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Desmond & Asina

Desmond & Asina

Desmond & Asina

In 2011, a pamphlet posted on an inner-city Durban street pole caught the eye of a couple living nearby.  The pamphlet mentioned services offered at Addington Primary School, and listed the name of a woman, Yasmin Adams, who worked with CAST.

The couple, Desmond and Asina, were local street vendors struggling to make ends meet.  Their decision to visit Yasmin at Addington Primary School began a lasting friendship.

At first, Desmond and Asina were offered CAST food parcels and clothing bags to help them get back on their feet.  The couple were able to grow their business through Paradigm Shift business training.  Desmond and Asina were thriving, able to rent their own flat and support themselves.

However, life became more difficult when Desmond’s health deteriorated and they stayed with his mum in Tongaat for two years.  For Asina, the move was especially challenging, as the family refused to accept her.

Eventually they returned to Durban, but housing was expensive.  Desmond and Asina finally found a single room to rent, for R2500 a month. One toilet, shower and kitchen are shared among the eight families who live in the house.  Mice eat through any food in the room, and leaking water pours down through the communal bathroom.

Desmond and Asina sell stickers, sweets and chips to the Addington Primary children, but the profit is minimal. Their families also refuse to visit or support them because of their living situation.  Currently, the couple is behind in rent and face eviction.

All of these stressors have put a huge strain on Desmond and Asina’s relationship.  Yasmin continues to meet with them for support and guidance.  However, Desmond and Asina desperately need a mentor to assist them with budgeting, building up their business again and growing their relationship with God.  If you are interested, please contact CAST at: 031 266 8830 or yasmin@cast.org.za

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Leading By Example

 

thandeka

This month as we celebrate the role of women in our lives, as wives, mothers, aunts, sisters, and daughters, let us not forget the role all women can play as mentors in the lives of young girls around us.

Back when CAST first started working in KwaDabeka, one such relationship made a huge impact in the life of a young girl.

Thandeka was a teenager in KwaDabeka, surrounded by few positive female role models she could look up to.  More often than not, women warned her to avoid making the same mistakes they had made as young girls – a negative message of “don’t do this”.

However, one of CAST’s social workers at the time reached out to Thandeka.  The social worker took the time to build a trusting and caring mentoring relationship with her.

As Thandeka explains, “Most of who I am is because of the work she [her mentor] did with CAST.”

Now as a leader in her community, Thandeka takes the time to mentor young girls in KwaDabeka.  She believes in the power of leading by example.

Recently she attended CAST’s first ever girls’ camp, and was excited to see girls exposed to other opportunities.  She believes that when girls have something that occupies their time, gives them purpose and keeps them accountable, such as CAST’s Youth Development Programme, then real change happens.  It is only through these long-term caring relationships that girls can overcome obstacles such as peer pressure.

This month as we take time to celebrate women, let’s lead by example.  You too can make an impact in the life of a young person.  If you would like to mentor an individual in one of the communities where CAST works, please contact Dale Nunes at: dale@cast.org.za

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Let’s Hear it for the Girls!

It all started with a passion to reach girls in the communities where CAST works.  Londeka Choba joined the CAST team at the beginning of this year as a Poverty Relief Intern, with a deep desire to reach girls in the community.

In the past, CAST’s Youth Development Programme has focused primarily on empowering boys in the communities where we work.  As girls began to ask for their own programmes, CAST realised the need to accommodate girls in the community.  First, Dale Nunes and Antony Mbugua organised a girls’ tennis team.  Then, girls began to show up at basketball practice in KwaDabeka, asking to train with the guys.  After several months of faithfully coming to train, the girls proved their commitment and dedication to the sport, and now CAST is looking for a female basketball coach to lead the girls.

However, sports is only a part of Youth Development.  CAST also realised there was huge need to create a forum for girls to talk about critical issues that impact them individually, their family, and the greater community.

Londeka, along with Samke Mbatha (CAST’s Social Worker in KwaDabeka) saw this need and organised a pilot project for girls attending Sthokozile High School.  The project uses material from Hope2Educate, which is a youth-led organisation based in Durban. Hope2Educate uses dialogues to engage different components of the community on social and economic development whilst addressing the challenges associated with HIV and AIDS.

