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Local Economic Development in Lamontville

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From Left to Right: Florence Mbutho, Thembekile Dube, Jabulile Sosibo, Christina Moloyi

CAST recently hosted a Graduation Day for participants who successfully completed the Business Growth Course in Lamontville. Four of the ladies in this programme are part of a Sewing & Support Group launched this year at Lamontville Baptist Church, and spoke about how their lives have changed since joining CAST:

 

When/how did you first hear about CAST?

Florence Mbutho: I’ve been involved with CAST for many years, and first heard about it from neighbours who directed me to get help. I had been living on a social grant.

Thembekile Dube: I’ve been involved with CAST for 3-4 months. I heard about it from a friend who was collecting food parcels. I had been receiving food from the local soup kitchen but soon learnt that not only does CAST help people by distributing food parcels, there are other areas where they help people.

Christina Moloyi:  Three years ago, I heard about CAST through neighbours. I was going through family difficulties, and came to CAST for help and was added as a food parcel recipient. I am a skilled seamstress and had been selling clothes, but it wasn’t enough to support my family.

Jabulile Sosibo: It’s been 3-4 months that I’ve been involved with CAST, and I also heard about it from a neighbour.

 

How has your participation in the CAST programmes benefitted you?

Florence: My grandchild started attending WordWorks. I have also benefitted from other CAST programmes. I have even found a ‘sister’ through the support group. I crochet hats, scarves, and recently made a jersey, and am able to improvise the pattern for variety. I previously worked as a cleaner.

Thembekile: I joined the support group and have been knitting. The business training has helped. I previously worked in a clothing factory as a presser and fuser, gaining valuable skills in machine work.

Christina: I joined the support group and find it a good place to share my experiences with other women. I previously worked in a clothing factory as a machinist, but am now learning how to save and run a business, and recently had a request from CAST to sew items for selling.

Jabulile: My children have attended Holiday Club and I have participated in the Sewing Group for Business Development. I am a qualified machinist, having worked with Cover Seam and Overlock Safety machines, becoming well-practiced in the blind stitch techniques.

 

How has this affected your spiritual life?

Florence: I currently attend an Anglican Church. I have not been able to make it to Lamontville Baptist services because of my leg swelling which has limited my mobility. I also often babysits on Sundays, but would like to attend Lamontville Baptist in future. I once attended a service at Westville Baptist and enjoyed it very much.

Thembekile: Spiritually, I have come to know God, and make time to pray every morning when I wake up. I currently attend the Apostolic Church, but am thinking of going to Wesleyan Church.

Christina: I have learnt to pray and worship God. I currently attend the Dutch Reformed Church, but am still looking for a ‘home’ church.

Jabulile: I was in a bad a space, but started coming to church and have come to know God. I now feel that I have a reason to get up in the morning. I attend Nazareth Church.

 

Going forward, what are your plans for the future, and what assistance do you need?

Florence: To improve my business, I need to find the right space/location to set up a stand to sell my products. I have a daughter who also knows how to sew, and can assist with networking. I am planning to make traditional skirts, baby wraps, and more crocheted items. I also know a relative who can stitch.

Thembekile: Going forward, I would like to gain more skills in sewing, and get the necessary equipment and capital to start my business. I don’t have any family support. At the moment, I do manicures and sells hair pieces for income.

Christina: I am passionate about sewing and have gained business skills, which I am looking forward to putting into practice. For my business I will need a new overlock machine to make a better quality product with other designs to attract more customers. I feel that I have the skills, but just need the starting capital. My daughter has learnt to how to stitch, so we can work together.

Jabulile: I want to open a Spaza shop and sell fast foods. I will need the equipment, such as plates, a stove and starting capital. I know how to prepare food. One of my daughters attended a culinary school and has learnt how to cook pastry. I see it as a good opportunity to work with my daughter.

If you would like to mentor any of these ladies or learn more about CAST’s Local Economic Development programme, please contact Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or 031 266 8830

 

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Moving Beyond Charity: Making a Spiritual Impact

During the past month, CAST has witnessed tremendous spiritual growth in the lives of our participants, both through special events and regular programming.

