0

Bouncing Back: Local Economic Development – Shakila’s Story

We are blessed to share the story of one of our Local Economic Development entrepreneurs from Phoenix, Shakila Akoon, owner of “Bouncin’ Babies” linen wear and graduate of the Paradigm Shift Business Advanced Course faciliated by our dedicated team of volunteers!

She will be showcasing her products at our very first flea market tomorrow at the Westville Civic Centre. Come through and show your support!

0

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

0

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

0

[MOVE BEYOND CHARITY] CAST Newsletter Vol.2 April/May 2020

Greetings, CAST Community!

Today we bring your our second quarterly newsletter for 2020:

 

Click here to download the pdf: CAST Newsletter Vol.2 APRIL_MAY_2020.

Watch this space for more about our ministry highlights and upcoming events.

Feel free to share with all who are interested in the movement beyond charity!

0

Making it Work: LED during lockdown

Since the enforcement of the national lockdown on 27 March to stem the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa, CAST faced the challenge of suspending programmes normally held in group settings at the 13 communities in which we operate.

Our Local Economic Development programme seeks to teach business skills and introduce new opportunities to those already running small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Over a period of 9 – 18 weeks, the entrepreneurs take part in the Paradigm Shift Business Experience and Business Growth courses facilitated by volunteers and mentors. This curriculum aims to not only educate, but spiritually uplift as the content takes its lead from Holy Scripture.

With this programme suspended, CAST was determined to explore different ways of staying connected with our participants, so as to not lose the tremendous progress they have achieved. Through WhatsApp groups set up for each community of entrepreneurs, we have been able to conduct weekly business forums accessible to all who are interested, creating the space to share ideas, opportunities and prayer requests.

While many are facing severe economic challenges with a sudden loss of income due to enforced business closure and limitations on part-time work, Shakira from Phoenix in Durban is one such entrepreneur who has been motivated by the programme and identified the opportunity to produce cloth face masks, an essential item of personal protective equipment during this time.

The business forum WhatsApp group has been a great idea as we can’t attend our weekly classes. And having this group, we are able to communicate with each other. Janet has been a great help and God-send as she has dedicated her time to helping and assisting us through this lockdown period. Janet has assisted us in continuing with our studies via this means of communication and help us with our business plans/profile. She is passionate and helpful and is always willing to assist where she can. We get to share our weekly experiences with the group and find new ways or ideas on how to use this lockdown time to valuable use.

I have completed my business profile and with the help of Janet, I have to adjust and make a few changes. I am hoping this will improve and grow my business. The lockdown had not been good financially for my business as I have no income due to people being quarantined, but I do believe God has a bigger plan for me. We get to send our prayer requests weekly and Janet prays for our needs. I am truly blessed to be part of this incredible family.

Above: cloth face masks produced by Shakira

Below is more feedback received from other members of the WhatsApp Business Forums:

My business is not registered yet, I sell different things to people, but what I can say is, whenever we converse in our WhatsApp group I learn more about business. My very next step after lockdown is to register my business. Before CAST, I had studied business economics and economics at school and have had a learnership that I’m still busy with, it’s also about managing businesses or organisations. But the magic is only happening now.

The networking conference that was organised by CAST earlier this year, the WhatsApp group, the way CAST doesn’t let go of us, it nurtures me. I never thought that after we have graduated, we will still have a relationship with CAST. Every time I’m with my entrepreneurs’ group, it’s just a confirmation that I was meant to be in business. There was a time when I wanted to quit because I was learning common stuff during the class, but I’m glad I didn’t quit because CAST presents business from a different angle. It’s moving us beyond charity, as the CAST slogan says😃

– Surprise, Lamontville

 

The WhatsApp group business forum has been very helpful in a sense that there is a lot of information shared about how people in business can get help from the government. Also information about how people can get a social grant if they are not employed. It’s like a community where we can share our feelings about the lockdown and it’s also a platform where we receive information.

– Noxolo, Mariannridge

 

The WhatsApp group business forum is doing well. It’s making things easier for us to share business ideas and everything relating to business and CAST community. This platform is really amazing as we lift each other through this business journey with business profiles/business registration, business plans and other ideas.

I would like to thank Janet Okoye and Khetho Morgan Mdluli.

God bless you guys and we are very happy to be part of this platform.

THANK YOU CAST, you are transforming our lives 

Stay indoors healthy and safe.

– Thobani, Lamontville

 

If you are interested in mentoring our entrepreneurs or would like to get involved in the Business Forum WhatsApp groups contact head of CAST’s Local Economic Development programme Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or 083 990 2090.

0

God in the Business: Slindile’s Story

                                                          

37-year-old businesswoman from Skhawini in Northern KZN, Slindile Gwala, shares her story of how CAST’s Local Economic Development programme has helped her develop her baking business and strengthen her relationship with God. 

‘’Before I joined CAST last year, I was not doing anything. I was not baking cakes, I was not making any hats, no flower arranging. I didn’t have a qualification for skills. Basically, I did electrical training from level 1-4. I stayed home and applied for jobs but, no luck.

