Missionvale Care Centre

Our Mission: Missionvale Care Centre is an interdenominational, non-profit organization committed to providing quality care and support to improve the lives of the people of Missionvale through love, consultation, participation and self-development. We respond to the many needs of the people in the circumstances in which they live. Our Vision: To enter into the lives of the poor in their pain, loneliness and despair. To recognise that we have done nothing to deserve our prosperity, as they have done nothing to deserve their deprivation. To reach out a hand of solidarity, compassion and love, filled not with empty platitudes, but with food, medicine, learning and hope. To learn from...
Jun 2, 2015

Missionvale Nutrition Project Report June 2015

Receiving a food parcel and sharing a laugh!
Receiving a food parcel and sharing a laugh!

Dear friends

We are once again in awe of your constant generosity to our project, and we are also deeply grateful to those of you who donated for the first time during this quarter.  Your interest in our mission and your concern for the people of this community is sincerely appreciated.

During March and April this year, we did 518 one-to-one interviews with our beneficiaries to obtain up-to-date demographic information of our beneficiaries, and to gain a snapshot of their opinions of their own health improvement, as well as of the importance to their health of the weekly food parcels in our Nutrition and Wellness Programme.  This data was captured and collated with the assistance of our good friends at the College of St John’s / St Ben’s University who volunteered with us for four months.  Connie Nelson - partner emeritus of The Public Strategies Group, USA - wrote the report.  Connie has over 25 years’ experience in results measurement of public purpose organizations.

I thought it would be nice to share a few excerpts from the report with you as it illustrates both the criticality of the programme, and also the impact of the food parcel on our beneficiaries’ lives so you can see your contributions at work!

Excerpts fromMissionvale Care Center Beneficiaries: 

Demographic Profile & Ratings of Services Provided

The overall picture of Missionvale beneficiary’ perception of health progress is as follows:  26 percent report their health is improving, 42 percent report their health is maintaining, and 36 percent report their health is declining

Other Factors Affecting Beneficiary Health – In addition to the food parcels received and support groups services received from Missionvale Care Center, the big factors they reported as affecting their health improvement (or lack thereof) included:

  1. Unemployment, No Jobs, Financial Stress.  Far and away, the most frequently mentioned factor said to be affecting their health was stress about finances.  Many beneficiaries reported constant worry over no work, no income, intermittent work, stretching their money far enough, repaying loans with high interest, paying bills, paying for items their kids or grandkids need to go to school, etc.   
  2. Shelter.   Several mentioned the lack of stable housing as a factor affecting their health.  “I am still waiting for a house (since 2003).  The smells in the air from burning by my shack are terrible. I have no privacy or safety.”
  3. Abuse, Violence.  Several beneficiaries mentioned abuse from, or conflicts with, family members or neighbors – especially when drugs or alcohol were involved.  Some reported violence from people to whom they or other family members owe debts.  A very few mentioned feeling unsafe due to “criminals” whom they didn’t know.
  4. On the Positive Side, the factors mentioned most often were: their own positive belief and faith, access to the health clinic and community caregivers, and access to the Missionvale Care Center as a safe place to go during the day.

Beneficiaries were asked to rate the importance to their health of two of Missionvale Care Center’s service offerings.  The two services are:

  • Weekly food parcels.  Missionvale Care Center offers a food parcel once a week to registered individuals.  They are able to take the parcel with them and use to prepare food at home.  The food parcel contains maize meal, sugar, tea, a can of fish, a can of beans, and two soap bars.
  • Weekly support groups.  Missionvale Care Center offers support groups for persons who are HIV-positive. 

 The vast majority of beneficiaries rated both the food parcels and support groups as extremely important to their health.  

Reasons Why.   When asked for the reasons why they gave the rating they did, beneficiary comments conveyed thankfulness for having food to eat at all, the nutrition provided by the food parcel, and – as medically directed – that they had some food to eat at the same time as taking certain meds.  They singled out individual food items as extra important to them: the fish and beans, the bread, the sugar.  But, food wasn’t the only thing mentioned.  The soap was mentioned often – “to help keep clean.”  Last, a few people said that knowing they would get a food parcel weekly has helped prevent them from having to beg – or even steal – when they are desperate for food.   In essence, the weekly food parcels act as a “stress reliever” for many beneficiaries experiencing high financial distress.

 Some representative verbatim comments –

  • “I appreciate the food parcels.  Otherwise, I would have nothing to eat.”
  • “To have something to eat with my medicines. How should I cope otherwise?”
  • “Too little, but it helps a lot.  It is finished in one day.”
  • “To eat healthy.  I am gaining weight, feeling stronger.”
  • The food parcel is extremely important because when I get it, I know that day I can eat.”

