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CAST Amaqhawekazi Women’s Month iMbizo

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Join us in celebrating the AMAQHAWEKAZI (isiZulu, meaning special women/heroines) in our communities this Women’s Month🙌
Following the discussion on Gender-based Violence at CAST’s Mandela Day Online iMbizo in July, CAST continues to have a series of weekly dialogues about current gender-based injustices.
Our approach on this issue is to start by grappling with it from within the organization and Alliance of Churches we partner with in order to be effective leaders in developing our communities and supporting women in need.
This will culminate in a joyous celebration of women making an impact in their communities.
The event will be broadcast LIVE on Facebook, @CASTngo page.
Date: Friday 28th August 2020
Time: 15:00 – 16:00
ALL are welcome.
Let us unite in Christ to love and honour one another.

♥️

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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

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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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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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Triumphant in Christ: Tryphina Mhlanzi’s Story

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Since joining CAST four years ago, Tryphina Mhlanzi, affectionately known as “Mam’Njazi”, has brought life to CAST’s Food Parcel Ministry Days on her visits to our Community Centres in Mariannridge, Lamontville, Noodsberg and Chibini this past year with her passionate and upbeat leading of praise and worship. She is also a participant in CAST’s Business Forum as well as a facilitator for the weekly support group at West City Fellowship, CAST’s partner church in Chesterville, which welcomes ladies from the community and members of the church to come together and build meaningful relationships.

Growing up in Greytown, she came to Durban in the 1980s seeking employment as a domestic worker and worked for several families in Westville. Through one of her employers who attended Westville Truth and Fellowship Church (now West City Fellowship), she was invited to a weekly gathering with other domestic workers during their lunch breaks to listen to the Word.

It was at this gathering, 32 years ago, where Tryphina met Nomakaya Mpambaniso, current Community Co-ordinator for CAST in the Chesterville area, who was also employed as a domestic worker at the time. Their friendship has grown into a deep bond over the years, as they have also served together as foster mothers at Vukukhanye Children’s Home, a transition home established by WCF 12 years ago. Since taking on that position at the home, Tryphina has witnessed the anguish of many abused children that have come into her care, and has felt both joy and sadness in welcoming some and bidding farewell to others.

In her spare time, Tryphina oversees the running of a ‘spaza’ shop started up by her late husband in Marianhill. Participating in CAST’s Local Economic Development programme has taught her useful knowledge and skills in improving her business, particularly in branding, book-keeping and networking. Most valuable, though, has been learning the importance of keeping God at the centre of her business practice, “because we cannot do anything without God,” she says.

Although Tryphina takes comfort in having a strong relationship with God, she shares that this was not always the case, particularly when she was younger.

“People in my community talked about church, but they didn’t talk about God. To be a Christian is not about going to the building, it’s about having a relationship with God” she says.

As a single mother of two daughters, she has found herself having to rely on God more and more to get by. Her husband suffered a long-term illness and passed away 12 years ago. Her elder daughter, Mbali, a qualified journalist, is an active leader serving in the youth ministry of the church, but is currently unable to find full-time employment. Tryphina’s younger daughter, Tracy, a past participant in CAST’s Youth Development programme is diligently working towards attaining a degree in Teaching.

Tryphina’s message to those that she ministers to is one of hope and encouragement to use what God has given them by taking every opportunity to improve their circumstances and ultimately move out of poverty, without shame. She readily shares her testimony and motivates people to also inspire others with what God has been doing in their lives. “To have a challenging life,” she says, “is to know that God is using me. That’s where I find boldness.”

Building supportive relationships with those we serve in our communities is at the centre of our mission in helping them to know God and move out of financial and spiritual poverty. To be a part of this ministry in any of the 10 sites in which we operate, contact Head of Relief Services Sandy Reid at: sandy@cast.org.za or call (031) 266 8830.

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Hope for the Future: Judith’s Story

By Rolan Gulston

cast-judith-volunteer-hope-mariannridge01Since joining CAST as a programme participant two years ago, 31-year-old Judith Abrams has made a valuable impact in giving back to her community as a volunteer for CAST’s Child Literacy and Youth Development programmes.

Judith came to know CAST through a friend who worked at the Mariannridge CAST Community Centre assisting in the facilitation of programmes. She then signed up to participate in the Business Experience and Business Growth courses to learn how she could improve her own small business of selling cooked food from home, which she has been running for the past 2 years.

After successfully completing the course and graduating in 2018, Judith felt a renewed passion to expand her business, which she co-runs with her sister. Firstly, by registering her enterprise, “Judith’s Fast Food”, and then applying to the Local Councillor for permission to operate at the community taxi rank, the busiest spot in the area. Her long-term goal is to invest her profits into starting a franchise.

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Since learning these new skills, Judith feels a greater sense of self-belief and hope for the future. She looks forward to joining CAST’s sewing team in Mariannridge and would like to learn how to make evening attire, as there is a big market for Matric dance outfits in her community. Judith also dreams of pursuing a career in nursing, particularly in paediatrics, as she feels called to work with children.

This love of children drew her to volunteering with CAST as a tutor for the Word Works Early Literacy programme for Grade One’s, as well as facilitating the Resilience Life Orientation programme for the Grade Six learners at Mariannridge Primary School, a stone’s throw away from the CAST Community Centre.

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Learning how to teach Foundational Literacy using the Word Works material has helped Judith beyond the classroom in assisting her son who experiences learning difficulties due to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). She has developed a greater understanding of his cognitive-developmental level and has learnt how to be more patient with him.

