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boy2Man: Ayanda’s story

The CAST Annual Boys2Men Camp is one of the highlights of our year where we get to spend uninterrupted time with the young men in our communities and address the desperate need for guidance, advice, affirmation, and create a way for these boys to discover their identity. 

Below is the story of one of these boys whose life has been greatly impacted through this camp, as well as the ongoing support of mentors and volunteers:

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Twenty-two year old Ayanda from KwaDabeka has come a long way since joining CAST’s Sport & Youth Development programme six years ago. His quiet demeanor and lack of confidence told of his unhappiness at school, where the teachers seemingly lacked the capacity to give learners like Ayanda individual assistance.

This changed when he started receiving after-school tutoring in Mathematics and Physical Science facilitated by CAST, which enabled him to start passing Maths and Accounting after having failed his first term of Matric. This was a turning point in Ayanda’s life, which sparked his motivation to study further.

Ayanda was also a member of CAST’s basketball team, THE CLAN, based at KwaDabeka Baptist Church. He had the opportunity to attend the annual boys2Men Camp where he gained a strong sense of discipline and self-efficacy, so much so, that in his first year of studying at the University of Zululand, others often mistake him for a 3rd or 4th year student.

Ayanda received a bursary to study Logistics Management and, through the generous outreach of a Westville Baptist Church member, has been offered a placement to complete his in-service training this year. Once qualified, Ayanda would like to work in Durban or Richard’s Bay, and pursue his dream of running his own Logistics Company to create employment opportunities for others.

As an ‘old boy’ of the CAST Sport & Youth Development programme, Ayanda is also keen to give back to his community in tutoring and mentoring of younger boys involved in the programme. Although his path has not been easy, Ayanda continues to pray each day and embraces learning new skills and applying what he has been taught throughout his years with CAST.

To learn more about how you can get involved in mentoring our youth in the communities, contact George at: george@cast.org.za or (031)266 8830. If you would like to sponsor boys to attend camp at R350,00 each, banking details are as follows:

CAST Trust

First National Bank

Branch code: 250655

Acc no: 62762010248

Ref: “Boys Camp”

 

 

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Shooting for the Stars: Bryan’s Story

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On his way home from school one day, 14-year-old Samkelo Bryan Cele, learnt something that would change his life. Being tall in stature, a friend invited him to join the CAST Basketball team that trained at KwaDabeka Baptist church. Without any former knowledge of the sport, or the right kit, Bryan went to check it out.

At first, it was tough. The other boys had skills and experience that far outweighed young Bryan playing in a pair of construction boots. Growing up as the eldest son in a family of seven with a single parent, Bryan faced scrutiny for investing so much of his time into basketball, especially since soccer was the more popular sport in his community. With the added sorrow of his grandfather’s passing, he stopped playing for a year.

Despite not being a part of the team, CAST had become a “home away from home” for Bryan – a safe space away from the dangers of peer pressure where he learnt about brotherhood, and what it meant to have a personal relationship with God in daily life as the boys would pray before and after each training session.

He started playing again in grade 9, this time, with a strong determination to improve his skills. As part of CAST’s focus on youth development, our mentoring programme seeks to break the cycle of fatherlessness in the communities by connecting young people with role models. Our goal is not that mentors would solve all their mentees’ problems, but rather that mentors would empower their mentees to solve their own problems. From equipping Bryan with his very first pair of trainers to sponsoring a trip to attend a basketball camp in Serbia, Bryan was blessed to have the mentorship of Mike Cox, a member of Westville Baptist Church, who whole-heartedly invested in Bryan’s future.

As the years went by, Bryan steadily got better and better. His talent drew the attention of selectors at regional tournaments, and he was subsequently offered a scholarship to attend Durban High School. His vision broadened as he began to see the many doors that had opened for him to opportunities that someone from ‘the hood’ would not ordinarily have access to.  One such opportunity was being selected to attend the aforementioned basketball training camp in Serbia, as well as in the USA where Bryan was awarded the title of ‘Most Valuable Player’.

Bryan is now in his second year at The University of Oklahoma, USA where he was awarded a scholarship to play basketball and is academically pursuing a degree in Business Law. Once qualified, his dream is to use his entrepreneurial skills to build a support structure for those from a similar background with limited opportunities. “Basketball was my out,” he says.

“I know I’m not the only one who can do it. They need God, hope and motivation.”

Bryan is deeply grateful for the generosity of donors and the support of CAST mentors and coaches, through which, God has worked to transform Bryan’s life. His advice to those who aspire to achieve the same goal is simple: “Believe. Work. And pray.”

If you would like to help make this dream a reality for more youth in our communities, contact George on 031 266 8830 or email george@cast.org.za.

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Spinach & Soccer

 

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Rain or shine, you won’t find Sibu sitting in his house.

A typical day for Sibu starts with tending his farm: cabbage, spinach, green pepper, mealies and green beans.  By noon he is finished and ready to help out in his community.  Between attending Noodsberg Baptist Church, coaching CAST’s Noodsberg soccer team, participating in CAST’s Business Forum and teaching community members how to farm, Sibu keeps busy.

Sibu first started giving back to his community by coaching soccer.  He noticed that the boys did not have a coach – you can read the full story here.

But as Sibu explains,”The aim is not about soccer, it’s about the church.”

