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Njabulo

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Originally from Johannesburg, Njabulo is an 18 years old who is passionate about cars, science and sport.  Njabulo and his grandfather have lived in KwaDabeka since 2011.  They moved to Durban in order to be closer to family after his grandfather lost his leg in a serious accident.

In Johannesburg Njabulo played for the Blue Bulls Junior Rugby team and loved athletics.  However in KwaDabeka the rugby teams were too far away to join.  Wanting to try a new sport, Njabulo went to KwaDabeka Baptist Church in 2014 to find out if he could train with the CAST basketball team (aka the Clan).  After meeting with the coach and filling out a few forms, Njabulo officially joined the Clan.

“The Clan welcomed me with a warm heart.  I didn’t feel different.  They let me fit in like a puzzle piece.

From the Clan, I’ve learned about being a unit and helping others to succeed.  We help each other with homework and basketball.

CAST has also taught me how to discipline myself, and helped me to realise who I want to become.”

It was through a conversation with the Clan about cars and carbon dioxide emissions that Njabulo realised he wanted to study engineering, or something related in the science field.  His dream is to one day create his own hydrolic engine.  However his first passion is to study electronics.

As Njabulo explains, “A good scientist first sees a problem, then creates a solution.”

George Mwaura, CAST’s Youth Development Head of Department, was able to connect Njabulo with an opportunity to take a sponsored Electronic Technician diploma course at Intec College.  Njabulo is excited for the opportunity to learn more about electronics.

However, to be able to fully utilise the opportunity, Njabulo needs a used working desktop computer or laptop. CAST believes in empowering resilient youth like Njabulo, who are passionate about achieving their dreams.  If you would like to donate a computer or laptop, contact George Mwaura at: george@cast.org.za or 079 596 7364

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A Second Chance

In 2014, CAST’s Noodsberg Community Co-ordinator, Bongani Mkhize, heard about a boy on CAST’s soccer team who was not attending school.  When Bongani visited him to find out what was going on, the boy, Siyanda ‘Zakwe’, explained that his family was unable to afford a school uniform.  Zakwe lived with his father, grandmother and other family members, none of whom were working.

Moved by his story, Bongani filled a CAST donation form and was able to access the R500.00 needed for the uniform.  Thanks to the assistance from CAST, Zakwe went back to school, and in 2016 he finished Grade 12.

This year Zakwe came back to Bongani’s office to thank him.

Zakwe said it was CAST that helped him to change his mind, as he was about to give up school and look for a job because of the lack of support at home.

However providing something as simple as a school uniform kept Zakwe in school and gave him a second chance at his education.

At CAST, we believe in empowering youth to become resilient, value education, achieve their dreams and become leaders in their community.  CAST accomplishes this through providing various youth development programmes, with the support of sport coaches, mentors and CAST staff.  We are invested in transforming lives through holistic programmes that actually empower youth to overcome their circumstances.

You too can make a difference in the life of a young person by getting involved with CAST’s Youth Development Department.  Contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za to find out more about how you can join the movement.

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Partnering to Serve

During the past week the CAST hosted a team of medical professionals from International Medical Relief (IMR) to provide free medical serves to eight local communities.  Thanks to CAST and IMR, community members in Cato Manor, Mariannridge, Lamontville, Durban Central, Phoenix, and three rural communities near Wartburg were able to see doctors and nurses for a free medical clinic, classes to learn about good health, and medicine.  The clinics were hosted at CAST’s community centres and partner churches, and between 100-200 patients were treated each day.  The goal of IMR is to treat underserved patients with dramatic and often life saving results by providing medical services, medicines, supplies, training and education to communities throughout the world.  IMR is one of CAST’s partner organisations that help to serve local communities across Durban.

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Kingdom Daughters

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Appelsbosch Baptist Church is a long-time partner of CAST, and is located in the Ilembe district, neighbouring the other partner CAST communities of Noodsberg and Chibini.  High rates of teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and lack of activities and work opportunities keep the youth in this community from realising their potential.

Through inspiration from CAST, Mrs. Sindi Dube (Appelsbosch Baptist Church pastor’s wife) launched the Separated Kingdom Daughters (SKD) initiative which raises awareness to young girls about teenage pregnancy, whoonga abuse, fatherlessness, etc.

The goal of the SKD initiative is to deepen the thinking of young women with regard to their infinite roles in society, enhance their self-esteem, inspire and motivate them to reach their full potential through teaching and counselling with the Word of God.

A young person from Appelsbosch was granted a bursary from SKD towards studying Maritime Engineering at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).  Those in the initiative also donated uniforms, school shoes and stationary to many learners within the community.

This initiative work is focused on seeing poverty eradicated and education prioritized.

CAST is passionate about empowering and mobilising local churches like Appelsbosch Baptist Church to make a difference in the community, especially among the vulnerable.  If you would like to know more about how CAST partners with local churches, check out our website at: cast.org.za

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Ayanda

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As someone who never liked school, Ayanda made the decision to drop out of Grade 9 in 2010.  It wasn’t until two years later in 2012 when Ayanda joined the Clan and met Lawrence Nkomo, CAST’s Youth Development Intern at the time, that his life changed.

