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Faith like [Sweet] Potatoes: Philisiwe Sithole’s Story

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Married mother of two, Philisiwe Sithole, has big dreams for her gardening and recycling project at her home in Chesterville. “God gave me a passion for growing my own food,” she says.

She and her family moved from Sherwood to Chesterville two years ago. Though challenged by limited space at her previous home, she explored container gardening using 2-litre plastic bottles and ‘grow bags’ to grow spinach and chillies.

Now, Philisiwe makes use of cardboard materials such as toilet rolls and egg trays for compost in her outdoor garden. Philisiwe is determined to grow her produce organically, with no chemicals.

Not long ago, she harvested a large mielie (corn) plantation and grew many other crops which helped to sustain her family and share with neighbours. Philisiwe laments that she did not have the knowledge or resources to sustain that level of growth. Her yard now sits bare and weed-infested, save for the recently planted patch of sweet potatoes.

“People don’t believe that you can do gardening here. They think you can only do it on a farm. I see the possibilities of gardening here.”

Philisiwe spotted the potential of a section of vacant land close to her backyard where community members were dumping waste. She has since applied for and been granted permission by the Local Councillor to use it for a vegetable garden, which she has now cleared up and used to plant butter beans. Philisiwe plans to grow chillies, garlic and green peppers as there are no other vendors selling those nearby, which would make her a sole supplier for the high demand of these agricultural products.

Philisiwe works with an elderly woman in her community, Mam Mavis. In October 2018, she entered a traditional food competition run by the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development using the vegetables from her garden and took first place, winning cooking appliances.

Personally, Philisiwe’s family receives an income through a government grant for child support, piece jobs that her husband does, as well as money from renting out their home in Sherwood.

Since moving to Chesterville, she joined West City Fellowship, CAST’s partner church in the area, and first heard about CAST when they announced the Business Course. Philisiwe also currently volunteers as a tutor in the Word Works Early Literacy programme facilitated by CAST at HP Ngwenya Primary School.

She has completed the second module of the Paradigm Shift Business Growth Course where she has learnt more about marketing and the importance of knowing God as you are running your business.

For Philisiwe and her family, West City Fellowship has been the first church where she feels their personal and spiritual needs are met holistically. Having a relationship with the church leaders has given her a safe space to share her experiences, personal problems and feel supported. She reflects on the improvement in her personal life, as well as in her children.

In order to start up and develop her business, Philisiwe needs a business plan and mentorship in gardening to ensure sustainability and consistency and looks forward to getting in touch with those who have the skills to teach her more about gardening.

This year, Philisiwe hopes to attend “Farming God’s Way”, a 7-day in-field mentoring course taking place in October aimed at teaching practical skills in agriculture in poor communities. The cost of the course is R2500, which includes meals and accommodation.

If you are keen to contribute to the cost of Philisiwe’s training or share expertise in agriculture and business, contact CAST on (031) 266 8830 or e-mail head of Local Economic Development, Janet Okoye, at: janet@cast.org.za

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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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Too Much Power in Chibini

When you ask Baba Khumalo about how he likes his new bakkie, the first thing he says is, “Too much power!”

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Baba Khumalo and his wife pastor a church in the rural community of Chibini.  CAST partners with this church to help run its thriving children’s ministry.  During the past two years CAST has partnered with Chibini Baptist to run holiday clubs, which has brought tremendous and sustained growth to the Sunday School Programme. The Sunday School has become so popular that kids from other surrounding communities want to come and join. However the distance and rough dirt roads prevented the children from coming.

That all changed when a generous donor provided a bakkie to the Khumalos. Now Baba Khumalo is able to pick up an extra 15 children every Sunday from the surrounding communities.  The Khumalos now average 85 children for Sunday School, an impressive number considering the small size of the community.

The bakkie also enables the Khumalos to do home visits and outreach in the community, making connections with the families of children who attend Sunday School.

A vital part of the their ministry is providing a meal for the children every Sunday from their garden.  Having access to the bakkie has allowed the Khumalos to sell their produce to local tuck shops and make a bit of income in order to grow their garden and feed the growing amount of children in Sunday School.

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Another blessing for the Khumalos has been their bore hole. Earlier in the year the same donor provided for the bore hole to be dug. This water source has not only enabled the Khumalos to continue growing food for Sunday School during dry season, but has also benefitted the entire community during the recent drought.

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As we come to the end of 2015, CAST wants to thank our Saviour for the blessings He has provided our communities with this year, especially in Chibini.  God’s provision has not only transformed Chibini Baptist Church, but also the surrounding communities!  Please continue to pray for the Khumalos and the children and families involved with Sunday School as their ministry grows.

