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Sinikithemba

 

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At CAST’s Community Empowerment Centre in Chesterville, Nomakaya Mpambaniso (CAST’s Chesterville Community Co-ordinator) leads a counselling support group for those in the community.  Every week the group comes together for support, sewing and knitting projects, as well as fun games and activities.  Most of the group members receive food parcels from CAST, which helps to supplement their diet.  This past week Sinikithemba celebrated Youth Day by having group members dress up in school uniforms and playing school games to encourage staying active.

Below is the story of how the Sinikithemba Support Group has impacted the life of a group member, in her own words:

My name is Lindiwe Dlamini. I love God, and am very much appreciative to God for sacrificing his only Son Jesus Christ, and I am also in love with my community and my people.

I heard about the Sinikithemba Support Group (meaning ‘we bring hope’) and CAST, and volunteered there. This is where I met Mam’Glad, Carol, Lizzie, Mam’Njazi, Makhosi, with social workers and others – good people I met.

When I met these people on this particular day I was happy, excited and blessed to meet them. I listened attentively that everything they spoke about had Christian values and principles; they spoke about helping needy people in the community, respect, giving faith to the faithless and also assisting the needy with food parcels.

I was led by a Bible verse from Psalms 23 that says, “The Lord is Shepherd I shall not want.”

So I thought about the initiatives that were spoken about in the meeting and I had faith again and went out to the community to tell people of CAST and the Sinikithemba Support Group. More people were interested so Mam’Glad spoke to social worker that assisted a lot in the community.

People that are assisted in this community have hope, faith, respect and love. CAST has also led them closer to Christ.

We also assist people with counselling and refer them to the clinic, as well as helping the disabled and cleaning their homes if there is no one to help.

We thank you for the help and assistance, as well as the education and training, and the love we receive.

With this programme, you get all the assistance you need, even the ones who are on chronic medication have something nutritious to eat prior to taking treatment/medication.

We even visit schools to find out what problems they are facing and see where we can help as a group through the assistance of CAST.

In conclusion, we ask that CAST continue supporting communities like us because it makes a difference in the community and people gain hope, faith, and start living again and themselves go out to help others. We thank you for the great work and we love you guys.

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Zama

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For the past two years, CAST has been blessed with a team of social work students from UNISA and UKZN who do their practical placements with our organisation.  Last year, one of those students from UNISA, Zama Meyiwa, was placed at Addington Primary School with the Bright Site Project.  Now as a qualified social worker, Zama has joined the team of CAST interns for 2016.

“I want to put into practice what I’ve learned as a social worker and go into the community with an open mind.”

This year Zama will be primarily working with the Relief Services and Counselling Departments, while also assisting in other departments.  Her skills as a qualified social worker make her a valuable member of the CAST team!

Known as a serious person, Zama is a bit of a workaholic and likes to get stuff done.  However her passion for social inclusion is very evident.  Growing up in the rural community of Umbumbulu, Zama was motivated to pursue a career in which she could make a difference in the community and help others.

“Social work is mostly about development – not to just be there and do nothing, but to understand the people.  If you help a single person in the community, they will go out and help others.  Then the project will sustain itself.”

CAST relies on our amazing team of interns to accomplish much of the work the Lord has called us to do.  Our interns are supported by donors who believe in their calling and want to support CAST’s mission to mobilise the local church to reach out with practical compassion to empower, transform and redeem communities.  If you are interested in supporting Zama this year, you can either give directly through EFT (details below) or contact Charmaine Moses at: charmaine@cast.org.za

Nedbank, Branch: Westville Mall/138026

Account: CAST Trust, No: 101 7717 672

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“My Testimony”

This is a testimony from one of the participants involved in CAST’s Chesterville Counselling Support Group.  Names have been changed for the sake of confidentiality.

I greet everybody in the name of Jesus!  My name is Miss Lucy Nkosi and I’m a new creation, a child of God, who is residing here in Chesterville!

Firstly I would like to tell everyone that I am HIV positive and my CD4 count was very low.  When I first met this group called ‘CAST’ I met a new family and friends who gave me love and support and told me to be strong.  They told me that I can live with HIV just as long as I keep on taking my medication and not to default as I was a defaulter because of hunger.  How was I going to take my tablets without anything in my stomach?

