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Living Art: Malusi’s Story

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Growing up in the rural community of Bergville, Malusi Manzini’s passion for artwork, creativity and recycling began with creating one model of a rural home out of cardboard.  At first, Malusi did not plan on using his God-given talent in creative arts. However, with a family of four brothers and two sisters and no one working at home, he managed to use his creativity to support his family.  Malusi made more artwork out of the materials he could find, such as plastic materials and cardboard, and sold them to raise income each month.

After matriculating, Malusi moved to Chesterville in 2012 to live with his brother, and was able to study Social Work at UNISA.   He continued to create artwork as he completed his Social Work practical in the community.

“After moving away from a rural area towards the city of Durban, I was so fascinated by the kind of lifestyle lived here. I could easily draw the difference in the type of infrastructure found here in the city with the ones in the rural areas, I was so motivated by this difference that I even decided to take a picture of one of the houses and tried to build it into a smaller scale using cardboard as part of recycling.”

During this time, he met Nomakaya Mpambaniso, CAST’s Chesterville Community Co-ordinator, who took an interest in his artwork.  Nomakaya encouraged Malusi to showcase his artwork at West City Fellowship (WCF) in Chesterville, and she also connected Malusi with CAST’s Youth Development Programme.

Excited about the opportunity, Malusi joined CAST as a volunteer soccer coach working with 23 boys between the ages of 13-15 years old.  However, he envisioned the programme to go beyond just sports.  Malusi realised that some of the boys showed artistic potential, so he developed a formal Creative Arts Programme.

The boys use recycled plastic materials and cardboard to create their artwork.  CAST and WCF also support Malusi’s programme by donating materials such as brushes, paint, scissors and glue.

“I like to work with the younger boys and share stories.  I tell them to try to be creative, try to make your own things.  Don’t depend on your parents.  I encourage the boys to finish matric and go to university.”

Malusi and his boys are looking forward to attending the upcoming CAST boys2Men Camp in October.  Although Malusi has not attended the camp previously, he believes this will be a good opportunity for his boys to develop values such as respect and self-determination, while also spending quality time with peers to share ideas and support each other in learning how to become strong men.

In the past month, ten boys from Malusi’s programme have raised the necessary funds (R200/$15 per boy) to attend camp.  CAST still needs to raise another R350/$27 per boy to cover the entire cost of 60 boys attending camp.  This is a unique opportunity for the boys to experience life outside of their community, grow in their walk with the Lord and learn more about what it means to become a man.  If you are interested in sponsoring one of Malusi’s boys to go to boys2Men camp or donating art supplies for the Creative Arts Programme, please contact George at: george@cast.org.za or 079 596 7364

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Early Literacy Volunteers Needed

20160728-word-works-addington-6-of-32Over the past four years CAST has partnered with an NPO called Wordworks to implement their foundation phase programme called the Early Literacy Programme (ELP).

The ELP is an intervention programme for underprivileged children in the foundation phase (Grade R through 2).  The Literacy Programme provides support for children who are lacking in early language and literacy skills.  Currently CAST is running the programme at Addington Primary School in the South Beach area to help Grade 1 learners develop their reading and writing skills.

Tutors/Volunteers are needed to work with pairs of children for a couple of hours each week. We currently run the programme every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11:30am. No previous experience is needed, just a love of children and a bit of patience! CAST will provide you with initial training and ongoing support and advice.

If you would like to get involved, contact Joseph at 031 267 1716 or joseph@cast.org.za. Contact us and you can even visit on a Tuesday/Thursday to see us in action.

Join the movement beyond charity and help us make a difference in the lives of young children!

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Leading By Example

 

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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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A Garden for All

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Last Sunday, the children of Promise Land got their hands dirty!  Recently, CAST started up a community garden for those in need.  With the drought and rising prices of food, many people who are living on the streets or battling to find employment come to CAST’s Westville offices asking for assistance.  The community garden is a great opportunity for those in need to come tend the garden, and take some veggies home in return.

But CAST needed some helpful hands to weed and plant the garden.  The kids of Promise Land were happy to volunteer, and spent Sunday learning about how God uses even the smallest members of the Kingdom of God to take care of God’s Creation and to help our neighbours.

If you would like to help out with the CAST garden and support this great initiative, contact Amy Benn at: amy@cast.org.za

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Why Not?

DSC_0363.jpgWhen Timothy Mohlala, CAST’s KwaDabeka Community Coordinator, recruited volunteers at KwaDabeka Baptist Church to help out with CAST’s programmes, Senkie’s first response was, “Why not?”  Originally from Johannesburg, Senkie moved to KwaDabeka with a friend and was quick to join KwaDabeka Baptist Church and get involved.  He now also studies Business Management at Ilanga College.

Senkie believes in the power of giving back to others.  As he explains, “It is possible to change someone’s life.  Helping is very needed.  It’s about being there for people, and not just yourself.”

Even though Senkie is not an original KwaDabeka resident, he is still passionate about developing the community.  He believes there is much to be done that can change the lives of individuals and families in the community.

One way Senkie gives back is through volunteering with CAST’s food parcel programme in KwaDabeka.  Once a month, CAST and KwaDabeka Baptist Church host a Ministry Day to encourage food parcel recipients through prayer and fellowship.  Food parcels are also passed out to recipients during this event.

