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Addington Camp: Be an Example

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”  (I Timothy 4:12)

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If you’ve volunteered at Addington Primary School, you know how awesome and rewarding it can be to build relationships with these kids!

Every year volunteers from Westville Baptist Church and CAST put together a weekend camp for some of the children at Addington.  This opportunity allows the children some time away from their home environment to have fun, learn more about Jesus, and experience the undivided attention of caring adults.  Many of the children are growing up in families that are battling to make ends meet – some kids are even refugees from other countries in Africa.  These children are faced with the challenges of the Durban streets every day, even on their way to school.

This year 60 boys and girls from Addington will be attending at Camp Anerley.  The theme will be “Be an Example”, focusing on I Timothy 4:12.

Watch this video to hear more about what the Addington Camp experience is like:

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If Addington Camp interests you, there are several ways you can get involved:

1) Volunteer at camp during 27-29 March 2015!  We need group leaders for the boys and girls.  Giving just one weekend can make such a huge impact on the lives of these kids.

2) Sponsor a child to attend camp!  Each child is expected to raise R150 on their own for camp. However, in reality it costs an additional R400 per child for a weekend away at camp.  If volunteering at camp doesn’t fit into your schedule, donating towards a child’s camp fees is a great way to still contribute towards this life changing experience.  Even smaller donations go a long way towards making sure these kids get a chance to attend camp!

3) Pray for the children and volunteers at camp during the weekend of 27-29 March.  Every year, God works powerfully through Addington Camp to reach children who otherwise might not get a chance to hear the Gospel and experience the love of Jesus.

Joseph Bode will be in the courtyard after the services at WBC during the next few Sundays if you are interested in volunteering or donating towards Addington Camp.  You can contact him at joseph@cast.org.za if you have questions.  If you want to give during the week, feel free to use EFT.

Our banking details are:

Bank: Nedbank

Branch: Westville Mall / 138 026

Account Name: CAST Trust

Account Number: 101 7717 672

EFT Ref: Addington Camp

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Lizzie’s English Classes

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During a typical week at Masibambisane Centre in Cato Manor, you might witness support groups for HIV positive community members, gardening projects, church services, and community members receiving CAST food parcels.

But recently, a new group of people from Cato Manor started coming to Masibambisane Centre for assistance: Grade R to Grade 2 learners!

It all started with CAST’s Cato Manor Area Coordinator, Lizzie Mkhize, posting a notice on her fence, advertising English classes for young learners.  Lizzie had noticed how many young children in her community did not begin to learn English until Grade 4 in the township schools, so she decided to open her own English classes, offered every weekday from 3-6pm.

Parents came to ask about bringing their children, and soon after Lizzie had 30 kids ready to learn how to speak and write in English.

Because Lizzie has no “kiddie-sized” chairs or tables, the children sit on the floor during class.  Oftentimes her learners come with hungry bellies after school, and struggle to concentrate on the lesson.  Lizzie takes one day at a time, providing snacks as she can, and patiently teaching English through fun activities and games.

Parents are happy to see their children learning English at such an early age.  As one parent told Lizzie, “We thank you very much for your extra class.  They are really helpful.”

In December, Lizzie would like to give a “graduation” for the learners to celebrate their accomplishments.

As part of the greater mission of CAST’s Educational Assistance Programme, this new programme in Cato Manor is working to remove obstacles that stand in the way of learner success.  If you are interested in this new opportunity there are many ways to get involved through volunteering, providing snacks, donating “kiddie-sized” tables and chairs, or donating educational books and materials.  Contact Murry Pieterse at murry@cast.org.za if you are interested.

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Captain Banda

Back in 2010, Banda was skinny and tall, just looking for a place to train in KwaDabeka. He started coming to CAST’s basketball practices with his friend Tukiso and found much more than just a place to shoot hoops.

Banda (in white, far left) with the CAST team in 2010

Banda (in white, far left) with the CAST team in 2010

Since he joined in Grade 10, Banda has grown up with his CAST teammates, learning about life in community. As Banda says, “Teamwork is a crucial thing. I’ve learned you need people to guide you, to give you that extra boost.”

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Off the court, Banda also participated in boys2Men Camp, learning more about what a father actually looks like, and how to be there as a parent for your children.

By the time Matric rolled around, Banda realized he couldn’t be on the team as much as he would like if he wanted to succeed in school. Banda was determined to do whatever it took to pass. His efforts paid off when Matric results were posted; he scored 4 A’s and missed the fifth A by one percentage point.

This same work ethic carried on with Banda as he chose to pursue Maritime Studies at DUT. However financial complications stood in the way to even begin classes.

