SACSC give back

On Thursday 2 June 2016, the KZN chapter of the South African Council of Shopping Centres met for their annual networking evening.  As they have done in the past they have asked their members to give something back to charity.  This year they chose to give stationery.  This stationery is currently being distributed to underprivileged schools and pre-primaries in and around Durban.  Thank you for your support and getting involved in making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Below is a list of what was collected.

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Stationary donation
186 Large stationary packs
21 Small packs
78 college Excercise Books
15 A4 Exam pads
13 A4 counter books
22 A5 Notebooks
6 Reams of A4 paper
19 Small Notebooks
17 Boxes of crayons
18 Boxes of coloured pencils
5 Jumbo colouring-in books
20 Pritt glue sticks
72 Erazers
37 Pencil sharpeners
105 Rulers
277 Pencils
3 A5 exam pads
25 Hilighters
16 Permanent Markers
12 Packs Post-it flags
1 Pack fibre tipped pens
2 Boxes giant gem clips
4 Calculators
3 Boxes paper clips
3 Post it notes
4 Correction tape
1 Maths drawing insturments
2 A5 Flip files
1 A4 Flip file
15 A5 Excercise Books
13 A4 Manuscript Books
6 Scissors
1 Pack A4 Kraft covers
549 Pens
4 Boxes of staples

We need action

Yesterday, 01 June 2016, I visited the Dalton Hostel Beer Hall and the area surrounding it.  We have been asked by the municipality to assist in moving and creating another safe space for the children from that area.  We will continue to pursue this and it will happen within this year, but that is not the point of this article.  While there I visited with the Usizo Lwethu Afrisun Clinic (an outreach from the Denis Hurley Centre) who provide primary health care free of charge to the residents on a Wednesday.  They set up their mobile screens and gazebo in among the rubbish that has been dumped in piles all over the vacant site.  It has been dumped as there is nowhere else to throw rubbish.  There are plenty of squatters, people who are completely down and out living there under the builder’s plastic lean-tos. These people are at the lowest of the low but they are still people and should not have to live like that.  The place is a festering pool of disease.  There is one tap in the area which means those who want to wash clothes, themselves, get a drink, collect for using in their work, and cooking all have to queue to use it.  There is also only one toilet enclosed with an old curtain for privacy. I watched as the patients at the clinic instead of using this ablution to provide their urine sample would choose to stand against a wall. A man came in with blood gushing from a cut on his thumb.  He had sliced it while making a Zulu shield nearby. And there in amongst the filth and the rubble the dedicated team from the Usizo L’wethu Clinic assisted him. IMG_8747

On return to my office and inquiry into the situation, I discovered that the land is Provincial owned and therefore the municipality has little or no mandate to clear up and maintain it.  It is however in the process of being handed over and the municipality is stepping in.  If we are aiming to be seen as “the most caring city in Africa” this were we need to start.  Here and places similar.  These are people, yes people who have made some poor decisions in life, some who have been abused, and exploited and traumatised so badly that they no longer function as a rational person anymore, but they are still human.  These are people who need to be reminded that they are human and that Durban does care and we do want to help and see them reintegrate into society.  These people are our challenge.  These people are our assets. We need to discover how to allow them to be those assets again.  Municipality is going to clear the rubbish this week and is going to look into providing a permanent clinic in the area as well as more water points.  But we need to do more, not just say more and talk more actually take action.  If you would like to help please contact me at linda@wearedurban.com, We have enough assets, talents and passion in Durban to see these challenges become a thing of the past.  Let us together face them head on and see them eradicated from our beautiful City.

Mother’s Day spoiling

Saturday, 14 May 2016, we decided to pay a visit to two TAFTA homes (the John Dunne house in Wentworth and Kingdom Hall in town) and Salvation Army’s Montpilier retirement Home. With mother’s day having happened the week before we wanted to celebrate some of the mothers of Durban whose family could not visit them last week for whatever reason.  We have such treasures in our aged community in terms of their wisdom and understanding of life and we wanted to show them we value them.

The team met up at 113 Florida Rd from 8am to make up 100 posies of flowers for the ladies at John Dunne House and Salvation Army.  The ladies at Kingdom Hall received gifts from Milady’s, which were very kindly sponsored. The 40 volunteers were split into 3 teams which went to the three different venues.

At Salvation Army we were welcomed by 40 elderly people who were keen for conversation and a tasty treat.  It was great to have the opportunity to go into their rooms and see their facilities.  We hope to be able to help them more in the future.

When our team arrived at TAFTA Central there were 45 ladies all eagerly awaiting our arrival and welcomed us with a warm round of applause.