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Rural Happenings

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CAST’s Appelsbosch Community Empowerment Centre

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Pastor Dube and Coach Ostrich

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Appelsbosch

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Appelsbosch Baptist Church

A few weeks ago, we heard from Ostrich, CAST’s Sport & Youth Development Intern in Appelsbosch.  Since that last update, the outside painting of Appelsbosch Baptist Church has been finished, and the connecting CAST Community Centre Office has been completed as well.  Appelsbosch community members now have a formal place to go to access CAST services.

In regards to Youth Development in this community, Ostrich organised 38 children from Noodsberg Primary School for a development rugby team.  For the older guys, Ostrich has put together a district team for 23 players from Appelsbosch, Noodsberg, and Chibini.  They recently played in a local tournament and won.

During the school holidays, the Vikings Rugby Academy from Norwegian Settlers Church will be doing a coaching clinic for the rugby teams in Appelsbosch.

In our other rural communities, Noodsberg Baptist Church and Chibini Baptist Church will be hosting a Fun Run/Walk this weekend.  There will be a 5K Walk and Run, as well as 10K and 20K Runs.  Medals will be awarded for winners.

Make sure to check out our Facebook page to see photos from these exciting upcoming events at: http://facebook.com/CAST_ngo

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One Step Further.

IMG_7894{ Themba and his mentor, Denis de Chalain }

Themba Dlamini, one of the great success stories to emerge out of CAST’s business development programme, has taken his car-wash business to the next level.

With dreams of expansion, Themba set out with a mission to purchase a container for his business. This would allow him to have a spaza shop running alongside his carwash so that while customers were waiting, they could hang out, purchase food and drinks and socialise with one another.

Last weekend, the passionate entrepreneur held an Open Day to celebrate the new development in his business. Denis de Chalain, who is a business mentor to Themba, works for the Imana Foods Group and organised for them to run an Imana promotion in conjunction with the Open Day. They required a core group of people to cook their food samples on the day and this was done by several of CAST’s Business Forum volunteers. This partnership helped contribute to the days success and drew in bigger crowds who were curious to see what the hype was about ( and wanted to get some free Imana promotional products).

Despite the rainy weather, a significant amount of people turned up to support KwaDabeka’s favourite businessman and the atmosphere was full of celebratory joy for Themba.

The next step is to develop his Car Wash business further by adding a “shisanyama”, or a braai area to the mix. He is looking forward to future events where other companies will be partnering with him to market his business as well as their brands, so watch this space.

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Brighten Up Kwadabeka

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On Tuesday, the 24th September, 100 members of Westville Baptist Church along with 120 members of the Kwadabeka community, came together in a beautiful portrayal of Heritage Day.

An initiative powered by CAST- a social outreach non-profit- and Westville Baptist, “Brighten up Kwadabeka” was a day aimed at painting, fixing, cleaning and repairing Sithokozile Secondary School, handing out food parcels and making home visits to the food parcel recipients of the community, and running a children’s programme for the young ones at Kwadabeka Baptist Church.

The day ran from 8am until 12pm and ended off with a massive community braai, in celebration of South Africa’s National Braai Day. In every classroom, a group of people could be found hard at work, covered in paint, and out on the field there were people sanding down pillars, replacing gutters, hosing down the roof and cleaning up litter.

The partnership with Sithokozile Secondary School and Westville Baptist began 1994 when the church opened a soup kitchen for needy pupils. Since then, Sithokozile became the first township school in KZN to receive a new soccer pitch, made from synthetic grass. This initiative, along with the opening of a counselling centre at the school, was organised by the Church Alliance for Social Transformation (CAST).

The relationship between CAST and the Kwadabeka community has developed over the years and now includes an ongoing and effective food parcel programme, a sports programme and a business development forum.

It was an honour and privilege to have had another opportunity to serve this community, and to see so many people of all colours and ages, come together.

 

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Move Beyond Charity

Many of you may have seen our new slogan floating around the social media realms and wondered what the inspiration behind it is.

“Move Beyond Charity” is our way of expressing what the core beliefs behind our organisation are.

We believe that extreme poverty can end, that mindsets can be changed, and that love is a necessity.

We believe that changing the world requires more than just a handout, more than just charity; it requires action…. it requires MOVEMENT.

Watch this video to learn more about how we are taking active steps to ending poverty, empowering communities and keeping Jesus at the centre of it all.

And feel free to join us.

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Hope of the World

IMG_0870Debbie and Ernie Calder, two of CAST’s devoted volunteers, had a story and message for everyone this week.

We feel moved to respond to the message Pastor John brought to the church under the heading “God in our Country”. John referred to Nehemiah returning to Jerusalem to build the city wall. This wall was important to the people. We also have walls to build in this country …and bridges.