After approaching CAST for assistance, Banda was able to cover his registration fees and begin classes. Determined to find a way to pay for school in the future, he applied for bursaries.

As he battled to cover his expenses, Banda began to feel as though he wouldn’t be able to continue at DUT; he didn’t receive his first semester results because of the outstanding fees.

Then finally, Banda’s big break came. Among five of his peers, Banda was chosen to receive a bursary for the following year’s school fees. In addition, Banda will receive training and employment to help cover some of his remaining school fees from last year.

Here at CAST, we believe in empowering willing and aspiring young people like Banda, living in under-resourced communities to realize their dreams and make a difference in their community. This year Banda is not only pursuing his dreams, but also giving back to his community by tutoring high school students involved with CAST’s Programmes in KwaDabeka.

If you are interested in supporting a young person like Banda financially, or through mentoring, please contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za to find out more about how you can get involved.

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Masked Ball Guest Speaker: Lerato Tsosane

This week’s blog is a sneak preview of CAST’s guest speaker at the Masked Ball tonight. Enjoy!

Lerato Tsosane’s journey to her position as Consulate General for Lesotho began long before she was appointed in 2012. Coming from a media background, Lerato began her career as a young reporter for Lesotho News Agency (LENA) and made her big break when she was promoted to the Current Affairs Department, producing and anchoring a show featuring debates between high profile political figures.

During this period she became popular for her feats on the airwaves, and this period coincided with the 71 day political protests followed by 1998 riots that saw a major turning point in the contemporary politics of the country.

It was during her position as a producer and presenter of this show that Lerato’s interest in politics first began. During this time, Lerato was appointed with a group of five other individuals to keep the state radio station in Lesotho up and running. Despite the danger involved, they managed to save the situation. It was because of this experience that Lerato decided to take politics as a second major during her studies at Rhodes University.

However, when Lerato lost her younger brother and her father in one week, suddenly, she fell into depression and decided to exit with BJOURN at Rhodes University. Eventually she returned to study at University of the Free State, and went on to graduate with a Master’s degree in Politics.

Apart from being on radio, Lerato has traveled extensively with Head of Government and Head of State reporting on official trips. She has been a member of Red Cross Society, and outreach programmes are not new to her.

She admits that her road to success was not smooth but she boasts her strong faith which she says kept her moving, “Challenges make me. It’s part of life. It is only through failure that you can appreciate success.”

Lerato is The Consul General of the Kingdom of Lesotho based in Durban, and serving the coastal regions of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, dealing mostly with issues of trade and Consular matters. Proud of Lesotho’s low crime rate, hard work towards balancing gender equality, and beautiful geographical situation, Lerato is passionate about her country.

Make sure to attend CAST’s Masked Ball this evening to hear more about Lerato and her incredible story!

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CAST’s 2015 Masked Ball

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So Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Teddy bears, hearts, and sweets suffocate you the second you walk into Spar, reminding you of how your impending doom is coming. But you don’t want to do the same-old, boring Valentine’s routine of nice flowers and a dinner.

If this sounds like you, CAST has a solution! On Friday evening, 13 Feb 2015, there will be a CAST Masked Ball Fundraising Dinner at Westville Country Club. Not only will there be a 3 course dinner, free masks, auction, live band, and dancing, but also a special guest speaker, Ms. Lerato Tsosane, Consulate General of Lesotho.

All the proceeds from the event will go towards CAST’s programmes in Durban central at Addington Primary School. If you are wondering what your tickets will ACTUALLY fund, read more about how CAST makes a difference in Addington:

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CAST’s Educational Assistance Programme has proven to be successful in reducing obstacles for learners by providing holistic support.  For the last five years, CAST has been providing homework help at Addington Primary through Westville Baptist Church volunteers.    Many of the students at Addington Primary are refugees, and have experienced trauma or are just struggling with the transition to a new country.   

Literacy Programme:

This programme is based on the Wordworks Literacy Programme material, specifically aimed towards second language English learners at a Grade R and Grade 1 Foundational Phase level.  Volunteers are trained to run the programme which uses games, books and other fun tools to assist children in learning.  Each child in the programme receives an hour a week of intense one-on-one time with a volunteer.  The goal of the programme is to support early language and literacy learning for children, especially those who come from refugee households in our Addington programme.

Give Your Brain a Hand:

This programme was launched in 2014 for Addington Primary School students.  “Give Your Brain a Hand” is intended to provide a creative, therapeutic outlet for the children through arts & crafts, acting, and dancing.   CAST believes that this programme meets the holistic needs of students by providing a creative outlet, a safe place to stay after school, and empowering students to believe in themselves.