We handed out the gifts and cake, chatted and laughed over a cuppa tea. New bonds and friendships were made as we swapped stories and got to know one another.

Our time flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to leave.

The volunteers received many warm hugs and words of appreciation as the ladies left carrying their gifts.

Many of the volunteers were so deeply moved by the experience that they decided that they wanted to return in the not too distant future and are looking at a number of options of how they can get involved.

Thank you to our organisers Sarah Geddie and Sandie Rogerson, we really appreciate you.

Night Shelter visitation

Last night (25 February 2016), we joined the Isinkwa SeTheku team in going out to the night shelters to visit with the residents.

Isinkwa SeTheku is a not-for-profit that operates to bring hope to the homeless of our city.  Every Thursday night they meet and divide into teams that go to various shelters and visit the guys on the streets.  They visit the best and the worst of shelters to take food and a listening ear to those in need.  They also do a potjie day once a month to feed the people living on the street.

I had the privilege of going to a very new shelter in Durban called Haven of Hope.  It has only been operating for about 5/6 months but has put some really good things in place that will make it a safe place for people in need to stay.  They have 2 stories – one for males and one for females. Everything is very clean and neat and they have very strict rules around hygiene of  the residents and cleanliness of the building.  Well done to the Family trust that has seen the need and done something about it!

If you are ever at a loss for something to do on a Thursday night, i would recommend joining the Isinkwa SeTheku team in visiting the less fortunate of our city.  They meet at the St Paul’s Anglican Church on Monty Naiker Street at 6:45pm.

Jumble Gym no. 2

On the 30th January, a dedicated team of volunteers met at a crèche in Newlands East that partners with Key of Hope, to build a jungle gym. Most of the team had participated in a Jungle Gym build at the end of October 2015 so had a good idea of what to expect. Knowing they would take a jumble of wood and turn it into a work of art.

The day turned out to be a real scorcher with high humidity and we were wet with perspiration before we had even begun.

There were no plans to follow, just fertile imaginations. Fortunately the ground was a lot softer than the previous build so we had a few holes dug in no time. Two of the Dads brought their children along for the experience and they chipped in wherever they could. At this gym build we had access to electricity which helped a great deal when it came to cutting the various bits of timber to size, there was no need to use our blunt hand saws.

At the previous build our pièce de résistance was a ships wheel that the children could play with. Although this gym had a scramble net, monkey bars and swings, we felt that something extra was needed to finish it off.

After racking our brains for a while we decided that in view of the fact that the children at this crèche were tiny tots a sand pit would be appreciated. The problem was that we didn’t have any sand suitable for the children to play in.

While the team got to work building the enclosure for the sandpit, two volunteers were dispatched in a bakkie to find suitable sand.

Just after lunch the team completed the project but there was still no sand, after a few failed attempts to contact the sand men, and on completion of a photo shoot, most of the volunteers decided to call it a day and left.

Within the next 10minutes the sand men arrived with a bakkie load of sand.

 

The following day I went back to visit the crèche, I could see the sand pit had been well used.The crèche teacher informed me that the local children had had a wonderful time playing in the sand pit and on the jungle gym after we had left.

A big thank you to Embury College for the donation and to all our amazing volunteers who gave up their Saturday and toiled in the blazing heat to put smiles on the faces of many children.

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Dignity Drive

A big thank you to all who supported our dignity drive.  We received over 350 bags back which were distributed largely on two days in December.  The first was an early morning drop off on the 8th of December.  We met together loaded our cars and went to the streets searching for people in need.  It was wonderful watching in your rearview mirror as people opened up their bags – we saw big smiles, dancing and the occasional person trying to chase us down to say thank you.  Of course there were a few that were ungrateful and rude, but that doesn’t make us stop giving.  It just reminded us that when we receive that its not always because we asked or deserve good things  its just because the giver wants to give.

The second drop off happened at the Methodist feeding Scheme in Greyville. Up to 300 people come daily to the scheme to get a meal and on Thursday 10 December they received more thank what they came for.  Big smiles and dancing was seen again – and plenty of attempts to get a second bag.  Here we had a chance to chat with the people receiving the donations and even explain some of the products.  We expected questions on what the waterless hand cleanser was (an obvious luxury item)! When we explained it they men were thrilled! But the one thing that saddened me was the question of what is shampoo? this to me is not a luxury. this is something i don’t think twice about whether i should buy it or not – its a given!  A lesson in just how privileged we are… Dwight D. Eisenhower said “A people that values privileges above principles soon loses both”.  Let’s continue this year to be a people who give, who love the marginalised and care for those less fortunate and we will see Durban the way it was meant to be.

