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Living Testimony: Siya’s Story

During the month of December 2019, CAST was blessed with a total of 33 interns sponsored by ABSA Bank Ltd. in partnership with Catalyx Consulting as a host organization. Our duty was to implement the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme initiated by President Cyril Ramaphosa. This year-long internship aims to assist unemployed South Africans aged 18 – 28 years old in gaining full-time employment in their chosen fields.

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Below is the testimony of one of our interns, Siyabonga, sharing his journey of transformation since joining CAST last year.

“My name is Siyabonga Makatshu. I was born on the 26th of February 2001 at KwaDabeka Clinic, but my family’s roots are at Eastern Cape. I grew up in Clermont, KwaDabeka. I started schooling at Mcopheleli Primary School, then went to Sithokozile Secondary and that is where I matriculated.

My journey with CAST started in late 2019 when I had no clear direction about my life, and I didn’t have any interest to further my studies. I was in a bondage by that time.

I remember in February, my friend asked me to accompany her to get her mother a food parcel at CAST KwaDabeka Community Centre. We went, and when we got there, the Co-ordinator of CAST KDB, Bab Peace Msimango told us that he needed volunteers to help the community and we agreed to come help. The day came when we met the second time with the intention of just “coming to help the community” but Bab Msimango told us that we need to do training before we start the ministry that God called us to fellowship on. We attended the training, and when we were all together as a team, we worshipped and shared the word of God. That grew us spiritually. I was never a perfect creature, I was smoking, drinking, stealing, swearing and did other horrible things, but God changed my life

I remember our co-ordinator asked us what our goals were, and I said that I would like to know God better than I know Him. My spiritual father, Bab Msimango, is the one who supported me all the way up until today. He was there for me throughout. I then started attending church every Sunday at KwaDabeka Baptist. I was still, however, not able to support my family. My co-ordinator visited me at home to see where I come from. He then saw the need to give me a food parcel to support my family, because I was a committed volunteer and participating in the community. I am happy to say I was the first volunteer at CAST to be visited at the township and that’s history. I was picked to go to the boys2MEN Camp and CAST’s 10th Anniversary Celebration. Our co-ordinator told us that after 6 months to 1 year, we will get a reference from CAST, because there are not many job opportunities in South Africa and that it will then help us in our future working lives.

In December, I and the other volunteers went to the volunteer thank-you party to receive certificates for tutoring in the Wordworks Literacy programme. I have learned a lot of things at the CAST organization. 2019 was one of the best years of my life and I have a testimony. I call myself a ‘living testimony’. Now, I have a clear direction in life unlike before.

I remember every Tuesday, we prayed for job opportunities and luckily my friends got an opportunity to work at the Airport and my nephew got a job at Pavilion Shopping Centre and there were four of us and I was left alone. I wondered, why me? But Jeremiah 29: 11 says, “I have plans for you, said the Lord, the plan to prosper you and not to harm you to give a time and hope.”

I learnt to be patient because patience is not an ability to wait but, to keep a good attitude while waiting. In December 2019, I went to an interview for the YES Internship programme at CAST and thank God I got the job. I am so happy to have gotten the opportunity to work because I am learning a lot. I met my new colleagues and am learning so much from them. I have improved my English and communication skills. I have learnt not to impress others, but be impactful towards them. The Catalyx training on work-readiness was and is effective in my life and I have also learned a lot from CAST.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Siyabonga played a key role in supplying food-insecure families with emergency relief during the national lockdown. Watch him in action on the CAST YouTube channel.

Siya’s dream is to study either Health and Safety Management or Trade and Marketing Management and follow his calling to become a Pastor. If you would like to support the development of young leaders in our communities like Siya, contact us at info@cast.org.za for more information about other CAST initiatives.

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[MOVE BEYOND CHARITY] CAST Newsletter Vol.2 April/May 2020

Greetings, CAST Community!

Today we bring your our second quarterly newsletter for 2020:

 

Click here to download the pdf: CAST Newsletter Vol.2 APRIL_MAY_2020.

Watch this space for more about our ministry highlights and upcoming events.

Feel free to share with all who are interested in the movement beyond charity!

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Making it Work: LED during lockdown

Since the enforcement of the national lockdown on 27 March to stem the spread of the Coronavirus in South Africa, CAST faced the challenge of suspending programmes normally held in group settings at the 13 communities in which we operate.