Psychosocial Therapeutic Support:

CAST operates a Counselling Centre with a qualified social worker for Addington Primary School students.  Students receive free counselling and support to help reduce physical, emotional, and psychological obstacles that stand in the way of pursing education.  By empowering students to achieve holistic health and well-being, CAST believes that we can also help students achieve academically.

If you want to make a difference in our local community by attending CAST’s Masked Ball, just email Murry at murry@cast.org.za to reserve tickets.  The Masked Ball is next Friday, 13 Feb 2015 from 5:30pm-9:30pm at Westville Country Club.  Tickets cost R230 per person, and can be purchased this Sunday at Westville Baptist Church or by EFT.

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Thoko the Teacher

One of CAST’s most faithful volunteers, Thoko was more than thrilled to become a CAST intern at the beginning of this year. Thoko’s journey with CAST began in 2014 when he was working a part-time job and looking for a way to give back to his community. One Sunday morning Thoko came to Westville Baptist Church, with a CV in hand and hoping for a chance to volunteer. After hearing CAST’s Executive Director, Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt, speak during the service, Thoko knew CAST was the place for him.

Thoko is originally from the small country of Malawi. As Thoko explains, “Malawians are too nice. Everyone greets you. Malawi is a poor country, but its people are hardworking.”

True to his word, Thoko used his passion for teaching through volunteering at CAST’s Homework Club in Addington. Last year when Homework Club transformed into the new Wordworks Literacy Programme, Thoko was excited to get involved.

When children come to the programme who are struggling with reading and writing, Thoko finds it incredibly fulfilling to work with the students. While volunteering with students who have fallen behind requires some serious patience, Thoko believes any volunteer can find a sense of fulfillment from getting involved with CAST’s Literacy Programme. The more informal and fun learning environment allows students to make enormous improvement within a short amount of time.

As Thoko explains, “The Literacy Programme opens up a whole future to the kids.” Without adequate reading or writing skills, students struggle to succeed in every subject. The goal of CAST’s Literacy Programme is to help students with basic literacy and language skills that lay the foundation for overall academic performance.

CAST’s Literacy Programme is completely dependent on volunteers who give a few hours of their time a week. If you have a heart for kids and education, and want to get involved, just email Murry at: murry@cast.org.za to find out more. CAST provides Wordworks training that makes it easy to get started. The Literacy Programme runs on Tuesday and Thursday at Addington Primary School in Durban central.

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The Lions’ Den

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Have you ever thought of an awesome business idea good enough for the TV show Dragon’s Den?  CAST’s Business Development Programme is starting our very own version of this competition called the “Lions’ Den” where local entrepreneurs from the township can apply to share their business ideas with a local panel who decide whether they are eligible for a loan.

Lindelwe Moyo, CAST’s Business Development Manager, had always thought about using the Dragon’s Den format for the Business Forum.  Last year CAST sent Lindelwe to the Denver Rescue Mission in the US, and he was able to shadow local banks and organisations dealing with micro loans to gain some new ideas.  Then when BEE funding came to the Business Development Programme, Lindelwe knew it was time to put the Lions’ Den into practice.

This is the way Lions’ Den will work:

1.  Introduction of the Idea to Entrepreneurs

This involves watching videos of the TV programme “Dragons’ Den” and giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to ask preliminary questions.

2.  Profiling & Public Voting

Interested applicants complete one page profiles of themselves and their business ideas. Fellow forum members also get a chance to vote for potential candidates. A business must get at least 5 votes or have proper documentation/recommendations to be considered.

3.  Business Bootcamp

Training & practice for entrepreneurs on how to handle interview questions.

4.  Loans Rewarded

Panelists will select 5 – 20 loan/grant recipients from eligible businesses.

5.  Post – Lending

Follow up visits to entrepreneurs (successful and unsuccessful).

After having presented the Lions’ Den to CAST’s business forum participants, many of the entrepreneurs are excited to apply, but some are intimidated by the competitive process.  The Lions’ Den is also open to entrepreneurs who are not already involved with CAST’s Business Forum, which really opens the doors for CAST to impact the greater community by allowing individuals to develop their businesses in order to provide for their families.

As Lindelwe explains, “This is an opportunity for CAST to make its mark.”

If the Lions’ Den interests you, please email Lindelwe at lindelwe@cast.org.za for more information about how you can get involved.

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Sam the Man

As one of the team captains this past year, Sam has been faithfully leading the CAST basketball team in KwaDabeka.  A humble, genuine, and consistent leader, Sam is always at practice, always ready to help out, and always friendly to whomever he meets.  Sam just finished and passed Matric at the ripe old age of 17.