Holiday Clubs

During the October school holidays, CAST had the opportunity to partner with two local churches, Joy Chapel Ministries in Mariannridge and Lamontville Baptist Church, to host holiday clubs in these areas.  The clubs provided a unique opportunity for CAST to assist the local church in providing a few days of fun, faith and fellowship in a safe place for children within the community during the school holidays.

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In Mariannridge, 80 children aged 4-14 years old attended the holiday club.  For this event, CAST was able to partner with the Mariannridge International Citizen Service (ICS) Team, which is a programme offered by Tearfund and Zoe-Life that brings together volunteers from South Africa and the United Kingdom to work alongside local organisations in projects aimed at helping children in vulnerable communities to become more confident and skilled in order to inspire hope in their communities.  The ICS team worked alongside CAST staff and volunteers to ensure children were cared for and experienced the love of Jesus.  After working in this community for several months, the ICS team has seen the damaging impact of crime, alcohol and substance abuse on families in Mariannridge.  However, the team also experienced the power of reaffirming Christianity and spirituality in the lives of children during the holiday club when 60 children gave their lives to Christ.  The Lamontville holiday club had similar success, with 178 children attending.

Boys2Men Camp

Also during October, CAST hosted our eighth annual boys2Men camp.  Sixty-nine young boys (Grades 8-11) were selected from CAST’s youth programmes to attend camp.  The camp was facilitated by thirteen leaders currently involved in CAST’s Sport & Youth Development programmes in each community.

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This year’s camp theme was centred on “Abiding in Christ”, taken from the passage in John 15:4-5.  The boys were encouraged to experience God through worship, prayer and quiet time in God’s Word.  In response to an open invitation to accept Christ, 35 boys made first-time commitments to follow Jesus.

In the past few weeks following boys2Men camp, CAST has been able to follow up with the boys in each community regarding their spiritual journey.  The question everyone is asking each other is “Are you abiding?”

Below is a testimony from a camp leader:

Coach Bongani Tshabalala attended the recent boys2Men camp for the first time this year, where young men from local township communities came together to learn what it means to be resilient and walk together in their spiritual journeys.

As a facilitator at the camp and in his community of KwaDabeka, Bongani actively encourages the youth to develop their relationship with God, “Because He is the one that is always there for you.” Through implementing the uBabalo programme in his soccer coaching, he has seen how ongoing mentorship and support has positively impacted the young boys’ lives. Since beginning the programme last year, the boys now occupy themselves with training, playing soccer matches, attending church and meeting as a study group. 

Bongani’s dream is for the boys to grow spiritually and learn to be self-sufficient, productive members of their community.  

Food Parcel Ministry

At the end of October, CAST’s food parcel recipients also experienced what can only be described as a spiritual revival.  Each month CAST’s Relief Services HOD and Community Co-ordinators organise Ministry Days for the food parcel recipients.  At the Ministry Days, recipients not only receive their food parcels but are also encouraged to use their God-given skills and talents to lift themselves out of poverty.  Every month when CAST has Ministry Days, we faithfully pray that God will transform the lives of food parcel recipients, heal families, and provide for their needs. This month, CAST had the privilege of having guest speaker Tryphena, from Vukukanye Children’s Home, lead devotions at Ministry Days. Thirty-eight food parcel recipients came to know Jesus and committed their lives to Him. God’s spirit was very present, working in the hearts of those we serve! 

22730380_1464772373611468_6368805972482206700_n22730485_1464772400278132_2685624964510935931_nHere are some ways you can join CAST in praying for programme participants:

Holiday Clubs

  • Pray for Joy Chapel Ministries and Lamontville Baptist Church as they continue to disciple children in the community who made first-time commitments to Christ.
  • Pray for the children who attended holiday club, that they will continue to experience the love of Jesus.

