“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: firstname.lastname@example.org