The Resilience programme forms part of the national Life Orientation school curriculum, guiding children in the pre-teen age group to make ‘smart moves’ and work towards achieving their goals. Mentoring the children in this programme has created the space for Judith to form strong, supportive relationships with the youth in her community.

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The programme has helped Judith to “become one with the children in the community. They open up more,” she says. Having a 12-year-old daughter herself, Judith enjoys mentoring this age group as they move into their teen years and need more guidance through the many changes in their development, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Two children that Judith has worked with, in particular, have made great strides in improving their behaviour. One, a young boy bullied about his weight, who, in turn, started bullying others, has since stopped picking fights at school. Another, a young girl who turned to alcohol to cope with personal difficulties, invited Judith to join her family Sunday lunch and has been encouraged by Judith to make better choices.

Growing up in challenging circumstances, Judith knows first-hand the undue strain that these children experience when they are forced to grow up too quickly and take on adult responsibilities at home, often turning to harmful substances to alleviate the pressure. Her family did not have a steady income, and she suffered through an abusive relationship with her aunt. Other than her sister whom she currently lives with, Judith has little family support – her mother having passed away when she was younger, and her father remarrying and moved away. The father of Judith’s two children died tragically in a motorcycle accident.

Becoming a mother gave Judith the strength to stand up for herself and move past the pain. She has since made peace with the aunt who raised her and continues to pray for her. Being part of a strong spiritual community at a church in Mariannridge also helps Judith to feel supported and make positive changes in her life.

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Judith believes that there is hope, too, for the youth in her community. The key, she says, is “to stand together, and show them that we care.” Spending time consistently engaging with children and youth in the programmes have shown to have a significant positive impact on their development. If you would like to get involved in mentoring or tutoring in one of CAST’s target communities, contact us at: info@cast.org.za or call (+27) 31 266 8830 for more information.

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Local Economic Development in Lamontville

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From Left to Right: Florence Mbutho, Thembekile Dube, Jabulile Sosibo, Christina Moloyi

CAST recently hosted a Graduation Day for participants who successfully completed the Business Growth Course in Lamontville. Four of the ladies in this programme are part of a Sewing & Support Group launched this year at Lamontville Baptist Church, and spoke about how their lives have changed since joining CAST:

 

When/how did you first hear about CAST?

Florence Mbutho: I’ve been involved with CAST for many years, and first heard about it from neighbours who directed me to get help. I had been living on a social grant.

Thembekile Dube: I’ve been involved with CAST for 3-4 months. I heard about it from a friend who was collecting food parcels. I had been receiving food from the local soup kitchen but soon learnt that not only does CAST help people by distributing food parcels, there are other areas where they help people.

Christina Moloyi:  Three years ago, I heard about CAST through neighbours. I was going through family difficulties, and came to CAST for help and was added as a food parcel recipient. I am a skilled seamstress and had been selling clothes, but it wasn’t enough to support my family.

Jabulile Sosibo: It’s been 3-4 months that I’ve been involved with CAST, and I also heard about it from a neighbour.

 

How has your participation in the CAST programmes benefitted you?

Florence: My grandchild started attending WordWorks. I have also benefitted from other CAST programmes. I have even found a ‘sister’ through the support group. I crochet hats, scarves, and recently made a jersey, and am able to improvise the pattern for variety. I previously worked as a cleaner.

Thembekile: I joined the support group and have been knitting. The business training has helped. I previously worked in a clothing factory as a presser and fuser, gaining valuable skills in machine work.

Christina: I joined the support group and find it a good place to share my experiences with other women. I previously worked in a clothing factory as a machinist, but am now learning how to save and run a business, and recently had a request from CAST to sew items for selling.

Jabulile: My children have attended Holiday Club and I have participated in the Sewing Group for Business Development. I am a qualified machinist, having worked with Cover Seam and Overlock Safety machines, becoming well-practiced in the blind stitch techniques.

 

How has this affected your spiritual life?

Florence: I currently attend an Anglican Church. I have not been able to make it to Lamontville Baptist services because of my leg swelling which has limited my mobility. I also often babysits on Sundays, but would like to attend Lamontville Baptist in future. I once attended a service at Westville Baptist and enjoyed it very much.

Thembekile: Spiritually, I have come to know God, and make time to pray every morning when I wake up. I currently attend the Apostolic Church, but am thinking of going to Wesleyan Church.

Christina: I have learnt to pray and worship God. I currently attend the Dutch Reformed Church, but am still looking for a ‘home’ church.

Jabulile: I was in a bad a space, but started coming to church and have come to know God. I now feel that I have a reason to get up in the morning. I attend Nazareth Church.

 

Going forward, what are your plans for the future, and what assistance do you need?

Florence: To improve my business, I need to find the right space/location to set up a stand to sell my products. I have a daughter who also knows how to sew, and can assist with networking. I am planning to make traditional skirts, baby wraps, and more crocheted items. I also know a relative who can stitch.

Thembekile: Going forward, I would like to gain more skills in sewing, and get the necessary equipment and capital to start my business. I don’t have any family support. At the moment, I do manicures and sells hair pieces for income.

Christina: I am passionate about sewing and have gained business skills, which I am looking forward to putting into practice. For my business I will need a new overlock machine to make a better quality product with other designs to attract more customers. I feel that I have the skills, but just need the starting capital. My daughter has learnt to how to stitch, so we can work together.

Jabulile: I want to open a Spaza shop and sell fast foods. I will need the equipment, such as plates, a stove and starting capital. I know how to prepare food. One of my daughters attended a culinary school and has learnt how to cook pastry. I see it as a good opportunity to work with my daughter.

If you would like to mentor any of these ladies or learn more about CAST’s Local Economic Development programme, please contact Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or 031 266 8830