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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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Soccer Boots for All

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Everyone loves buying a new pair of shoes!  In fact, just trying on new shoes can make your day better.

Last month the youth involved with CAST’s soccer teams in Noodsberg and Chibini received their own brand new shoes and socks.  For some of them it was their very first pair of new soccer boots.  CAST was only able to provide this gift through a generous donation from Community Chest.

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Over the last five years, CAST has seen a tremendous growth in the amount of youth involved with our rural soccer teams.  Our biggest challenge has been to provide the teams with soccer boots.  In the past, we relied on second hand donated shoes which were a challenge to find, and therefore most of the players didn’t have proper soccer boots, or played with no boots at all. The majority of the participants come from poor households and could not raise R600 ($44) for a new pair of soccer boots that would actually last more than just a few months.

The teenagers we work with oftentimes have low self-esteem. We have noticed whenever we attend games, coming from a poor community, most players feel embarrassed wearing worn out shoes.  The new soccer boots have boosted their self-esteem as they are able to play comfortably and with pride.  Also, the new soccer boots protect players’ feet from being injured by thorns in the ground.

In CAST’s Youth Development Programme, we believe in empowering youth to become resilient, so they are able to overcome challenges and provide solutions in their own communities.  By building the self-esteem of youth, they are able to stand up and make a positive impact in their communities.

To find out more about how you can impact the life of a young person through CAST, please contact George Mwaura at: george@cast.org.za

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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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Rural Happenings

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CAST’s Appelsbosch Community Empowerment Centre

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Pastor Dube and Coach Ostrich

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Appelsbosch

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Appelsbosch Baptist Church

A few weeks ago, we heard from Ostrich, CAST’s Sport & Youth Development Intern in Appelsbosch.  Since that last update, the outside painting of Appelsbosch Baptist Church has been finished, and the connecting CAST Community Centre Office has been completed as well.  Appelsbosch community members now have a formal place to go to access CAST services.

In regards to Youth Development in this community, Ostrich organised 38 children from Noodsberg Primary School for a development rugby team.  For the older guys, Ostrich has put together a district team for 23 players from Appelsbosch, Noodsberg, and Chibini.  They recently played in a local tournament and won.

During the school holidays, the Vikings Rugby Academy from Norwegian Settlers Church will be doing a coaching clinic for the rugby teams in Appelsbosch.

In our other rural communities, Noodsberg Baptist Church and Chibini Baptist Church will be hosting a Fun Run/Walk this weekend.  There will be a 5K Walk and Run, as well as 10K and 20K Runs.  Medals will be awarded for winners.

Make sure to check out our Facebook page to see photos from these exciting upcoming events at: http://facebook.com/CAST_ngo

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Meet the Coaches: Sibu & Jackie

In honour of the upcoming Youth Day holiday next week, CAST would like to introduce two of our new coaches working with youth in the community:

Sibu

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“Our aim is to change lives.”

Sibu’s heart for the boys in his community is evident.  Growing up without a mom, Sibu is able to identify with many of the boys in Noodsberg who don’t have a parent actively present in their lives.

Originally from Tongaat, Sibu ended up in Noodsberg fifteen years ago after he became very sick.  A gogo took him in and after Sibu recovered, the gogo saw Sibu’s potential for farming and encouraged him to pursue growing mealies.

When CAST brought Paradigm Shift to Noodsberg, Sibu was quick to join.  It was at business forum that Sibu learned all about networking, which motivated him to ask Bongani, CAST’s Noodsberg Area Coordinator, about volunteering with the boys soccer team.

Sibu knocked on Bongani’s office door at the CAST Community Centre and said, “Give me your boys!”

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Sibu (back row, on the right with soccer ball) and his team

True to his word, Sibu began training with the boys every weekday.  He coaches a large group of boys, ranging from 13-23 years old.  They train on a very small, informal pitch on the side of a field.  The boys barely have enough room to run, but they have come to really enjoy being part of a team and having a consistent coach.

Despite all the challenges, Sibu says of coaching, “I like to be among people and tell them how life is.”

Sibu also has a desire to give back to his boys by teaching them how to farm.  He wants them to not only be part of a team, but also develop a life skill they can use in the future.

Jackie

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A year ago, CAST started our very first sports team for girls.  This initial tennis team in KwaDabeka has led to another girls basketball team in that community, as well as a girls netball team in Chibini.

One of the challenges CAST’s Youth Development Department has faced is finding female coaches for these teams.  After posting a notice in the Westville Baptist Church bulletin for a tennis coach, CAST finally heard from a community member who was interested.

Jackie first approached CAST after hearing about the coaching opportunity from one of her friends who attends Westville Baptist Church.  Interested in development work, Jackie was happy to utilize her experience in tennis.  Under the direction of a new coach, the girls have grown in their tennis skills.