Then, I went back to study Education for 4 years. Still, I was unemployed until CAST came to our church, Esikhawini Baptist Church and introduced one of their 4 main programmes which is Local Economic Development. Mama Janet explained why it is important to start your own business. The reason why I joined the programme is because I also did know how and where to start a business, how to select your customers, how to collect my money from debtors, but she said something that touched my heart, ‘’we are afraid of what we don’t know.’’  She was right. “I can do something instead of waiting for being employed, especially since our country is faced with a high rate of unemployment and time is against me.

Now, I am working with another company. They sent me their product so I can also sell it this side, then I get paid as well and now I don’t have to wait and depend on my husband to give me money. I can provide for myself.

Even though I was a Christian before CAST, during the training they also taught us about the importance of God in your business. Everything starts from God. During our training sessions, we stop and make time for worship as if we were at our Sunday service.

What I like more about this programme is that it does not exclude those who are not Christian, but everyone is welcome. I would like to recruit more people who are non-Christian to be part of the programme. Now I have joined another CAST programme which is Education & Child Development. I always love to work with kids and this programme has taught me something I didn’t know, like sounds -how to pronounce words to the younger children. So, we will be helping young children with reading and writing. I am looking forward to helping our future leaders.

What I would like CAST to also do is introduce their Youth Development programme to support youth who feel rejected by their community because of their past behaviour , as well as for the older generation to be more understanding of current issues facing the youth. Going forward, my dream is to grow my business and become a supplier of baking goods to big stores.’’ To help make this possible for Slindile and many other entrepreneurs in our communities, contact CAST Head of Local Economic Development, Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or call (031) 266 8830.

0

God Bless our Volunteers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We are truly blessed to have volunteers in our Early Literacy programme who have given so generously of their time and love to the learners in our communities this year.

Your excellence drives our success and makes an invaluable difference in those young lives. What a beautiful picture of people from all walks of life coming together for God’s purpose!

#movebeyondcharity #jointhemovement

0

Isipho Sembewu: Celebrating a Decade of Growth

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This year marks 10 years of CAST Ministry and 46 years since our first church partnership was established in 1973 with Noodsberg Baptist Church.

A big THANK YOU to those who joined in the festivities of our 10 Year celebration, and to ALL in our CAST community for your continued support.

The theme of our celebration, “Isipho Sembewu”, means “the gift of the seed” in isiZulu. Let us pray for many more years of growth and transformation of the seed so faithfully planted all those years ago.

 

0

A Light on the Path: Lynette Pather’s story

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lynette Pather is an experienced youth leader in the community of Phoenix in Durban, South Africa and has dedicated herself to helping the children and youth in her area through CAST’s Reading Intervention Programme for Grade 3s, and Life Skills Resilience Programme for Grade 7s.

She first joined CAST as a volunteer in 2017 when a pastor from Cornerstone Community Church went door-to-door around the neighbourhood to speak to youth and Sunday School teachers about the programmes that CAST was planning to implement in partnership with the Church.

Lynette then attended the training to become a facilitator for the programmes which she now volunteers for 3 times a week and is always willing to assist CAST when needed.

The reading intervention programme is aimed at helping children who did not receive adequate assistance at foundation phase to improve their skills in reading and comprehension at the appropriate level. Lynette assists a group of 10 learners and describes this as a trouble-free class.

The Resilience classes, however, pose more of a challenge for the facilitators. Lynette describes the Grade 7 learners, aged 12 – 13, as going through a transition phase into their teenage years, and find themselves unsure of how to deal with uncomfortable feelings and emotions when certain topics are raised. Some even become defensive and disruptive or begin making jokes to detract from serious subjects.

With an average of 40 children per class, it is not easy to manage. The facilitators, fortunately, have the support of the school but avoid disciplining the children, and instead, try to adopt a “love of Christ” approach towards unruly learners. Lynette believes the root of this behaviour is due to the prevalence of single-parent households or those with absent parents in the community and has seen how children as young as those she teaches are forced to take on the responsibility of parenting their younger siblings. Many of these single-parent households do not receive support due to the shame and stigma of being a ‘broken’ family. “We have to give honour to [single parents] instead of looking down on them,” she says.

Since the programme was implemented, Lynette has noticed a positive difference in the behaviour of learners that participated last year who now push themselves to attain good school marks in order to qualify for university. “They are more self-motivated, centred, and know that only they can make the decision to get out of the cycle of poverty,” she says.

Although the programme does not allow for the facilitators to share Christian teachings, as the learners of the school are religiously-diverse, they still offer encouragement and support to equip the learners with information to pursue further studies at tertiary level. Her dream for the children in the community is for them to “see the bigger picture.”

Lynette, herself, comes from a strong Christian family who founded and pastor Fountain of Hope Christian Centre in Phoenix. As a qualified Christian Counsellor with a diploma from the Logos Bible School, her many years of experience in youth ministry has grown her passion for serving the younger generation. Her advice to other leaders of young people is to “never give up until that person can see what God has for them, especially if you see a child with potential. Take that child’s dream, put it into your spirit, pray, and make it a reality.”

“I want to help the youth see the world differently,” she says. “There are so many opportunities. The world is for you.”

If you are keen to support these programmes or commit to tutoring and mentoring young people in our communities, contact CAST at info@cast.org.za or call (+27)31 266 8830.

0

Triumphant in Christ: Tryphina Mhlanzi’s Story

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.