Currently the girls are writing exams, but this project will start soon when the school reopens after exams.  Thirty-five girls have been interviewed and will participate in this project.  Please be in prayer for Londeka and Samke as they lead this brand new project for high school girls in KwaDabeka!

If any of these opportunities interest you: girls’ tennis, girls’ basketball, or the Hope2Educate Programme, please make sure to contact Murry at murry@cast.org.za to find out more about volunteer opportunities.

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Sam the Man

As one of the team captains this past year, Sam has been faithfully leading the CAST basketball team in KwaDabeka.  A humble, genuine, and consistent leader, Sam is always at practice, always ready to help out, and always friendly to whomever he meets.  Sam just finished and passed Matric at the ripe old age of 17.

Last year, Sam began a mentoring relationship with Mike Cox, a long-time supporter of CAST’s Youth Development Programme who attends Westville Baptist Church.  Before they started meeting, Sam didn’t believe much in himself.  But after meeting a few times with his mentor at Mugg & Bean, things began to change.  One of Sam’s best qualities is his inquisitive nature; he is quick to ask thoughtful questions.  And as Mike answered Sam’s questions, he began to look at life in a different way.

Sam had always planned to study business at university.  However, Mike challenged Sam to consider starting his own business, focusing on hard work, keeping time, and cultivating passion for what you do.

After Sam applied to University of Western Cape and was denied with the only hope of being reconsidered at the end of the year, he began to lose hope.

However, as Sam said, “If Mike believes in me, how can I not believe in myself?  Whenever I want to give up, I think of Mike Cox.”

Over time, Sam felt the freedom to chat with Mike when things went wrong at home or school.  Mike even invited Sam to go to Ushaka with his family.  After feeling the acceptance, understanding, and encouragement of Mike, Sam felt different.  As Sam says, “I want to see what’s out there for me.”

Sam with Mike's family

Sam with Mike’s family

Sam is one of several Senior Team Members in CAST’s KwaDabeka Youth Development Programme who have benefitted this year from mentoring and tutoring offered by CAST.  CAST believes in empowering youth to reach their potential.  One way you can get involved is through mentoring.  Many of the guys in our programme are growing up without an active father-figure in their lives.  As a mentor, you can make a huge impact by having coffee with a young man even once a month.

Another way you can get involved with CAST’s Youth Development Programme is through academic tutoring. Because of the lack of resources in township schools, many of our guys need academic assistance to succeed in Matric.  If you are knowledgeable in Maths, Science, or English, come check out CAST’s tutoring programme on Friday afternoons in KwaDabeka.

Feel free to email George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za if either of these opportunities interest you!

 

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Lindo & Rowan

Lindo from KwaDabeka

Lindo from KwaDabeka

A bright student and talented artist in KwaDabeka, Lindo has always excelled at school. However, this past June Lindo’s life started to fall apart when he developed a serious eye infection that impaired his vision and entire nervous system. As Matric exams neared, Lindo was forced to stay home from school for 2 months because of the infection, which made it nearly impossible to see clearly or stand upright.

Eventually Lindo was able to get the treatment he needed. Soon after, Lindo was paired with a mentor from Westville through CAST’s Youth Development Programme.

A successful businessman from Westville, Rowan Oom came into the mentoring relationship not knowing what to expect. He questioned whether he would connect with Lindo, especially coming from two very different cultures.

However, Lindo opened up to Rowan as the father-figure he never had. And contrary to his assumptions, Lindo learned that Rowan had worked hard to achieve his success.

In the words of Lindo, “I have adopted Rowan’s way of life. I thought I should just get a normal job after school, but now I want to go to university.”

They often meet at the McDonalds in Pinetown with no agenda other than to chat about life. Recently, Rowan gave Lindo homework to research and make a decision between graphic design and architecture, his two study interests. Rowan also invited Lindo to his home so that his son could help Lindo with maths.

Rowan finds that mentoring Lindo is similar to talking with his son.

As Rowan explained, “His needs are no different from anyone else’s. He just needs direction within that. Lindo is not a victim of his hurt; he wants to overcome it. He has a vision of where he wants to go.”

CAST’s Youth Development Programme believes in empowering young people to become productive citizens who make a difference in their community. To achieve this goal, CAST needs older mentors who can guide young men in CAST’s Youth Programme. If you would like to make a difference in the life of one of our guys, please email George at: george@cast.org.za