I ended up taking drugs because of stress, thinking I was going to be better.  Lately I discovered that drugs was a cause of big stress.  I ended up fighting with my boyfriend thinking he doesn’t love me anymore because he also swore at me with those words that “I’m HIV positive” and “I’m the one who came with this disease!”

But for God’s sake He let me join this club.  In this group I’ve learned so much as I said before.  I’m not using drugs anymore.  I’m always collecting food parcels.  I’m taking my medication on time.

I’ve got a garden of vegetables and I’m eating fresh veggies.  Through this group I learned to plant.

I’m also thanking my God for helping me meet other people.  With Jesus they gave me real love – they supported me in everything.

Today my CD4 is saying my viral load is ‘not detectable’.

I wish God may bless them and everyone who is under this roof – may God bless you!

  • I’m a new creation
  • Jesus is my Saviour day by day
  • I will never turn back anymore
  • He’s my Shepherd, my strength
  • He’s taking me from glory to glory

I believe that… He’s my everything.  Amen!

Thank you very much CAST.  I love you guys!

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Holistic Care in KwaDabeka

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Dedicated, committed, calm, introspective, approachable, humble: these are the words that best describe Samke, CAST’s Social Worker in KwaDabeka. Samke has been with CAST for two years, faithfully serving her community through multiple ways. One of Samke’s primary tasks is to provide counseling for individuals in her community.

Many of the families we encounter in CAST communities are living in chronic crisis where they have encountered continued crisis or in many cases are coping with multiple crises at the same time. Through our partnerships with local churches, CAST seeks to provide services to reach out to these families in order to empower them to overcome their crises and reach a place of hope.

We have established centres in all our communities to provide a space for these physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs to be met. CAST’s Social Workers, such as Samke, provide counselling services dealing with poverty, grief, depression, HIV, TB, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, drugs and alcohol and behavioural problems.

In the past Samke had counseled and worked out of a small container on the property of KwaDabeka Baptist Church. While there were plenty of CAST staff and social worker students to do the work in KwaDabeka, there was not enough room to accommodate the needs of clients. At times, the container was so crowded with clients that some had to stand while waiting for services. Additionally, during the summer the container was hot and stuffy, making counseling sessions very uncomfortable.

Old KwaDabeka container in front, new Community Centre in background

Old KwaDabeka container in front, new Community Centre in background

New CAST Community Centre being moved onto the property

New CAST Community Centre being moved onto the property

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New KwaDabeka Community Centre

As a result, last week CAST replaced the old KwaDabeka Community Centre container with a larger, more spacious mobile home trailer. This new Community Centre has two separate counseling rooms and a large open space which will be used for food parcel Sundays, group work such as support groups and workshops, training, and meetings. The KwaDabeka Centre is also equipped with air conditioning so that clients can be counseled in comfort.

During the past week, Samke has had many community members come up to her and ask about what CAST does in the new Community Centre. In Samke’s words, “This has put the Community Centre in the spotlight. We want to provide a quality service. We don’t want to make people wait for services like in a government building.”

Thanks to the new Centre, Samke and other social workers will be able to provide counseling services more effectively, accommodating more people in a space that creates dignity for clients.

Samke busy at Body and Soul!

Samke busy at Body and Soul!

However, Samke’s work in KwaDabeka is not limited to counseling. A few months ago, Samke helped to launch a fitness programme for women called Body and Soul in KwaDabeka. Fifteen women from her community meet weekly to not only exercise, but also to pursue holistic wellness in every area of their lives, including their relationship with Jesus. Body and Soul’s tagline is “where faith and fitness meet”.

The purpose of CAST’s Community Centres is to provide centres of care and support in the heart of communities, that offer help and advice to people in need, moving them from helplessness to confidence. Whether it is counselling or exercise, Samke is passionate about meeting the holistic needs of her community, and helping individuals from KwaDabeka reach a place of hope.  If you are interested in providing furnishings for the new KwaDabeka Community Centre or getting involved with Body and Soul in KwaDabeka, please contact Murry, CAST’s Volunteer Coordinator, at: murry@cast.org.za