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Getting Down to Business: Lebohang’s Story

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At just twenty-years-old, Lebohang Gaula is already a thriving businessman. It all began in August last year, when he spotted a CAST flyer at a local shop in KwaDabeka and jumped at the opportunity to join the business programme.

Over the course of 3 months, he successfully completed the Business Experience Course and Business Growth Course. Using what he learnt, he set about starting his own business.

Like many of the youth in his community, he faced challenges in his home life that made him vulnerable to a life of crime and alcohol abuse. But Lebohang was determined not to go down this path. Straight out of school, he tried making money through selling CDs and taking piece jobs, but this did not offer any stability.

Through the programme, he learnt how to put together a business plan, bookkeeping, and marketing. “If you want to be a businessman,” he says, “you must think like one. You must find solutions.”

Lebohang saw a gap in the market for a cleaning company and again, grabbed the opportunity to learn chemical manufacturing through an advertisement in the newspaper. He used the little money he had to pay for the course and was soon mixing his own cleaning products, and registered his brand, “Gaula Cleaning Products.”

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Lebohang currently runs the business from his home in KwaDabeka. He is steadily working towards opening an office in Pinetown and plans to expand his business into a full cleaning service for residential, commercial, as well as public premises.

Lebohang is grateful for his time in the business programme saying, “CAST taught me how to have courage and be a go-getter.” He also feels that, through the spiritual nurturing of his mentors, he now has a closer relationship with God.

When asked about his long-term goal, Lebohang says: “I want to change my community. I want to help them become better people, especially the youth.”

Mentoring entrepreneurs in our communities like Lebohang can make a world of difference in shaping their future success. To get involved, contact Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or (031) 266 8830.

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boy2Man: Ayanda’s story

The CAST Annual Boys2Men Camp is one of the highlights of our year where we get to spend uninterrupted time with the young men in our communities and address the desperate need for guidance, advice, affirmation, and create a way for these boys to discover their identity. 

Below is the story of one of these boys whose life has been greatly impacted through this camp, as well as the ongoing support of mentors and volunteers:

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Twenty-two year old Ayanda from KwaDabeka has come a long way since joining CAST’s Sport & Youth Development programme six years ago. His quiet demeanor and lack of confidence told of his unhappiness at school, where the teachers seemingly lacked the capacity to give learners like Ayanda individual assistance.

This changed when he started receiving after-school tutoring in Mathematics and Physical Science facilitated by CAST, which enabled him to start passing Maths and Accounting after having failed his first term of Matric. This was a turning point in Ayanda’s life, which sparked his motivation to study further.

Ayanda was also a member of CAST’s basketball team, THE CLAN, based at KwaDabeka Baptist Church. He had the opportunity to attend the annual boys2Men Camp where he gained a strong sense of discipline and self-efficacy, so much so, that in his first year of studying at the University of Zululand, others often mistake him for a 3rd or 4th year student.

Ayanda received a bursary to study Logistics Management and, through the generous outreach of a Westville Baptist Church member, has been offered a placement to complete his in-service training this year. Once qualified, Ayanda would like to work in Durban or Richard’s Bay, and pursue his dream of running his own Logistics Company to create employment opportunities for others.

As an ‘old boy’ of the CAST Sport & Youth Development programme, Ayanda is also keen to give back to his community in tutoring and mentoring of younger boys involved in the programme. Although his path has not been easy, Ayanda continues to pray each day and embraces learning new skills and applying what he has been taught throughout his years with CAST.

To learn more about how you can get involved in mentoring our youth in the communities, contact George at: george@cast.org.za or (031)266 8830. If you would like to sponsor boys to attend camp at R350,00 each, banking details are as follows:

CAST Trust

First National Bank

Branch code: 250655

Acc no: 62762010248

Ref: “Boys Camp”

 

 

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Diversity in Prayer

September is Heritage Month in South Africa, and to celebrate the diversity of culture in our community, we would like to share the following prayer requests in the different languages we speak at CAST:

 

Swahili 

Maombi ya kuwasilisha maombi kwa hatua mbili za usajili wa CAST Kenya zilizowasilishwa na Joe jana. Prayer for submission of applications for stage two of CAST Kenya registration submitted by Joe yesterday

