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In Her Own Words: Rita Mkhize

 

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By Thandi Gova

Recently, CAST had the chance to hear from fifty-seven year old Rita Mkhize from Appelsbosch, who shared her story of transformation:

“One afternoon, I was sitting at home ‘bored’ as young people say and I saw ladies carrying parcels that looked the same. I asked where they were getting these parcels from and they referred me to the Appelsbosch Baptist Community Church and told me to ask for Nqobani Mkhize, CAST’s Appelsbosch Community Co-ordinator, who helped sign me up for a parcel which I started getting this year. I needed the food parcel after my husband died earlier this year. He was the only breadwinner in the house. Since my husband’s passing, I now rely on my 14-year-old grandson’s grant money of R380 ($29) from my late daughter who passed away in 2013.

The food parcel is enough for us because we are a family of two.  I have also completed CAST’s Paradigm Shift Business Experience Course, and my grandson is part of the Friday Youth at Appelsbosch Baptist Community Church.  Before joining CAST, I would just sit at home all day doing nothing, sometimes sleeping.   I have taught myself a new skill of knitting, and I am still improving.”

Rita sits with a grey knitted toddler jersey which she started knitting at last month’s CAST food parcel ministry day. When complemented about the jersey, she smiles and says that you can tell it hasn’t been done by a professional.

“I am so happy I cannot explain it and I even have a structured sleeping time like normal people.”

Rita has learnt to meet with people and have conversations. “Angseyona inkomo edla yodwa” she says in isiZulu, meaning she is no longer someone who isolates herself.

“I go out and meet people and when I hear that there’s something happening at the church, I go to find out and learn.”

When asked how she learned to knit, she explained that one day Nqobani took out wool and knitting needles.  He said that if anyone wants some, they should take it.  Only one lady took some wool and a pair of knitting needles. At the end of the day when she was leaving, Rita asked Nqobani to give her some wool and she said that she would give it a try. Rita says she learned to knit by the grace of God. With a smile she says, “God knows when you are longing for something [to learn] and He just shows you how.”

Rita has many dreams, but her biggest dream is to learn how to sew. She has even gone the extra mile of buying a sewing machine but hasn’t had a constant or stable place where she could learn. Rita recently discovered that there is a lady in her community who could teach her. The only thing standing between Rita and that opportunity is the fact that she does not have any fabric material.

CAST believes in empowering community members to become entrepreneurs, using their God-given talents and abilities.  If you would like to either mentor an entrepreneur like Rita, or provide resources such as fabric, please contact CAST at: info@cast.org.za or 031 266 8830

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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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Salt of the Earth

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Two years ago, Ann’s career was one of her priorities in life. Since she was 19 years old, Ann had put a lot of time, effort and energy into working full-time and studying part-time to achieve a successful career as a Chartered Accountant and become a Financial Director in a world where the clock never stopped. Even as a mother of two children with a busy household, Ann took no break from her fast-paced life.

In 2012, Ann took the time to re-evaluate her life and asked, “Do I want to continue on this corporate road, and if so, why and for what purpose?”

The answer to this question came in the form of a self imposed “sabbatical” from her career and the corporate world. In 2013, Ann left her position as a Financial Director with a conviction to pursue her own personal interests, spend quality time with her two teenage children and tick items off the bucket list she always dreamed of fulfilling.

For the first time in her adult life, Ann experienced the simple things in life like driving in the sunshine during a weekday, picking up her kids from school and taking a proper vacation with no work involved and no backlogs to worry about. During this time, Ann heard Lee Moyo speak about CAST’s Business Development Programme at church. Realizing that this was one item on her bucket list and she had no excuse not to share her wealth of business experience, Ann decided to write her name down on the CAST volunteer list in the church foyer.

In her former career, Ann had always been actively involved in community projects, but they lacked the personal involvement that she desired. Ann started to volunteer with CAST in March 2013 as a Business Forum Trainer. While she was out of her comfort zone at first, Ann found a sense of purpose and belonging at the end of her first 18 week course. Instead of dealing with highly educated and wealthy people, many of whom had big egos, Ann found humble, sincere individuals in the townships she describes beautifully as “the salt of the earth”.  With no hidden agenda, these individuals had no desire other than to learn how to improve their quality of life.

Ann believes in the ripple effect of the business forum, that even if one person from each business forum is successful, that difference is felt in the greater community. By giving individuals skills instead of handouts, Ann believes you can create greater opportunity for those individuals and their communities.

As Ann says, “The impact is much greater than the one hour training. Life is meaningless if you cannot share your knowledge and experience with others.”

If you interested in getting involved with CAST’s Business Development Programme just like Ann, please contact Lee at: lindelwe@cast.org.za