Business Breakfast

6 November 2015 saw 70 business people from the Durban area come together in the Luthuli Hall (City Hall) to challenge mindsets around business and giving to the needy of our society.  A collaboration between Nation Builder, Grace aid and ourselves resulted in this business altering breakfast. Francios van Niekerk of the Mertech group was our main speaker. Francios story of how God helped him turn a bankrupt business in to a multimillion rand group of businesses is inspiring to say the least. We also had a panel of local business people, including Nick Nzama, Brad Wills and Leigh-Anne Aitken who added so much value as their stories are based in Durban.  Abonga Nkwelo was our brilliant MC and managed to keep things flowing incredibly well.  Breakfast was yummy and plentiful, thanks to Highway Function Hire.  A BIG thank you to eThekwini Municipality for the use of the Luthuli Hall.  It was a perfect venue and was a beautiful representation of Business, Government and the Social sector working together to see Durban reach its potential.

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Strong Women of Tomorrow

Today we were fortunate enough to assist one young lady who benefits from the organisation called “Strong Women of Tomorrow” based in the Kwanuswa area.

Strong Women of Tomorrow is a registered NPO (138-661 NPO) that aids underprivileged girls to become value adding citizens of our society.  They operate in the Kwanyuswa area of eThekwini. Currently they aid 84 high school and 43 primary school students. Beauty who volunteers for the organisation approached We are Durban as 2 of their girls were unable to buy/get matric dance dresses.  Something a girl looks forward to their whole school career was going to be a huge disappointment for these 2 special ladies.  The request was put out on our Facebook page and offers poured in.  Thank you to everyone who offered!

Sposabella Bridal Boutique offered the girls a shopping experience. So Friday, 6 November 2015, we took 2 precious girls shopping.  Sadly, because one of the girls was so small she could not find a dress, but the other was in heaven!  She found the perfect dress for herself and stood in front of the mirror swishing about and admiring herself.  Thank you to Sposabella for making this girl’s dreams come true!

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Amashova 2015

This year’s Amashova saw fewer people donning the We are Durban jerseys due to the change in age limits by the organisers.  Due to safety reasons the Amashova organisers increased the age limit from 8 years old to 10 – which was really a good call!  This year we had 39 cyclists ride in the 3 different distances in the We are Durban colours.  The goal was to raise R160,000 this year in order to make 2 dreams a reality.  One was to provide a fully equipped containerised kitchen to a feeding scheme in KwaMashu, we had previously been given a quote of R60,000.00 for this.  The second was to provide a certified course in NPO Management to 30 NPO heads in the Durban area.

We sadly did not reach our dual goal, but the 39 people did an incredible job of raising R66217,7. We will be finalising the order of the kitchen shortly.  As soon as we have pictures of the kitchen we will post them for you…  Thank you cyclists for your commitment and effort!  A special mention must be made of Carmen de Lange who raised in excess of R10,000.00 on her own!  She has won a prize from Holomatrix.  Our other kind sponsors for the event which helped our team reach the end were; Future Life, Nature Zone Fitness Water and Blistex.  Thank you so much!



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Jungle Gym Assembly for Ukukhanya Creche

We are Durban was recently donated a Jungle Gym by Embury College in Windermere, and we were able to pass this on to the Key of Hope Non-Profit Organisation. Key of Hope nominated the Ukukhanya Crèche in Newlands East as the recipient. We arranged for the disassembled Jungle Gym to be transported to the crèche, with a team of amazing volunteers to carry out the assembly on Saturday, 24th of October.

Jungle Gym - Before

On arrival in Newlands East we were confronted with what could be called, at best, a Jumble Gym and at worst, a pile of fire wood!

Although we had an idea of what the finished product should look like, we soon discovered that a few key structural components were missing, which made building the gym to its original design impossible.  Our team of volunteers took the decision to build the Jungle Gym using our collective imaginations – never say die! The ground was as tough as nails, resulting in one new pick handle being broken in two.

Testing of the new gym

After much blood sweat and tears, the holes were dug and we commenced with the building of a Jungle Gym with no clear picture of the end result in mind. However, everyone participated with great enthusiasm and the Jungle Gym soon started to take shape.

About six hours later the gym was completed and we invited the local children, who had been watching the building process with a keen interest, to try it out.  The children ran to the gym squealing in delight – it was a very heart warming moment for all the volunteers.  Needless to say, the kids (and our volunteers) spent a good while enjoying the fun gym that they had made!

Thank you so much to Embury College for this donation, and to our team of PHENOMENAL volunteers who gave up their Saturday to give the kids a fun place to play every day – you guys are amazing!

The A Team!