Ombeni kwa kambi ya wavulana: Pray for the boys’ camp– Viongozi kutumikia kutoka mahali pa kufurika. Leaders to serve from a place of overflow
– Sote tukutana na Mungu kwa njia ya kibinafsi. All of us to encounter God in a personal way
– Kuwa na mwanga katika jamii zetu tunaporudi. Be a light in our communities when we come back
– Ili kubadilishwa kuwa maisha mapya. To be transformed
– Pata furaha katika uhusiano wetu na Mungu. Find joy in our relationship with God
– Kuwa na sala zaidi na kuamini nguvu za sala. To become more prayerful and believe in the power of prayer
– Kuwa na ujasiri wa kuzungumza bila hofu ya maoni ya wengine au hukumu. Become confident to speak without fear of others’ perception or judgement
– Ili kufungua na kuwa na nia ya kushiriki. To open up and be willing to share
– Usiogope kuhukumiwa. Simama kwa kweli. To not be afraid of being judged. Stand for the truth
– Kuwa huru katika Kristo. Be free in Christ

 

Sesotho

Rapella mananeo a Westville. Pray for the Westville Programmes

 

isiXhosa

Nceda uthandazele ukuqeqeshwa kobulungiseleli kubantwana okwenzeka ngomhla we-20 kuSeptemba kunye nokuqaliswa kweeWordworks kunye neBala lokuFunda nokuBhala eMntla.

Please pray for the children’s ministry training taking place in 20 September and for the launch of Wordworks and Adult Literacy in the North

 

Afrikaans

Bid vir Nikki as sy haar studies voltooi. Pray for Nikki as she completes her studies this month

 

Please continue to keep the CAST team, volunteers, and all those whom we serve in your prayers as we work together to transform our communities and extend the Kingdom of God. If you would like to get involved and join the movement, contact us at: info@cast.org.za or +27 31 2668830.

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Shooting for the Stars: Bryan’s Story

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On his way home from school one day, 14-year-old Samkelo Bryan Cele, learnt something that would change his life. Being tall in stature, a friend invited him to join the CAST Basketball team that trained at KwaDabeka Baptist church. Without any former knowledge of the sport, or the right kit, Bryan went to check it out.

At first, it was tough. The other boys had skills and experience that far outweighed young Bryan playing in a pair of construction boots. Growing up as the eldest son in a family of seven with a single parent, Bryan faced scrutiny for investing so much of his time into basketball, especially since soccer was the more popular sport in his community. With the added sorrow of his grandfather’s passing, he stopped playing for a year.

Despite not being a part of the team, CAST had become a “home away from home” for Bryan – a safe space away from the dangers of peer pressure where he learnt about brotherhood, and what it meant to have a personal relationship with God in daily life as the boys would pray before and after each training session.

He started playing again in grade 9, this time, with a strong determination to improve his skills. As part of CAST’s focus on youth development, our mentoring programme seeks to break the cycle of fatherlessness in the communities by connecting young people with role models. Our goal is not that mentors would solve all their mentees’ problems, but rather that mentors would empower their mentees to solve their own problems. From equipping Bryan with his very first pair of trainers to sponsoring a trip to attend a basketball camp in Serbia, Bryan was blessed to have the mentorship of Mike Cox, a member of Westville Baptist Church, who whole-heartedly invested in Bryan’s future.

As the years went by, Bryan steadily got better and better. His talent drew the attention of selectors at regional tournaments, and he was subsequently offered a scholarship to attend Durban High School. His vision broadened as he began to see the many doors that had opened for him to opportunities that someone from ‘the hood’ would not ordinarily have access to.  One such opportunity was being selected to attend the aforementioned basketball training camp in Serbia, as well as in the USA where Bryan was awarded the title of ‘Most Valuable Player’.

Bryan is now in his second year at The University of Oklahoma, USA where he was awarded a scholarship to play basketball and is academically pursuing a degree in Business Law. Once qualified, his dream is to use his entrepreneurial skills to build a support structure for those from a similar background with limited opportunities. “Basketball was my out,” he says.

“I know I’m not the only one who can do it. They need God, hope and motivation.”

Bryan is deeply grateful for the generosity of donors and the support of CAST mentors and coaches, through which, God has worked to transform Bryan’s life. His advice to those who aspire to achieve the same goal is simple: “Believe. Work. And pray.”

If you would like to help make this dream a reality for more youth in our communities, contact George on 031 266 8830 or email george@cast.org.za.

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Stronger Every Day: Octavia’s Story

Last year, 48-year-old Octavia Mvundla’s life changed when she was diagnosed with Diabetes after attending CAST’s first round of health screenings in KwaDabeka during October. These were conducted to raise awareness about the disease among people in the communities. At the time of testing, her blood sugar level was dangerously high at 28 mmol/L, way above the healthy range of 4 – 9mmol/L. 

This finally explained her chronic lethargy, blurry vision and drastic 15kg weight loss over the past few years for which she had been merely self-medicating with painkillers.

