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Early Literacy Volunteers Needed

20160728-word-works-addington-6-of-32Over the past four years CAST has partnered with an NPO called Wordworks to implement their foundation phase programme called the Early Literacy Programme (ELP).

The ELP is an intervention programme for underprivileged children in the foundation phase (Grade R through 2).  The Literacy Programme provides support for children who are lacking in early language and literacy skills.  Currently CAST is running the programme at Addington Primary School in the South Beach area to help Grade 1 learners develop their reading and writing skills.

Tutors/Volunteers are needed to work with pairs of children for a couple of hours each week. We currently run the programme every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11:30am. No previous experience is needed, just a love of children and a bit of patience! CAST will provide you with initial training and ongoing support and advice.

If you would like to get involved, contact Joseph at 031 267 1716 or joseph@cast.org.za. Contact us and you can even visit on a Tuesday/Thursday to see us in action.

Join the movement beyond charity and help us make a difference in the lives of young children!

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Imanamalo

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IMG_8689.JPGBefore Baba Khumalo retired, he used to come home from work everyday and notice all the children in his community.  He wished that the kids had somewhere to stay where they could be nurtured and cared for, and where they could experience the love of Jesus.  But he wasn’t sure how.

Over the years, the Khumalos opened up their church, their home and their hearts to the children in Chibini.  In the past three years, the Khumalos have nearly doubled the size of their Sunday School, currently reaching 85 children in the community each week.IMG_8667.JPGHowever, Baba Khumalo was not content with only reaching children on Sundays.  Earlier in the year, Joseph Bode (CAST’s Education & Children’s Dev. HOD) and Zippy Benn, a CAST volunteer, suggested that the Khumalos start a creche out of the church where children could come everyday.

Bongani Mkhize, CAST’s Noodsberg Area Co-ordinator, connected the Khumalos with a local school principal who welcomed them into the local creche association.  By joining the association, the Khumalos were able to access training for their volunteers and ECD materials for the creche.

On 18 July 2016, Baba Khumalo’s wish finally came true – the Imanamalo creche was launched, with 27 children attending, from ages 0-4.

However, operating Imanamalo has not been without challenges.  Firstly, the church is a rondavel building, so it is very cramped for the children, and the roof leaks when it rains.  Also, the Khumalos have to take down all the ECD materials off the walls before Sunday because of church, then put it all back up again, and make sure the chairs for the church service are removed before creche starts on Monday.img_8560

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IMG_8551.JPGBaba Khumalo’s next wish is to build a separate building for the creche, so that the children have space to play and learn.  CAST is supporting this venture, and you can too by donating a few practical items:

  • Mattresses
  • Blankets
  • A big carpet for the children to sit on
  • Rice
  • Tinned foods (i.e. beans, Lucky Star)
  • Mealie Meal
  • Jungle Oats

Over the years, God has always faithfully provided for the Khumalos to reach children in their community. Please be in prayer as CAST partners with the Khumalos to impact more children with the love of Christ. If you are interested in getting involved or donating towards Imanamalo , contact Joseph Bode at: joseph@cast.org.za or 031 267 1716

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Making a Difference through ABCs

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Back when Rolan first started volunteering with CAST’s Wordworks Literacy Programme at Addington Primary School, one of her learners didn’t know their alphabet.  In fact, the child didn’t even really speak to Rolan at all.

However, thanks to the structured, easy to use, one on one tutoring format of Wordworks, Rolan has been able to transform this learner’s life, not only with literacy skills, but also through a warm and caring relationship.  It took some time, but now this Grade 1 learner opens up with Rolan, sharing stories and even writing full sentences.

Rolan heard about the Literacy Programme through one of CAST’s interns.  She wasn’t working and wanted to make the best use of her time, so Rolan jumped into volunteering.  Although she is not a teacher, Rolan still found it easy to get involved because of the Wordworks training and simple lesson structure.  In the beginning, she just observed for a few weeks to see how to help the kids and how to deal with behavioural issues if necessary.

Now Rolan is a seasoned Literacy Programme volunteer.  As she explains, “I feel so much more at ease with the kids and feel so much more confident.  You learn as you go.  The kids take awhile to trust volunteers.  It’s about building a relationship instead of just being another authority figure.  You’re growing with the child, both in your ability to teach and their ability to learn.  It’s a journey.”