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CAST relies on volunteers like Sibu and Jackie, who are passionate about reaching out to youth in the community.  Without these volunteers, who consistently give of their time each week, CAST would be unable to run our youth programmes and offer sports opportunities to the youth.  All of our programmes at CAST are “grassroot” by nature, being run by ordinary people, for ordinary people, but in ways that bring extraordinary results.

CAST is still looking for a girls basketball coach in KwaDabeka.  If you are interested in coaching, please contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za or 0795967364.

In addition, this coming Tuesday, 16 June, CAST will be hosting a Youth Day Celebration at KwaDabeka Baptist Church from 10am-2pm.  Please feel free to join us as we celebrate the youth of KwaDabeka!

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Coach Ostrich

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CAST’s Youth Development Team (left to right): Shaun (KwaDabeka Intern), Ostrich (Appelsbosch Intern), and George (Youth Development Manager)

Originally from Appelsbosch, Mazisi (also known as ‘Ostrich’) is no stranger to the challenges that face his community, especially for the youth.  Appelsbosch 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.

As Ostrich explains, “Most youth from this area are not doing anything.  Guys finished with Matric are not going to college.  Their mindset is to go straight from Matric to work – that is all they know.”

After attending school in Pietermaritzburg, Ostrich decided to move back to his home community to make a difference.  Ostrich is a talented rugby athlete with extensive coaching experience.  This year Ostrich joined the CAST Team, and he oversees CAST’s sports teams in the local communities of Appelsbosch, Chibini, and Noodsberg.

Ostrich works from Appelsbosch Baptist Church.  An impressive 90 percent of the congregation is made up of young people, ranging from 15-25 years old.  Many of the church attendees are from the local college in Appelsbosch, a campus of Coastal KZN TVET College.  When George, CAST’s Youth Development Manager, provided two buckets of paint for Appelsbosch Baptist, Ostrich was able to organise these young people to paint the church walls.  P1020232

Ostrich still faces many challenges in launching a formal Youth Development Programme in Appelsbosch.  There are no fields in the area for sport, and Ostrich has struggled to get involved with youth in the schools.  However, he remains optimistic and realizes there is a need to meet with community members to build trust – specifically parents of the youth.

Please be in prayer for this exciting new opportunity to reach the youth of Appelsbosch!

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Philani the Farmer

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From the cabbage and mealies growing around the house, to the side room in the house used as a chicken coop, no space is wasted at Philani’s farm in Noodsberg.  Even within his house, Philani’s love of farming is evident through his many copies of “Farmer’s Weekly” displayed in the living room.  What started out as just an interest in growing green peppers in 2011, has grown to become an incredibly productive farm, including pigs, calves, chickens, and multiple crops.

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Philani wasn’t always a farmer.  Originally a panel beater and mechanic, Philani’s compassionate heart for his community members in difficult circumstances kept him from making much of a profit.

However, once Philani started farming, he found his passion.  Philani credits his success to an extension government officer who taught him how to farm properly.  However, Philani’s own dedication to educating himself about farming practices has paid off over the years, especially when he began to raise pigs.  As the pigs quickly grew in number, Philani finally found himself making an actual profit.

So when CAST introduced the idea of Lions’ Den, where individuals from local communities could present their business plans to a panel of judges to be considered for a loan, Philani was interested.  He found the application process to be easier than normal loans, however he was still nervous about presenting in front of the judges.

The first to present, Philani was well-informed about his area of expertise – pig farming.  He carefully laid out his plan for growing his farm: phasing out his current non-commercial breed pigs, and buying 4 pregnant commercial breed sows.  Every question the judges threw at Philani, he was able to answer with clarity because of his knowledge and experience.

It was no surprise when Philani was chosen to receive the full loan amount of R20,000, except for Philani himself, who humbly did not expect to win.

Philani looks forward to raising the new commercial breed pigs, as there is a higher demand for them.  However, Philani’s focus is not only on making a profit.  His heart for Noodsberg and the surrounding communities is obvious.  Philani regularly gives some of his cabbages to needy families, and provides shoes for some of the children in the community. P1020267 P1020257

While Philani has assisted other farmers by teaching how to farm and providing seed, he believes, “There is still a lot to do to encourage young people to start small businesses.  I believe farming is the future.”

Philani was one of several loan recipients that participated in Lions’ Den.  Moving foward, CAST’s Business Development Department plans to match loan recipients with mentors who can assist them with their businesses.

CAST believes that Lions’ Den is vital to the mission of CAST’s Business Development: to create opportunities for people to find employment, develop businesses and further their careers so as to earn a decent income and provide for their families.  Our heart is to empower individuals like Philani to achieve their dreams and give back to the community.

If mentoring one of the loan recipients sounds like something you’d be interested in, just email Lindelwe at lindelwe@cast.org.za for more information.