Last year, Sam began a mentoring relationship with Mike Cox, a long-time supporter of CAST’s Youth Development Programme who attends Westville Baptist Church.  Before they started meeting, Sam didn’t believe much in himself.  But after meeting a few times with his mentor at Mugg & Bean, things began to change.  One of Sam’s best qualities is his inquisitive nature; he is quick to ask thoughtful questions.  And as Mike answered Sam’s questions, he began to look at life in a different way.

Sam had always planned to study business at university.  However, Mike challenged Sam to consider starting his own business, focusing on hard work, keeping time, and cultivating passion for what you do.

After Sam applied to University of Western Cape and was denied with the only hope of being reconsidered at the end of the year, he began to lose hope.

However, as Sam said, “If Mike believes in me, how can I not believe in myself?  Whenever I want to give up, I think of Mike Cox.”

Over time, Sam felt the freedom to chat with Mike when things went wrong at home or school.  Mike even invited Sam to go to Ushaka with his family.  After feeling the acceptance, understanding, and encouragement of Mike, Sam felt different.  As Sam says, “I want to see what’s out there for me.”

Sam with Mike's family

Sam with Mike’s family

Sam is one of several Senior Team Members in CAST’s KwaDabeka Youth Development Programme who have benefitted this year from mentoring and tutoring offered by CAST.  CAST believes in empowering youth to reach their potential.  One way you can get involved is through mentoring.  Many of the guys in our programme are growing up without an active father-figure in their lives.  As a mentor, you can make a huge impact by having coffee with a young man even once a month.

Another way you can get involved with CAST’s Youth Development Programme is through academic tutoring. Because of the lack of resources in township schools, many of our guys need academic assistance to succeed in Matric.  If you are knowledgeable in Maths, Science, or English, come check out CAST’s tutoring programme on Friday afternoons in KwaDabeka.

Feel free to email George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za if either of these opportunities interest you!

 

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Christmas Burgers & Snowflakes

A few weeks ago, George Mwaura, CAST’s Sports & Youth Development Manager, matched one of his boys in KwaDabeka with a mentor. When they met for the first time at McDonalds, the mentor asked the boy what he would like for breakfast. Without hesitation, he said a BURGER!! He was so excited but waited to start eating, only to tell his mentor this was his first burger in his life… and he’s 17 years old.

When George shared the story at Westville Baptist Church, the owners of Grand Canyon Spur were moved so much by the story that they offered to provide burgers for CAST’s Youth Development End of Year Christmas Celebration.

In the words of George, “I could not hold my joy yesterday watching the boys take forever to munch their burgers. I guess it might have been the first one again for some of them. The things we take for granted….”  

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CAST would like to thank Grand Canyon Spur for their generous donation towards CAST’s Youth Development Programme.

If you are interested in making a difference this Christmas in another way, you can also get involved with CAST’s Snowflake Drive.  It’s simple: You can sponsor a food parcel for R140 by buying a snowflake decoration at any of the Sunday Services at Westville Baptist Church until 28 Dec 2014.  Your snowflake decoration is a reminder of the family you provided food for this Christmas.

If you have any questions, contact Rachel at rachel@cast.org.za or 0312671716.

If you would like to give through EFT:

CAST Bank details

Bank: Nedbank

Acc Name: CAST

Account No: 1017717672

Branch: 138026

Reference: snowflake drive

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A Picture of Tainted Reality

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This week CAST would like to feature one of our own in-house artists, Lungelo Dlamini!  Lungelo is CAST’s Sports Coordinator in KwaDabeka.  Enjoy!

As I flex my wrist moving my fingertips, trying to construct messages, uttering alphabets with this thin piece of lead.

Thoughts of formulating imagery with the purpose of painting a perfect tainted picture of what reality is, blossom distinctively in my head.

I ask myself, whether mankind’s laws and systems are no different from Mother Nature’s ecosystem?

I mean let’s look at our current state of affairs, everything is backwards, facing upside down:

Doctors destroy healthcare

Lawyers destroy justice

Universities destroy knowledge

Governments destroy freedom

Media destroys information

and Religion destroys spirituality.

What we call democracy has transformed to corruption, what we call democracy has crippled our nation’s mindsets, backsliding our progress of needed social transformation.

What we call democracy still accommodates segregation, not driven by the colour of our skins anymore, but by the size of our pockets and greediness and what others call “economic apartheid”.

What we call spirituality has elevated to blasphemy, we shout out the name of Jesus Christ earnestly but still rely on today’s animated prophets to prosper, still sacrificing creatures burning incense, calling upon our ancestors to give us riches.

Oh Lord!  Deliver us from still being cursed by the sins of our fathers and blatantly doing evil.

I am no preacher.

I am no revolutionary.

I am no Marxist.

I am no extremist.

I am no terrorist.

I am just an artist trying to purvey the truth of present reality.