Rolan believes that CAST’s Literacy Programme has the potential to positively change a learner’s whole attitude about school.  The Literacy Programme is part of CAST’s Educational Support Department, which aims to rescue the academic potential of learners through training and support programmes which will help them grasp key concepts, and reduce obstacles to future success.  Addington Primary School is located in Durban central, and has a large population of learners from refugee families.  Because of the language barrier and large class sizes, Wordworks is key for learners to grow in their foundational literacy skills, as well as providing a safe place for the children to express themselves.

If you would like to become a literacy volunteer like Rolan and make a difference in the life of a child, please contact Joseph Bode at joe@cast.org.za for more information about volunteer training.

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Holiday Club Season 2016

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This year CAST took our annual holiday club season to a whole other level by partnering with local churches to host clubs in five of our communities.  A total of 1100 children were reached with the Gospel.  The adventure started off in the rural communities where kids came to learn more about Jesus at Noodsberg Baptist Church.  Then, the attention turned to Durban central, where CAST continued our long standing partnership with Addington Primary School to host a holiday club for learners.  Volunteers from both Westville Baptist Church and local partner churches were key to the success of the programme.

This week CAST made a new record of hosting three simultaneous holiday clubs in KwaDabeka, Lamontville and Mariannridge!  CAST was only able to accomplish this through the hard work of volunteers from Lake Pointe Church (Texas, USA), KwaDabeka Baptist Church, Lamontville Baptist Church and Joy Chapel Ministries (Mariannridge).

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Below are the stories of two high school students from Lake Pointe Church who gave of their holidays to volunteer with the clubs at Lamontville and Mariannridge:

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Paige, a volunteer from Lake Pointe Church

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Kylea (on right) with a local volunteer

Paige and Kylea came to South Africa for the first time last year.  They served at the holiday club in KwaDabeka, and fell in love with the culture and people.  Despite the language barrier and challenges of running a holiday club in a different setting, Paige and Kylea felt the Lord calling them to return to South Africa this year.

As Paige explains about serving, “You have to prepare your heart and be open to learning new things.  You also have to be open to the flow; things don’t always go the way you planned.”

Kylea also shared, “Even coming to the other side of the world, the same God is Lord everywhere.  You have to get out of your comfort zone.  I’ve learned how to be a better leader.”

CAST’s partnership with Lake Pointe Church is also vital for community volunteer training.  Instead of just implementing holiday clubs once-off, Lake Pointe has the long-term goal to empower church volunteers to serve their own communities.

Last year Lake Pointe provided volunteer leader training for local community members in KwaDabeka.  This year KwaDabeka Baptist Church was able to implement their own holiday club with entirely local community volunteers.

CAST would like to thank all our partners, volunteers and donors who made this holiday club season such a huge success!

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Photo Credit: John Benn Photography

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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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Acting Justly, Loving Mercy, & Walking Humbly with our God

As this year comes to an end, the team here at CAST would like to thank our donors and volunteers for supporting Church Alliance for Social Transformation throughout 2015. God has used CAST to bring His Kingdom through mobilsing and aligning the local church to reach out with practical compassion, to empower, transform, and redeem lost and hurting communities.

Our theme verse, Micah 6:8, has been the focus of 2015 for CAST: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. As we reflect on the year, we would to share five CAST highlights from 2015:

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1. Addington Camp & boysIIMen Camp: CAST’s annual youth camps were a great opportunity for children in our programmes to experience Christ in an environment outside their community. From a largely refugee community, 57 children attended Addington camp in Anerley and were introduced to Jesus. During boysIIMen Camp, 58 young men attended camp and 25 accepted Christ.

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2. Holiday Clubs: This year CAST partnered with local churches to put on holiday clubs in Addington, KwaDabeka, and the rural communities. Thanks to the hard work of Joseph Bode, many volunteers from our partner churches, and even an American team from Texas, CAST was able to provide a safe place for kids to learn more about Jesus during the school holidays.

