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Ayanda

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As someone who never liked school, Ayanda made the decision to drop out of Grade 9 in 2010.  It wasn’t until two years later in 2012 when Ayanda joined the Clan and met Lawrence Nkomo, CAST’s Youth Development Intern at the time, that his life changed.

Ayanda with the Clan

Ayanda with the Clan

Later Ayanda was invited to Boys2Men Camp by George Mwaura, and there his eyes were opened to the importance of education.  He made up his mind to pursue a B com in Accounting, and applied at University of Pretoria.  However, when his plans didn’t work out, he went to Durban University of Technology to apply for whatever was available.  Then after studying six months, Ayanda was unable to secure government loans (NSFAS) and was forced to drop out.

These challenges did not stop Ayanda from continuing his education.  Instead, Ayanda looked at educational opportunities outside of Durban, where there were more openings for learners.  He also worked a part-time job during the holidays to save money for university and help out his grandmother, who cares for his three siblings.

Now Ayanda has started his first year at the University of Zululand and is studying logistics management.  Ayanda was able to use his savings from his part-time job to cover his registration fee entirely, and CAST assisted him in reserving accommodation.

As Ayanda explains, “Moving away from home has been a great experience.  It’s what I always wanted and I’ve learned to be independent.”

CAST believes in encouraging young people to pursue further education in order to equip them to be self-sufficient and productive in their communities.  We believe that communities are transformed when young people are able to pursue their education and give back to their home communities.  While Ayanda has worked very hard to cover most of his university expenses on his own, he still needs some support with the additional cost of textbooks, stationary, etc.  If you are interested in empowering Ayanda to pursue his education, please contact George Mwaura at: george@cast.org.za

 

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Fighting Fatherlessness, One Step at a Time

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Determined, committed and consistent, Michael Pieterse is faithful to any goal he pursues.  Comrades has always been on Michael’s bucket list, so when he decided in March 2015 to prepare for Comrades in 2016, he knew it would be his biggest challenge yet.

With the help of a coach, Michael has been training and building up to qualify at the Deloitte Challenge this year.  Everything was going well until last month when Michael had a serious bike accident and injured his arm.  He was unable to train for six weeks.  However, he has been gradually easing back into training as he gains more mobility of his arm.

Michael is no stranger to facing obstacles.  Growing up with a dad who battled with alcohol abuse, Michael learned how to take care of himself from an early age.  He paid for his own education and was forced to become a man without the guidance of a father-figure.  Despite the challenges, Michael learned to have confidence in himself because of his relationship with God.  He discovered that God was his Father, and with that confidence Michael learned to dream big about his life.

Michael is passionate about fighting fatherlessness and helping boys discover what it means to be a man.  As a result, he has decided to run Comrades to raise support for CAST’s 2016 Boys2Men Camp, 30 Sept. – 3 Oct.

This camp came about as a response to the overwhelming need for father-figures in the lives of young men involved with CAST’s Youth Development Programme.  The initial camp took place in November 2010, and the aim of the camp was to give the boys a real father-figure experience. During camp we discovered that 75 percent of the boys in attendance did not have real fathers in their lives. There was a desperate need for guidance, advice, affirmation, and a way for young men to discover their identity. Boys also had an overwhelming spiritual need as most of them did not grow up in Christian homes.

Since 2010, we have hosted Boys2Men Camp annually, and more than 400 boys have had the chance to attend. It has become one of the most impactful short-term programmes at CAST, even attracting international volunteers. Boys2Men’s focus has become transforming boys to men. Every year we have seen many young people give their lives to Jesus. The ongoing sports programme has provided continuing discipleship for the boys and our community churches have also become instrumental in providing spiritual homes for the boys.

As Michael explains,”Running Comrades means nothing unless you do it for something worthy.  Why not use it to change someone’s life for eternity?  I want to help a few boys discover God as their Father.”

Michael wants to send 20 boys to camp (camp costs R350 per boy), and in order to reach this goal of raising R7000, we need your help!  If you are interested in getting involved, here’s how:

  1. You can give R4 per kilometre that Michael runs.  If Michael finishes the entire 90 km race, you will have raised enough support for a boy to attend camp!
  2. You can also give R4 per kilometre that Michael runs for the distance of a marathon (42 km), which is about half of Comrades (R168).

If you would like more information, please contact George Mwaura at: george@cast.org.za

If you want to give directly by EFT or Givengain here are our details:

Nedbank, Branch: Westville Mall/138026

Account: CAST Trust, No: 101 7717 672

Givengain: https://www.givengain.com/cause/4933/campaigns/16861

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Meet the Staff: Cindy & Stuart

CAST is blessed with an incredible staff who have a heart to serve the Lord and a tremendous amount of experience in community development.  This week we will be highlighting two of our staff members: Cindy Whittle, CAST Operations Office Administrator, & Stuart Talbot, CAST’s Business Development Head of Department.

Cindy

A new mother, former biology teacher, and passionate follower of Christ, Cindy enjoys working for an organisation that is made of like minded people who know the Lord and are seeking to serve Him.

As Cindy explains, “I love that CAST’s main focus is to link the local community to Christ, to each other, and to the local church.”

Cindy first became interested in development work through going on short-term mission trips with her church.  However it was her role as PEPFAR Fellow and Health Services Manager at Crossroads Children’s Home in the rural Eastern Cape town of Matatiele where she discovered her passion for community development.  Within this role, Cindy maintained a road-to-health plan for each child, which included testing and ARV treatment for HIV positive children, as well as vaccines, early detection of opportunistic infections, and making sure the child’s treatment was adhered to.

When reflecting on her experience, Cindy explained, “You can’t enter into a community where you haven’t developed relationships.  I believe that transformation comes from unconditional love.”

Cindy is motivated by her love for the Lord, others, and community work.  She loves seeing lives transformed by the Gospel, and God using ordinary people to reach others.

Stuart

Once described as a “walking book of Durban”, Stuart’s knowledge and experience of Durban’s inner city has become an incredibly valuable asset not only to CAST’s Business Development Department, but to the organisation as a whole.

Stuart enjoys connecting people to the Kingdom of God and getting “a-ha” moments at CAST.  While he might not care too much whether his shoelaces are tied, Stuart values justice, journeying, and especially discovering God in the least likely of places.

As a creative and out of the box thinker, Stuart has a different approach to Business Development.  He believes we support the people and they do the business development, not the other way around.  Instead of asking how many people CAST has impacted, Stuart believes we should ask “How many people don’t need us anymore?”

These are just two of our staff who are passionate about community development and the mission of CAST to assist local churches to empower, transform and redeem communities.  We are thankful to have an amazing 2016 staff team who are passionate about the Kingdom of God!