Ayanda with the Clan

Ayanda with the Clan

Later Ayanda was invited to Boys2Men Camp by George Mwaura, and there his eyes were opened to the importance of education.  He made up his mind to pursue a B com in Accounting, and applied at University of Pretoria.  However, when his plans didn’t work out, he went to Durban University of Technology to apply for whatever was available.  Then after studying six months, Ayanda was unable to secure government loans (NSFAS) and was forced to drop out.

These challenges did not stop Ayanda from continuing his education.  Instead, Ayanda looked at educational opportunities outside of Durban, where there were more openings for learners.  He also worked a part-time job during the holidays to save money for university and help out his grandmother, who cares for his three siblings.

Now Ayanda has started his first year at the University of Zululand and is studying logistics management.  Ayanda was able to use his savings from his part-time job to cover his registration fee entirely, and CAST assisted him in reserving accommodation.

As Ayanda explains, “Moving away from home has been a great experience.  It’s what I always wanted and I’ve learned to be independent.”

CAST believes in encouraging young people to pursue further education in order to equip them to be self-sufficient and productive in their communities.  We believe that communities are transformed when young people are able to pursue their education and give back to their home communities.  While Ayanda has worked very hard to cover most of his university expenses on his own, he still needs some support with the additional cost of textbooks, stationary, etc.  If you are interested in empowering Ayanda to pursue his education, please contact George Mwaura at: george@cast.org.za

 

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Lydia

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“CAST – it was like an angel coming to my doorstep.”

Most people don’t know that Lydia is sick.  A bright, cheerful CAST volunteer who loves to look smart, Lydia faithfully comes to CAST’s Wordworks Literacy Programme twice a week to assist Addington Primary School learners with basic reading and writing skills.

Lydia passes on her joy to the learners through her contagious smile.  However, her smile and laughter hides a world of physical pain that she has lived with since 2006 when she was diagnosed with cancer.

In fact, Lydia first connected with CAST through a friend in the Parklands cancer ward.  It was through this friend that she met Janine Pepper, CAST’s Community Development Manager.

At the time, Lydia had lost her job as a Forensic Report Analyst because she was too sick to go to work.  A family friend was providing for her medical aid, but Lydia battled to pay for rent, electricity, and food.

As a social worker, Janine encouraged Lydia to access a disability grant to cover some of her expenses, as well as monthly food parcels from CAST.

During this time Lydia had received eviction notices and was in court fighting to stay in her flat.  With Janine’s assistance from CAST, Lydia was able to secure enough finances to pay for her rent.  Then just when things were looking better, Lydia hit rock bottom when she came home to her flat building and found all her belongings thrown out in the street.  Despite paying her rent in full, Lydia was unjustly thrown out of her flat.

As Lydia explains, “I was like a laughing stock.  It was the biggest humiliation.”

Eventually with the help of Janine, Lydia was able to move back into her flat.

Wanting to give back to the community, Lydia was introduced to the Wordworks Programme by Yasmin Adams, CAST’s Inner City Area Coordinator.  She now actively tutors several learners struggling with basic literacy and language skills.  In the Literacy Programme, Lydia has found a purpose.

Lydia confidently says, “I still believe God wanted to prove He has been with me all the way.  Each day means a lot to me.  God has been journeying with me.  He’s preparing me for something big to come.”

All of CAST’s programmes are grassroot by nature, being run by ordinary people, for ordinary people, but in ways that bring extraordinary results.  Many of CAST’s volunteers are themselves CAST food parcel recipients, business forum participants, sports team members, or counselling clients.

CAST’s goal is to give a hand up, not a hand out.  Our heart is to mobilise the local church to reach out with practical compassion, to empower and transform lost and hurting communities.  By empowering people to transform their own communities, we believe that the Kingdom of God will be advanced.

Currently, Lydia is still looking for some kind of employment.  If you know of a job opportunity suited for Lydia, please contact Janine Pepper at: janine@cast.org.za

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Lizzie’s English Classes

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During a typical week at Masibambisane Centre in Cato Manor, you might witness support groups for HIV positive community members, gardening projects, church services, and community members receiving CAST food parcels.

But recently, a new group of people from Cato Manor started coming to Masibambisane Centre for assistance: Grade R to Grade 2 learners!

It all started with CAST’s Cato Manor Area Coordinator, Lizzie Mkhize, posting a notice on her fence, advertising English classes for young learners.  Lizzie had noticed how many young children in her community did not begin to learn English until Grade 4 in the township schools, so she decided to open her own English classes, offered every weekday from 3-6pm.

Parents came to ask about bringing their children, and soon after Lizzie had 30 kids ready to learn how to speak and write in English.

Because Lizzie has no “kiddie-sized” chairs or tables, the children sit on the floor during class.  Oftentimes her learners come with hungry bellies after school, and struggle to concentrate on the lesson.  Lizzie takes one day at a time, providing snacks as she can, and patiently teaching English through fun activities and games.

Parents are happy to see their children learning English at such an early age.  As one parent told Lizzie, “We thank you very much for your extra class.  They are really helpful.”

In December, Lizzie would like to give a “graduation” for the learners to celebrate their accomplishments.

As part of the greater mission of CAST’s Educational Assistance Programme, this new programme in Cato Manor is working to remove obstacles that stand in the way of learner success.  If you are interested in this new opportunity there are many ways to get involved through volunteering, providing snacks, donating “kiddie-sized” tables and chairs, or donating educational books and materials.  Contact Murry Pieterse at murry@cast.org.za if you are interested.