people are finding solutions together.

Next year the same life group from Westville Baptist would like to continue the Winter Warmth Jersey Drive in local communities where CAST works.  If you are interested in getting involved, please watch the Winter Warmth Jersey Drive page for more updates.

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2014 Holiday Clubs

During the last month, CAST, in partnership with several American and local teams, have put on holiday clubs for three of our communities.  The first holiday club was in Chibini, a rural community near Noodsberg.  An American team from Seattle came to help, along with CAST and local volunteers.  By the last day of holiday club, 200 children had heard the Gospel.

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The second holiday club was at Addington Primary School. Westville Baptist and CAST partnered to share the love of Jesus with children in Durban Central. Many children attend Addington Holiday Club because they are home alone while parents are working during the daytime.

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The theme of Addington Holiday Club was “Showtime”. The idea behind the theme was that every individual’s life is like a movie. Children were challenged to consider if their life is worth watching, and many kids came to know Christ when they were asked if Jesus was the director of their life.  Throughout the week, they watched acted-out TV programmes, and even became the live show!  

CAST’s final holiday club was in Mariannridge, one of our newer communities. An American team from Kentucky came to partner with CAST. 80 children attended, and experienced the love of Jesus. This holiday club was a part of the launch of the Youth Development Programme in Mariannridge.

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Please be in prayer that the children impacted by these holiday clubs will continue to grow in their relationship with Jesus through CAST’s Youth Development Programmes and local partner churches. If you are interested in tutoring, mentoring, or getting involved with our youth sports programmes, please email CAST at info@cast.org.za.

 

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Bryan the Professor X

Bryan (on right) with George Mwaura, CAST Youth Development Manager

Bryan (on right) with George Mwaura, CAST Youth Development Manager

Samkelo, more commonly known as “Bryan”, stands out in a crowd not only because of his height but also because of his charismatic and bubbly personality. He attends Durban High School (DHS) on a basketball scholarship, but grew up in KwaDabeka with his grandparents and mother.

Bryan’s story with CAST began in 2010, when he came to play basketball with the team in KwaDabeka. At first everyone on the team gave him a hard time because he was young, tall, and did not know how to play. After coming to practice only three times, Bryan’s grandfather passed away and he did not play basketball for a year.

One day Bryan’s mother brought home a basketball and encouraged him to practise, even though she did not want him to be on the team. Bryan prayed and asked God to give him a second chance with basketball. This time when Bryan came to play with the CAST team, he ignored the older guys and focused on developing his basketball skills. Bryan drilled himself on simple things, like a lay up, for a month and pushed himself to excel.

Before his first game in Westville, Bryan showed up an hour early to practise. Everyone wondered why he was sweating before the game, but his hard work paid off when he scored the first basket. Bryan earned his place on the team after the game.

However, he was not satisfied with being mediocre. Bryan studied how to improve his shots on Youtube in addition to practising with the CAST team.

Along the way, he was blessed with a pair of basketball shoes by one of our CAST donors. These shoes gave Bryan the confidence he needed to pursue his dreams, motivating him to work harder towards his goals. Bryan still prizes his basketball shoes, though worn and falling apart, as a reminder of the kindness shown to him.

Again, Bryan’s hard work paid off when a coach from Westville saw him play and asked him to tryout for the high school team. At the time DHS wanted him to play as well, so Bryan was torn between the two schools. He ended up choosing Westville, but was denied.

In 2013 Bryan was stuck at his old school, hoping for another chance to succeed. So he worked harder because he believed something was missing. Bryan’s chance came through his CAST coach, Lungelo Dlamini, who told him about KwaZulu-Natal’s district basketball tryouts. As one of the 75 best high school basketball players in the district, Bryan was vying for one of the 15 spots on the team. Gradually through several months, Bryan made it through the cuts as one of the last 15 people. However, he learned that the coach was only going to take 12 guys on the team. Bryan prayed only to be on the team. At the final selection, the assistant coach told Bryan that he did not make the cut, only to find out he was the youngest player on the roster!

Bryan’s luck did not end there; he was given scholarship forms for DHS. His mom was not too excited, but Bryan held out faith that God would answer his prayers. Hope seemed dim again when the school lost his forms, but in December 2013, Bryan was awarded a complete scholarship to attend DHS and play basketball.

Boarding school has taught Bryan how to be independent. It has been a hard transition at times, but Bryan is now excelling in school, even going to the library to get books to read just for fun!

Now that Bryan is on holiday, he has decided to volunteer with CAST. First, he assisted at the Mariannridge Sports Clinic for the launch of the Youth Development Program in that community. In Mariannridge he worked with boys, helping them improve their basketball and soccer skills. This past week Bryan volunteered at Addington Holiday Club as a group leader for Grade 5 boys. Bryan calls it his “mission”, as his boys are rowdy. However the experience has taught Bryan how to lead the boys in fun yet structured way. His group calls themselves “Team X” because each boy is named after a different super hero. Bryan’s focus is on growing the boys as a team, especially through praying. The boys now have someone they can look to as an example through Bryan, their “Professor X”.

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Bryan “Professor X” with his super heros!

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Bryan (in red) playing basketball with his boys

Bryan’s story is one of many. Everyday young people are being impacted through CAST’s Youth Development program. CAST’s Youth Development program believes that every young person has God-given potiential that should be nurtured. This story has not only impacted Bryan, but also the community around him. Bryan is growing and giving back to the community. CAST wants to thank all the sponsors who give to CAST’s Youth Development and help make a difference in our communities.

If you are interested in CAST’s Youth Development, you can get involved by asking George Mwaura about one of the following opportunities:

  • Sponsoring a boy to attend boys2Men Camp for R350
  • Mentoring a senior player
  • Tutoring a matriculant
  • Donating basketball shoes for the senior team

Make sure to keep Samkelo Bryan in your prayers!

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Sinothando

Meet Sinothando, a nineteen year old from KwaDabeka. Unlike most of her peers, Sinothando has already finished a year of varsity at University of Cape Town. Her passion is maths and science, especially statistics.

Sinothando’s mom raised her and her two other sisters as a single mum. Her mother worked at the crèche at KwaDabeka Baptist Church, and was a mother-figure to many other children in the community.

Life changed forever for Sinothando and her family when their mum passed. Sinothando was in Matric, and already planned to attend University of Cape Town the following year. Despite the passing of her mother, Sinothando persevered and began varsity in Cape Town. Her belief in God gave her strength to persevere during this time and pursue her goals.

In varsity, Sinothando struggled with being away from her family after the loss of her mother. However she thrived in varsity, becoming a floor mentor and excelling in her studies.

Instead of resting during holiday break, Sinothando has come back to KwaDabeka to help tutor students and teach at her former high school. Using her ability in maths and science, Sinothando is able to make a difference in her community by giving back to students.

While Sinothando did not participate CAST’s Youth Development Program as a high school student, she is still an inspiration to other girls in the community. CAST prays that girls in our program will be encouraged to pursue their God-given dreams through the testimony of Sinothando.