Boys2Men Camp

  • Pray that the boys will continue to abide in Christ, spending time with Him through prayer, worship and devotions.
  • Pray for CAST’s community leaders as they continue to mentor these young men in CAST’s ongoing Sport and Youth Development programmes.
  • Pray for volunteers that are able to disciple the boys on a regular basis.

Food Parcel Programme

  • Pray for CAST’s Relief Services HOD and Community Co-ordinators as they provide support to food parcel recipients in reaching their individual and family goals. Pray that God will provide for the food parcel recipients and their families.
  • Pray that the food parcel recipients and their families will grow in their walk with the Lord.
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Holiday Club Season 2016

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This year CAST took our annual holiday club season to a whole other level by partnering with local churches to host clubs in five of our communities.  A total of 1100 children were reached with the Gospel.  The adventure started off in the rural communities where kids came to learn more about Jesus at Noodsberg Baptist Church.  Then, the attention turned to Durban central, where CAST continued our long standing partnership with Addington Primary School to host a holiday club for learners.  Volunteers from both Westville Baptist Church and local partner churches were key to the success of the programme.

This week CAST made a new record of hosting three simultaneous holiday clubs in KwaDabeka, Lamontville and Mariannridge!  CAST was only able to accomplish this through the hard work of volunteers from Lake Pointe Church (Texas, USA), KwaDabeka Baptist Church, Lamontville Baptist Church and Joy Chapel Ministries (Mariannridge).

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Below are the stories of two high school students from Lake Pointe Church who gave of their holidays to volunteer with the clubs at Lamontville and Mariannridge:

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Paige, a volunteer from Lake Pointe Church

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Kylea (on right) with a local volunteer

Paige and Kylea came to South Africa for the first time last year.  They served at the holiday club in KwaDabeka, and fell in love with the culture and people.  Despite the language barrier and challenges of running a holiday club in a different setting, Paige and Kylea felt the Lord calling them to return to South Africa this year.

As Paige explains about serving, “You have to prepare your heart and be open to learning new things.  You also have to be open to the flow; things don’t always go the way you planned.”

Kylea also shared, “Even coming to the other side of the world, the same God is Lord everywhere.  You have to get out of your comfort zone.  I’ve learned how to be a better leader.”

CAST’s partnership with Lake Pointe Church is also vital for community volunteer training.  Instead of just implementing holiday clubs once-off, Lake Pointe has the long-term goal to empower church volunteers to serve their own communities.

Last year Lake Pointe provided volunteer leader training for local community members in KwaDabeka.  This year KwaDabeka Baptist Church was able to implement their own holiday club with entirely local community volunteers.

CAST would like to thank all our partners, volunteers and donors who made this holiday club season such a huge success!

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Photo Credit: John Benn Photography

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CAST AGM 2014: Building the Movement

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On Tuesday, CAST celebrated what God has done in 2014 through our Annual General Meeting.  The focus of the night was on CAST’s commitment to building a movement of Christians and churches who build the kingdom of God every day, in simple, ordinary ways by bringing peace, justice, compassion and salvation to everyone we touch.  CAST celebrated our staff, volunteers, donors, and members, and their commitment to becoming part of the movement.

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Before the AGM, everyone enjoyed a light dinner of soup and bread.  Then attendees were entertained by two local choirs from Lamontville who performed songs in both English and Zulu.

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If you missed out on hearing this amazing choir, make sure to check out this link:

https://www.facebook.com/murry.pieterse/videos/vb.624348453/10153311216693454/?type=2&theater

In addition to hearing updates from various CAST staff, attendees also had the chance to hear a few testimonies from individuals who have been empowered by CAST, including Mbali Sontsele, a woman from Lamontville who lost her home in a fire, Lydia Gayiya, an Addington CAST volunteer, and Sizwe Blose, a young man from KwaDabeka who has been mentored.

“Give Your Brain a Hand” artwork, created by students from Addington Primary School, was displayed in the foyer for guests to see.  Most of the artwork was created from recycled materials.