Since then, her blood sugar levels have gradually dropped to a healthy level of 4,7mmol/L. Her struggle now is having to eat regularly to maintain this. Because of her lack of finances, the family would normally have one meal in the morning to last for the day, only to eat again at suppertime. Octavia is currently receiving a monthly food parcel, which has helped to supplement her diet.

To alleviate her family’s financial struggle, Octavia is generating some income through selling clothing donated to CAST, and has since opened a Savings Account to bank her profit. Though not enough to support the family, this little bit of extra income has enabled her to join the Savings Club facilitated by CAST as part of our Local Economic Development programme.

When asked about her hopes for the future, Octavia simply wants to “ask God for more energy, focus and strength in Him to fulfil [her] dreams.” With the right training and equipment, Octavia is keen to learn how to do needlework. If you are able to assist, please contact the CAST Head of Relief Services, Sandy Reid, on +27 31 266 8830 or e-mail: sandy@cast.org.za.

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Empowering Women: Sidudla’s Story

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16: 7-13

The story of Hagar is one that hits home for many of the women that we serve in our communities.

In August last year, sixty-six year old Sidudla Simelane joined CAST when a concerned neighbour told her that it was where she could seek help out of her dire situation. She has lost both her children, one due to illness, the other tragically killed. Neither of their fathers present in their lives.

Sidudla, herself, suffered the loss of her parents at an early age and was raised by an abusive aunt who passed away when Sidudla was 16. Her only surviving family, a cousin in Hammarsdale, did not want to help her.

From this point, Sidudla had no choice but to support herself by working on plantations, ploughing. She was paid R250 ($18,80) per month until the owner of the plantation hired her as a domestic worker where she remained for 32 years.

For decades, Sidudla felt great anger and resentment toward her family, particularly her aunt and cousin. Looking back, she now realizes that it was they who were in the dark. “The earth is rotating,” she says. “You never know what will happen.”

Joining the CAST support group at West City Fellowship has given her hope; she has gained valuable skills in handwork, and looks forward to this time of bonding with the other ladies who attend, many of whom look up to her as a role model and servant of God.

“I used to sometimes think that there was no God,” she says. “CAST healed me.”

While this story is one that speaks of hope and healing, we cannot ignore the devastating reality that many women in this country face – a life of abandonment and abuse that can only be overcome through the support of those who recognize the overwhelming need to empower the women in our lives.

 

Questions to ponder:

  1. What does it mean to you to be an “empowered woman” in today’s world?
  2. What does it mean to you to be an “empowered woman” in Christianity? – is there a difference in your response?  
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Manicures & Mentoring: Celebrating Women’s Month at CAST

Manicures & Mentoring: Celebrating Women’s Month at CAST

By Rolan Gulston & Laura Mbugua-Mwaura

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During Women’s Month, CAST partnered with two community churches, West City Fellowship & Cornerstone Community Church, to celebrate the beauty, strength and resilience of women.

In celebration of Women’s month, the ladies of West City Fellowship (WCF) hosted a Women’s Day Pampering Event for CAST’s food parcel recipients in Chesterville.  Recently, CAST had the chance to hear back from Vani Perumal, Vishani Pillay and the other WCF volunteers about their experience:

Q: What inspired WCF to organise the Women’s Day Event?

A: Sandy Reid [CAST Relief Services HOD] suggested it and WCF members were only too willing to oblige.  It was a pleasure to serve the humble women of Chesterville.

Q: How did the ladies respond to being pampered?

A: The highlight for them that morning was being pampered with back massages and manicures. Some of the women were in tears having said, “Never in my life has anyone ever done this for me, no one has ever massaged my hand before.” These were women in their 60s.  From the sharing of God’s Word, the dynamic time we had in praise and worship, to being served tea with delicious cakes and savouries, the women of Chesterville were in their absolute element.

Q: What did the WCF volunteers enjoy most or learn from serving the ladies?  

A: It was a humbling and enjoyable morning.  The ladies absolutely loved the pampering and the food that was provided and we all had a great time.

 

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Earlier in the month, CAST also partnered with Cornerstone Community Church (CCC) to host a Mother & Daughter Mentoring Conference in Phoenix.  140 women attended the conference to learn more about developing and restoring relationships with other women, as well as developing strong decision-making skills and conflict resolution with their families.

Sharm Moses of CCC explained, “There seems to be a decline in mother and daughter relationships in our community [Phoenix]. Daughters need guidance in their decision-making and mothers need mentoring on developing their parenting skills. Foundation is paramount for us to build a thriving community.”

CAST is thankful for these opportunities to partner with local churches to celebrate and empower women in our communities, not just for Women’s Month, but for each day where women are faced with challenges that continue to hinder the realization of gender equality.