Our Local Economic Development programme seeks to teach business skills and introduce new opportunities to those already running small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Over a period of 9 – 18 weeks, the entrepreneurs take part in the Paradigm Shift Business Experience and Business Growth courses facilitated by volunteers and mentors. This curriculum aims to not only educate, but spiritually uplift as the content takes its lead from Holy Scripture.

With this programme suspended, CAST was determined to explore different ways of staying connected with our participants, so as to not lose the tremendous progress they have achieved. Through WhatsApp groups set up for each community of entrepreneurs, we have been able to conduct weekly business forums accessible to all who are interested, creating the space to share ideas, opportunities and prayer requests.

While many are facing severe economic challenges with a sudden loss of income due to enforced business closure and limitations on part-time work, Shakira from Phoenix in Durban is one such entrepreneur who has been motivated by the programme and identified the opportunity to produce cloth face masks, an essential item of personal protective equipment during this time.

The business forum WhatsApp group has been a great idea as we can’t attend our weekly classes. And having this group, we are able to communicate with each other. Janet has been a great help and God-send as she has dedicated her time to helping and assisting us through this lockdown period. Janet has assisted us in continuing with our studies via this means of communication and help us with our business plans/profile. She is passionate and helpful and is always willing to assist where she can. We get to share our weekly experiences with the group and find new ways or ideas on how to use this lockdown time to valuable use.

I have completed my business profile and with the help of Janet, I have to adjust and make a few changes. I am hoping this will improve and grow my business. The lockdown had not been good financially for my business as I have no income due to people being quarantined, but I do believe God has a bigger plan for me. We get to send our prayer requests weekly and Janet prays for our needs. I am truly blessed to be part of this incredible family.

Above: cloth face masks produced by Shakira

Below is more feedback received from other members of the WhatsApp Business Forums:

My business is not registered yet, I sell different things to people, but what I can say is, whenever we converse in our WhatsApp group I learn more about business. My very next step after lockdown is to register my business. Before CAST, I had studied business economics and economics at school and have had a learnership that I’m still busy with, it’s also about managing businesses or organisations. But the magic is only happening now.

The networking conference that was organised by CAST earlier this year, the WhatsApp group, the way CAST doesn’t let go of us, it nurtures me. I never thought that after we have graduated, we will still have a relationship with CAST. Every time I’m with my entrepreneurs’ group, it’s just a confirmation that I was meant to be in business. There was a time when I wanted to quit because I was learning common stuff during the class, but I’m glad I didn’t quit because CAST presents business from a different angle. It’s moving us beyond charity, as the CAST slogan says😃

– Surprise, Lamontville

 

The WhatsApp group business forum has been very helpful in a sense that there is a lot of information shared about how people in business can get help from the government. Also information about how people can get a social grant if they are not employed. It’s like a community where we can share our feelings about the lockdown and it’s also a platform where we receive information.

– Noxolo, Mariannridge

 

The WhatsApp group business forum is doing well. It’s making things easier for us to share business ideas and everything relating to business and CAST community. This platform is really amazing as we lift each other through this business journey with business profiles/business registration, business plans and other ideas.

I would like to thank Janet Okoye and Khetho Morgan Mdluli.

God bless you guys and we are very happy to be part of this platform.

THANK YOU CAST, you are transforming our lives 

Stay indoors healthy and safe.

– Thobani, Lamontville

 

If you are interested in mentoring our entrepreneurs or would like to get involved in the Business Forum WhatsApp groups contact head of CAST’s Local Economic Development programme Janet Okoye at: janet@cast.org.za or 083 990 2090.

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CAST COVID-19 Emergency Response

CAST Community,

As you may know, South Africa will begin a 21-day lockdown from midnight on 26 March until 16 April 2020 to stem the spread of Coronavirus.

Many of the needy in the communities where CAST operates will be severely affected by limited access to food and basic necessities during this time.

Join our project to pack and distribute 500 food parcels in the next 2 days by donating the items below or making a contribution of R250 per bucket.

1kg samp
5kg maize
490g peanut butter
375ml oil
1kg beans
1kg Morvite / any porridge
500g soya mince
1kg flour
1 bar soap
(and anything extra you might want to add!)

Donated items can be dropped off at the Home Ground Westville Baptist Church Youth Centre (2 Church Place, Westville) or the CAST Head Office (17 Langford Road, Westville)

For online donations: https://www.cast.org.za/product/donate-now

Banking Details:
Account name: CAST
Bank: First National Bank
Account no: 62825576301
Ref: Corona

On behalf of those we serve, we thank you for your prayers and support.

#CAST #movebeyondcharity #jointhemovement #coronavirus #covid19 #donate