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3. Lovebox Drive: This year CAST hosted our third annual lovebox drive. Over 400 children in CAST communities received a lovebox for Christmas and attended Christmas parties in their communities.

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4. Xenophobia Response: In April, the refugee community in Durban experienced xenophobic violence. CAST in partnership with Westville Baptist Church and several other local churches and organisations responsed to this violence by providing relief to those families and individuals affected. Westville Baptist Church’s Youth Centre turned into a temporary warehouse overnight for the many food, household, hygiene and children’s items donated. CAST has continued to work with the affected families and individuals by partnering with UNHCR to provide housing packages as well as support through counselling, dialogues, and data capturing.

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5. Our 5 Core Programmes: Although they are the understated backbone of our organisation, CAST’s Poverty Relief, Counselling, Youth Development, Educational Assistance, and Business Development Programmes provide the vehicle for community transformation to happen. On a daily basis, so many inviduals and families are impacted by the programmes that CAST offers in partnership with local churches. From food parcels given to families in desperate need all the way to entrepreneurs trying out their new business ideas in Lions’ Den, God is using CAST in a powerful way to grow the Kingdom of God.

Thanks to both our donors and volunteers, CAST has been able to continue our existing programmes while also expanding the reach of those programmes to transform individuals, families, and communities. During the year we had amazing opportunities to reach out and move beyond just charity to truly live out God’s call in Micah 6:8. Whether you acted justly by fighting against injustice for refugees through CAST’s relief effots, or loved mercy by mentoring a young teenager in CAST’s Youth Development Programme, we have all walked this road of serving and humbling trusting our Saviour together in 2015. CAST would like to wish all our donors and volunteers a very peaceful Christmas as we remember our Saviour’s birth.

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Lydia

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“CAST – it was like an angel coming to my doorstep.”

Most people don’t know that Lydia is sick.  A bright, cheerful CAST volunteer who loves to look smart, Lydia faithfully comes to CAST’s Wordworks Literacy Programme twice a week to assist Addington Primary School learners with basic reading and writing skills.

Lydia passes on her joy to the learners through her contagious smile.  However, her smile and laughter hides a world of physical pain that she has lived with since 2006 when she was diagnosed with cancer.

In fact, Lydia first connected with CAST through a friend in the Parklands cancer ward.  It was through this friend that she met Janine Pepper, CAST’s Community Development Manager.

At the time, Lydia had lost her job as a Forensic Report Analyst because she was too sick to go to work.  A family friend was providing for her medical aid, but Lydia battled to pay for rent, electricity, and food.

As a social worker, Janine encouraged Lydia to access a disability grant to cover some of her expenses, as well as monthly food parcels from CAST.

During this time Lydia had received eviction notices and was in court fighting to stay in her flat.  With Janine’s assistance from CAST, Lydia was able to secure enough finances to pay for her rent.  Then just when things were looking better, Lydia hit rock bottom when she came home to her flat building and found all her belongings thrown out in the street.  Despite paying her rent in full, Lydia was unjustly thrown out of her flat.

As Lydia explains, “I was like a laughing stock.  It was the biggest humiliation.”

Eventually with the help of Janine, Lydia was able to move back into her flat.

Wanting to give back to the community, Lydia was introduced to the Wordworks Programme by Yasmin Adams, CAST’s Inner City Area Coordinator.  She now actively tutors several learners struggling with basic literacy and language skills.  In the Literacy Programme, Lydia has found a purpose.

Lydia confidently says, “I still believe God wanted to prove He has been with me all the way.  Each day means a lot to me.  God has been journeying with me.  He’s preparing me for something big to come.”

All of CAST’s programmes are grassroot by nature, being run by ordinary people, for ordinary people, but in ways that bring extraordinary results.  Many of CAST’s volunteers are themselves CAST food parcel recipients, business forum participants, sports team members, or counselling clients.

CAST’s goal is to give a hand up, not a hand out.  Our heart is to mobilise the local church to reach out with practical compassion, to empower and transform lost and hurting communities.  By empowering people to transform their own communities, we believe that the Kingdom of God will be advanced.

Currently, Lydia is still looking for some kind of employment.  If you know of a job opportunity suited for Lydia, please contact Janine Pepper at: janine@cast.org.za