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Overall the night was a great success, celebrating what God has done in the lives of his people.  Thank you for being a part of the movement!

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Loveboxes in Lamont

Last Saturday a life group from Westville Baptist Church organised the Lovebox Celebration in Lamontville.  The same group that organised the Winter Warmth Drive for 40 Days of Community, this life group was amped to serve again in Lamontville.

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The kids in Lamont were absolutely spoiled!  First, the life group had stations with the following activities: face painting, biscuit decorating, colouring, fishing, musical chairs, soccer, egg and spoon race, and a potato sack race.

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Then after fun and games, the kids joined to sing some songs and hear the Christmas story from Simphiwe Mbeje, CAST’s Community Coordinator in Lamontville.  The life group served lunch and cakes to celebrate as well.

For the grand finale, Father Christmas came to visit all the children and hand out presents!  Each child was blessed with a lovebox, specially packed just for them.

Thank you to everyone at Westville Baptist Church who helped a child feel the love of Christ this Christmas season through a lovebox!

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Mrs. Tabete

Mrs. Tabete’s journey with CAST began when her pension money was taken away.  Life became very difficult for their family, so Mrs. Tabete came to CAST’s Lamontville Community Coordinator looking for help.  After being put on the food parcel programme, Mrs. Tabete decided to also attend CAST’s business forum.

Currently, she takes care of several children in her neighbourhood, but she is limited by the size of her home.  In the future Mrs. Tabete would like to open a creche.

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Because of CAST’s support, Mrs. Tabete has been able to care for her granddaughter, who passed matric last year.  Her granddaughter has plans to go to college for journalism.

CAST’s food parcel programme and business forum are intended to not only better the lives of individuals like Mrs. Tabete, but entire families and neighbourhoods.  By empowering Mrs. Tabete, CAST was also able to empower her grandchild and the children in their neighbourhood who are cared for by Mrs. Tabete.

By donating towards CAST’s food parcel programme, you can not only empower the lives of individuals, but entire communities.  If you would like to move beyond charity by being a part of the transformation happening in communities like Lamontville, please contact Murry, CAST’s Volunteer Coordinator, at murry@cast.org.za to find out more about how you can get involved.

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Lamontville Pt. II

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Last week, we met Mama Palesa, a grandmother in Lamontville who has been empowered through CAST’s various programmes. During the next several weeks, CAST would like to introduce you to several women living in the community of Lamontville who are actively involved in CAST.

Initially intended for Durban’s African middle class, Lamontville is Durban’s oldest township. A historically and culturally rich community, Lamontville remains a major athletic, artistic, and political hub.

As a result, many individuals move to Lamontville from the farms to find work. One of those individuals is Princess.  In 2005 Princess came from the Eastern Cape with a friend to work in Lamontville.  However, when her friend passed, Princess was left alone. For work she cleaned at a take-away kitchen in Chatsworth, but after the birth of her son she lost her job.

Fast-forward to 2013, Princess is raising three boys on her own, struggling to make ends meet. A friend that attended Lamontville Baptist Church told Princess about CAST. She met with CAST’s Lamontville Area Coordinator and was put on the food parcel programme.

Currently, Princess cleans at a salon a few hours a week for work, but she plans to sell clothing in the near future as an additional income to support her sons.

Just like Mama Palesa, Princess received holistic services from CAST. CAST believes that true transformation happens when we move beyond just charity to meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of people. Our goal is that those individuals receiving food parcels will be empowered through CAST’s Business Development programme to become self-sufficient. Additionally, CAST’s Counselling, Youth Development, and Educational programmes are able to support the entire family. Our community churches also provide a spiritual home for many of the families CAST works with.

Oftentimes, food parcels become the beginning step for individuals to receive holistic care from CAST. CAST is always looking for volunteers who can donate, pack, or deliver food parcels. If you are interested in reaching out with practical compassion through CAST’s food parcels, please contact Rachel, CAST’s Food Parcel Ministry Coordinator, at rachel@cast.org.za.