Senkie is motivated to volunteer because of his faith.  Before he came to KwaDabeka, he was unsure what to believe.  However through his spiritual growth at KwaDabeka Baptist Church, he was motivated to reach out in his community and show others the love of Christ.

If you also have a heart for making a difference in your community, volunteering with CAST is a great way to utilise your God-given talents and abilities for the Kingdom of God.  If you especially enjoy being on the ground and interacting with people, why not volunteer with CAST’s food parcel programme?  Once a month, Ministry Days are hosted in each of our partner communities, and provide an amazing opportunity to meet people in the community who are impacted by CAST’s programmes and the local church.  For more information, please contact Dale at: dale@cast.org.za

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Acting Justly, Loving Mercy, & Walking Humbly with our God

As this year comes to an end, the team here at CAST would like to thank our donors and volunteers for supporting Church Alliance for Social Transformation throughout 2015. God has used CAST to bring His Kingdom through mobilsing and aligning the local church to reach out with practical compassion, to empower, transform, and redeem lost and hurting communities.

Our theme verse, Micah 6:8, has been the focus of 2015 for CAST: to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. As we reflect on the year, we would to share five CAST highlights from 2015:

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1. Addington Camp & boysIIMen Camp: CAST’s annual youth camps were a great opportunity for children in our programmes to experience Christ in an environment outside their community. From a largely refugee community, 57 children attended Addington camp in Anerley and were introduced to Jesus. During boysIIMen Camp, 58 young men attended camp and 25 accepted Christ.

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2. Holiday Clubs: This year CAST partnered with local churches to put on holiday clubs in Addington, KwaDabeka, and the rural communities. Thanks to the hard work of Joseph Bode, many volunteers from our partner churches, and even an American team from Texas, CAST was able to provide a safe place for kids to learn more about Jesus during the school holidays.

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3. Lovebox Drive: This year CAST hosted our third annual lovebox drive. Over 400 children in CAST communities received a lovebox for Christmas and attended Christmas parties in their communities.

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4. Xenophobia Response: In April, the refugee community in Durban experienced xenophobic violence. CAST in partnership with Westville Baptist Church and several other local churches and organisations responsed to this violence by providing relief to those families and individuals affected. Westville Baptist Church’s Youth Centre turned into a temporary warehouse overnight for the many food, household, hygiene and children’s items donated. CAST has continued to work with the affected families and individuals by partnering with UNHCR to provide housing packages as well as support through counselling, dialogues, and data capturing.

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5. Our 5 Core Programmes: Although they are the understated backbone of our organisation, CAST’s Poverty Relief, Counselling, Youth Development, Educational Assistance, and Business Development Programmes provide the vehicle for community transformation to happen. On a daily basis, so many inviduals and families are impacted by the programmes that CAST offers in partnership with local churches. From food parcels given to families in desperate need all the way to entrepreneurs trying out their new business ideas in Lions’ Den, God is using CAST in a powerful way to grow the Kingdom of God.

Thanks to both our donors and volunteers, CAST has been able to continue our existing programmes while also expanding the reach of those programmes to transform individuals, families, and communities. During the year we had amazing opportunities to reach out and move beyond just charity to truly live out God’s call in Micah 6:8. Whether you acted justly by fighting against injustice for refugees through CAST’s relief effots, or loved mercy by mentoring a young teenager in CAST’s Youth Development Programme, we have all walked this road of serving and humbling trusting our Saviour together in 2015. CAST would like to wish all our donors and volunteers a very peaceful Christmas as we remember our Saviour’s birth.

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Rebecca

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During these school holidays, CAST has been blessed with an amazing volunteer from the States. Although if you chat with Rebecca you might think she is South African because of her accent!

Originally from Westville, Rebecca moved to the States when she was 6 years old and grew up in Texas.  Currently she is studying International Relations at Boston University and hopes to graduate in the upcoming year.

Her journey to CAST began with a search for an internship as one of her degree requirements.  Because Rebecca is completing her Bachelor’s degree in 3 years instead of the typical 4 years required in the States, the search for an internship was incredibly competitive with other students who were already in their fourth year of study.  Rebecca also had the added weight of deciding between a career in the NGO or corporate world.

However, through a family friend in South Africa, Rebecca heard about CAST and was able to join the team for her summer holidays to fulfill her internship requirement.  While she has been doing a bit of everything – from chopping flyers to helping out with holiday club – her favorite part of the internship has been her work with the Youth Development Programme in KwaDabeka.

As Rebecca explained, “It’s amazing to see the difference in kids who have been with CAST for 6 or 8 years.”

She describes it as the “ripple effect” – transformation starts with one person reaching out, and in the end results with a whole community being impacted.

During her first week of internship, George Mwaura, CAST’s Youth Development Manager, asked Rebecca if she could lead a Bible study for the girls basketball team. The first few weeks Rebecca spent just building relationships with the girls.  She then had the idea to have the girls write “Letters to God” where they asked God one serious question, and one funny question.  This opened up the floor for the girls to discuss important spiritual issues.

From an academic side, Rebecca has tried to figure out what the girls need to achieve their goals.  Most of the girls on the team want to attend university but need assistance in applying for bursaries.

Please keep Rebecca in prayer as she finishes her internship with CAST at the end of this month.  Also, CAST is looking for a female basketball coach to continue working with the girls team.  If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za for more information.