Your contributions are doing so much more than just providing basic nutrition.  You make it possible for people to have a safe place to escape from reality, to meet a basic need that also acts as a stress reliever, and most importantly, to offer some glimmer of hope amidst incomprehensible daily struggles for survival.

And for that, we can never thank you enough.

 

Links:

Mar 4, 2015

Nutrition Project Report February 2015

Dear Friends

With your help and generosity, our project has reached the poorest of the poor and has assisted families in their area of greatest need.  Even though the project has reached its financial goal, the truth is that it’s far from being complete.  The need here in Missionvale is overwhelming.  What keeps us going is seeing the many successes that are made possible because of basic needs being met.  With your support, our beneficiary families have had something to eat which enabled them to take their medication, to go to school and learn, and in some cases, just being able to survive another day.  Therefore, instead of closing the project, we are going to increase our funding goal so that we can continue this vital service!  We have also identified some other areas of great need, and thanks to Global Giving, we are able to communicate such needs by listing additional projects so watch this space for more information! 

We always battle to fully express our gratitude to those who support us so generously.  To think that we are separated by so many miles, but that your hearts are close enough to make a real difference in the world is extremely humbling. 

Perhaps the best way to say thank you is to share with you the impact your contributions are making on the lives of the people in this community!  One of our most recent success stories, is the story of Morné Smith*, aged 40. Morné was in a horrible accident a year and a half ago. He was walking on the side of the road when a vehicle crashed into him and pinned him to a building. He was badly injured and, after surgery, declared paralised. He lost his job as a cabinet maker and became bedridden and depressed. He was the only provider for his wife and two children and now his life had changed forever.

When our community health practitioners found him, he had terrible bed sores. He was very depressed and did not want visitors, but they persisted and cared for him every day, taking care of the bedsores, taking food parcels and bread for the children for school and offering counseling. They referred him to Physiotherapy and ensured he kept his appointments. He was told he would never have feeling in his legs again.

One warm day, he was sitting in the sun and felt a burning sensation on his legs! He mentioned it to the Physiotherapist who started intensive therapy, and for the first time in almost two years, Morné stood up! He now gratefully accepts visits and help from our careworkers and continues his treatment – perhaps he will be able to walk again!

Nutrition was only a small part of his story, but here at the Care Centre we believe in holistic care. His first need was medical. Encompassed in that was a need for nutrition, spiritual care and most importantly, love.  Websites like Global Giving enable us to give it. Every contribution you have made, travels all the way across the waters, and into the homes of those who need it most.  Every time you have clicked the “yes” button to donate, someone was nourished because of it.  And every time you feel it in your heart to give, ten thousand hearts in South Africa give thanks because of you.

Thank you for continuing to believe in us.  

 

* Name has been changed to protect the privacy of our beneficiaries.

Dec 3, 2014

Nutrition Project Report December 2014

Dear friends

It is with eternal gratitude that we look back on 2014 as a wonderful year for Missionvale Care Centre, filled with many new thrilling additions to our existing programs, and they have all been made possible because of your continued belief in our cause.  Your generous contributions and sustained support is deeply appreciated and I know that Sr Ethel lights a candle in thanksgiving to all of you every day.  The community of Missionvale have benefited greatly from your donations, and every day they gather at the Centre and give thanks for “the people over the sea” who always remember us. 

A few of our highlights this year were:

-          The start of ballroom dancing classes for the children in our school, they are so talented!

-          Two of our community health practitioners received bursaries to study nursing!

-          Our junior and senior choirs won a trophy at the Northern Areas Choral Festival

-          Over 200 sustainable vegetable gardens were created in Missionvale

-          The elderly ladies in Missionvale formed the “gogo club” (granny club) and make beautiful knitted items for sale

 

At the moment we are gearing up towards our own Christmas celebrations which are split into two categories:  1) Father Christmas Day for the children and 2) Christmas Eve Food Parcel Distribution for Adults.  The children’s gift distribution is a huge annual event where over 6000 children each receive a small present from Santa Clause and some sweets.  For most of them it is the only present they will receive.  All the staff at the Centre dress up, Christmas carols are played and the whole Centre gets decorated.  It is extremely festive and is a big highlight for all the little ones. 

On Christmas Eve we distribute food parcels to the community so everyone has something to eat on Christmas day.  This is a very special time at the Centre and there is always a bit of magic in the air!

We hope that you will feel that same magic surround you this Christmas and all the way into the New Year.

Thank you again for all the miracles you helped to create.

Wishing you every blessing, with love from Sr Ethel and all of us in Missionvale

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