It was at boys2Men camp last year that Sibu came to know Jesus, which changed his life forever.  Now Sibu wants his boys on the soccer team to also experience the same transformation.

That’s why he has the team pray when they finish playing, and makes sure that the boys are in church on Sundays and Wednesdays.

It’s why he visits the boys at home, connecting with their families and getting to know the challenges they face.

It’s why he teaches the boys how to farm, and gives them a chance to get work experience.

As a ‘big brother’, Sibu walks alongside his boys, preparing them for adulthood.  He encourages them to stay in Noodsberg, because he knows the importance of having positive role models for the younger children.

More recently, Sibu has been involved with CAST’s Business Forum in Noodsberg.  After 3 months he became a Paradigm Shift trainer, as he found more and more people approaching him to learn about farming.

This month Sibu decided to raise money for home gardens in Noodsberg by selling seedlings.  In a matter of just a few minutes, he raised R150.

Sibu explains his motivation for this project, “I want people not to ask me for food, but to grow their own food – that’s why I am selling seedlings.”

Volunteers like Sibu, who are passionate about their communities, are vital to sustainable community development in the areas where CAST works.  Sibu is using simple opportunities like farming spinach and coaching soccer to transform his community for the Kingdom of God.  If you would like to know more about how you can become a CAST volunteer like Sibu, email volunteers@cast.org.za to find out more information.

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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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Ubuhle Bembokodo: Girls Camp 2016

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Since 2010, CAST has hosted a boys2Men Camp for young men.  However in July, CAST will be hosting our first ever camp for girls called Ubuhle Bembokodo, meaning ‘the beauty and strength of a woman’.  Earlier in the year, women from Westville and other local communities came together to brainstorm about the camp.  As a result, camp focus topics will include: identity, beauty, strength, purity, women leaders, worthiness, self-esteem, confidence, healing the wounds and daughters of the King.

Here’s what you need to know about the camp:

When: 8-10 July 2016

Where: Camp Anerley (South Coast)

Who: 40 young girls (ages 13-17) selected from the CAST youth programmes run in local communities

Cost: The girls will raise R170 individually & CAST will sponsor R350 for each girl

How you can get involved:

-Sponsor a girl to attend camp (R350)

-Volunteer as a camp leader

-Donate materials: acrylic paints & brushes, compact mirrors, clay, skewers & cling wrap.

-Donate food items: eggs, popcorn, marie biscuits, marshmallows, chocolate, hot dog rolls, chicken viennas, margarine, tomato sauce, milo, juice, salt & aromat.

-Donate other items: table tennis balls & bats, torches, toilet paper, bath soap & toothpaste.

For more information contact Thandi Gova at: thandi@cast.org.za or 072 037 0884

Let’s empower girls together in the name of Christ!

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Too Much Power in Chibini

When you ask Baba Khumalo about how he likes his new bakkie, the first thing he says is, “Too much power!”

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Baba Khumalo and his wife pastor a church in the rural community of Chibini.  CAST partners with this church to help run its thriving children’s ministry.  During the past two years CAST has partnered with Chibini Baptist to run holiday clubs, which has brought tremendous and sustained growth to the Sunday School Programme. The Sunday School has become so popular that kids from other surrounding communities want to come and join. However the distance and rough dirt roads prevented the children from coming.

That all changed when a generous donor provided a bakkie to the Khumalos. Now Baba Khumalo is able to pick up an extra 15 children every Sunday from the surrounding communities.  The Khumalos now average 85 children for Sunday School, an impressive number considering the small size of the community.

The bakkie also enables the Khumalos to do home visits and outreach in the community, making connections with the families of children who attend Sunday School.

A vital part of the their ministry is providing a meal for the children every Sunday from their garden.  Having access to the bakkie has allowed the Khumalos to sell their produce to local tuck shops and make a bit of income in order to grow their garden and feed the growing amount of children in Sunday School.

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Another blessing for the Khumalos has been their bore hole. Earlier in the year the same donor provided for the bore hole to be dug. This water source has not only enabled the Khumalos to continue growing food for Sunday School during dry season, but has also benefitted the entire community during the recent drought.

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As we come to the end of 2015, CAST wants to thank our Saviour for the blessings He has provided our communities with this year, especially in Chibini.  God’s provision has not only transformed Chibini Baptist Church, but also the surrounding communities!  Please continue to pray for the Khumalos and the children and families involved with Sunday School as their ministry grows.

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Holiday Fun in KwaDabeka

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This past week, CAST partnered with an American team from Lake Pointe Church in Texas to organise a holiday club for the children in KwaDabeka.

On Monday, the team did training with local volunteers and invited kids from around the neighbourhood to come to KwaDabeka Baptist Church for holiday club.

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Though it was very cold in the beginning of the week, kids showed up to learn more about how God loves them and wants a relationship with them.

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As the weather warmed up, over 100 kids showed up for holiday club on both Wednesday and Thursday. The messages and activities focused on perseverance through trials and serving each other. The American team and local volunteer team were able to model a practical example of service from the Bible by washing the feet of the children.

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CAST is incredibly thankful for all the volunteers who made this holiday club possible!  Special thanks to the team from Lake Pointe Church who came all the way from Texas to reach kids in our community with the love of Christ.