Pastor John’s message also said “start representing and displaying God by being salt which preserves and light which shows His Kingdom in this world -by doing good.

John mentioned the issues of the day: poverty, hunger, disease etc and said “Ask God what He wants you to do. What has God laid on your heart? What is in your hand? Not doing it on our own but as a community and as THE Church.”

Noodsberg Baptist was built 30 years ago by WBC in the 1980’s. Pastor Ephraim is the original pastor, who still leads the church. Two other churches in the area have been planted by him, one in Applesbosch and one in Chibini. The lack of water in Noodsberg was a huge problem for this community. Even though the government had laid pipes, there was no pressure to push the water up to the church. A borehole was therefore considered and with the financial support of a visiting missionary, was finally installed. The ground was drilled, the pump and water tank were installed. The ground was ploughed and soil testing in the process of being done.

All was well.

Then came the news that the water had stopped and possibly dried up. We questioned God’s purpose when this happened but it wasn’t long before His plan was revealed.

Aqua Earth, the borehole company, was able to send a consultant to go and investigate. He discovered the pump had a problem and adjusted it so that the water could flow again. While there, he offered to provide a system to irrigate the land which he will install at his own cost.

So, what HAVE we got in our hands?

We, The Church, have land, water and fencing and we need to take it further.We need those who are willing and able to offer to help prepare and plant this land.As a church we can pull together. It’s up to us to go forward.

What resources do you have? What has God given you? Get in touch with CAST and help us carry an eternal message of hope to others.

THE LOCAL CHURCH IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD

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Transforming A City.

“The Street Ministry can be challenging and even distressing at times but victories like Mary’s* make it all so worthwhile knowing that God is omnipresent in our endeavors and is busy changing lives for the better and giving His people hope and a future”.

When the team met Mary at The Nest shelter in Durban Central, she was in a bad way. Suffering from epilepsy and on constant medication, she came across very judgmental and self-centered. She had not heard from her siblings for years and her relationship with her father had deteriorated to the extent that they were not on speaking terms, something which made her quite bitter.

However, the team persevered with her, through regular visits and times of prayer –specifically around the issues she had with her family. When Mary’s phone was stolen about five months ago, the team gave her a replacement phone and SIM card which obviously meant that she had a new number. Mary was adamant that her family know her new number, so that they could get in touch with her in an emergency.

Fortunately, one of the volunteers on the team knew Mary’s family quite well, and made a plan for the phone number to be given to her brother-in-law. It wasn’t long before she received a phone call from her sister who subsequently took her out for lunch on her birthday. This was then followed by a call from her brother, and finally a phone call from her father.

These events had a transforming impact on Mary. As a result, she now speaks to her family regularly and is a happy and caring person. She recently attended a church in Durban with one of the team members and then went to a service on her own. She also befriended another lady in the shelter and has not only been praying for this woman but has helped her to obtain a much needed Government grant.

“Sceptics may say that the theft of her cell phone and the re-uniting of Mary with her family is all pure co-incidence but we firmly believe that it is God’s work and another example of how He can turn a bad experience into a blessing”.

Join the Street Ministry team on Tuesday nights and be a part of transforming our city. For more details, contact us online!

*not her real name

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The Love of a Child

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Imagine walking into a school and having the most beautiful children in Durban come running towards you and jumping into your arms even though they have never met you before in their life.

Well, that’s exactly what Addington Primary Holiday Club is like. Within mere minutes you will have one or two children adopting you for the week: wanting to play catches with you; giving you an endless supply of hugs; playing with your hair; sitting on your lap; and just generally giving you love.

But at the end of the day that is not the point of our holiday clubs, which we run annually during the June/July school holidays. The purpose of these holiday clubs is for kids- most of whom live in the poor and dangerous areas of the Durban Inner City- to have a safe place to come to during their holidays, to experience love and kindness that they may not get in their home environments, and to learn about God. Addington is one of the communities that CAST is associated with, which is why we choose to run a holiday club in that particular area.

This year our holiday club title was, “Mzansi- Where Friends Meet”, where the kids learnt what it means to be a friend and how they should choose their friends. We also had the opportunity of teaching them that Jesus wants to be their best friend and this saw many of the kids asking God into their hearts.

Something that was reiterated amongst the leaders during the week was the fact that we do not realise how something simple -like being a part of this holiday club for one week- may change the lives of these children for eternity.

Yes,  the running of the holiday club is tiring and requires a lot of energy and effort, but at the end of the week you leave that school wishing you could stay longer, because loving those children and being loved back by them is the easiest and most natural thing in the world.

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