Every year seems to go by faster and faster! Here we are in November, finishing off the work for the year and planning activities for 2014 already!
As I am writing, the Missionvale Care Centre is buzzing with activity around me and in the township we are starting to see massive transformation taking place! For the first time ever, houses are being built in Missionvale and in front of our eyes we see the Missionvale landscape changing. Dilapidated tin shacks are making room for small, but sturdy homes. We are thrilled to see this transformation! Our hope is that the new homes will bring a sense of pride and dignity to this forgotten community, and that their lives will be made a little more comfortable.
At the moment there is still no water connection to any of the homes and the community are still relying on one of the 16 communal taps for their daily water needs. And although bricks are replacing rusty tin walls, their situation essentially remains unchanged. The unemployment rate remains the same. The level of education remainsthe same. The challenge of ending the vicious cycle of poverty and despair is just as hard as before.
In my last report I mentioned the increasing cost of fuel, food and electricity. This has impacted the hardest on this community and every day we are inundated with requests for assistance. The need is far greater than what we are able to assist with.
We are only making a small difference in an area of huge need, but that difference would not be possible without your support. It is your belief in us and your kindness and generosity that has kept us going. Without it, we would not exist. We can never find enough words to thank you for all you have done for us during 2013. Our hope isthat you will be blessed this festive season and continue to be a blessing to others in 2014.
With love and gratitude from all of us in Missionvale, South Africa
It is with deep gratitude that we write to all of you to thank you for your continued support of our mission. Because of you we have nearly reached the $7500 mark through Global Giving towards our Nutrition & Wellness Project! It is so wonderful every time we get the email from Global Giving notifying us that another donation has been made! And like clockwork, every quarter, they duly transfer it into our account and we are filled with unbelievable joy knowing that there are people in the world, many miles away, who have the heart and thedesire to make a difference in our area of biggest need.
At the moment, we are concentrating very hard on fundraising for food. It has been hard going as the fuel pricecontinues to escalate. For example, in 2011 our weekly food parcels cost R23 (±$2.70) each, in 2012 it went up to R26 (±$3.05) and our quote for food parcels for the remainder of 2013 has escalated to a huge R32 (±$3.76) each!
Naturally, the people affected most by the price increases, are the people we serve in Missionvale; the poorest of the poor. For them, the R1 (±$0.11) increase per loaf of bread hits the hardest. This means a higher demand asmore and more people are struggling to survive.
It is only because of people like you that we have been able to meet some of their needs and for that we can never thank you enough. Once a person has eaten, they can face the many other challenges they are confronted with.
It is winter in South Africa at the moment, and although we do not experience snow and ice like many of you, the night air can be bitterly cold especially when you are living in a poorly insulated shack. For most of us, winter can be a lovely time to snuggle up with a hot cup of tea after a long bath before climbing into bed with the electric blanketon! For our beneficiaries, none of this is possible. First they have to make the long walk to the tap to get cold water to bring back to the house. If, like last night, it has been raining, there is almost no way of heating the water as the people are unable to build a fire in the pouring rain. A few people have paraffin stoves, but can barely afford the paraffin that is needed to fuel it. And when they do, a horrible black smoke fills the entire house. So for most people in Missionvale, on a cold and rainy night, there is no comfort, no escape. They arrive here at the Care Centre then the next morning, often drenched and their feet covered in mud, and throughout the crowd you can hear the endless coughing and coughing. It is a grim picture, but it is their reality.
I hope that every one of you reading this will take comfort in knowing that your contribution to Global Giving is going directly towards helping these people. That because of you their suffering is made a little lighter. And most importantly, because of you they have some hope!
We are starting to recognise the names on the disbursement lists we receive – some of you we have never met, some are old and treasured friends. It is very important to us that you know how special you are to us, and how much we appreciate everything you do for us. Every day, Sister Ethel lights a candle in her prayer room and dedicates time to giving thanks for having you in our lives. You are all very close to her heart and to the hearts of the people in Missionvale. Thank you.
Another three months have passed and your generous contributions have ensured that our Nutrition and Wellness Unit could continue providing essential food items to families desperately in need.
It never ceases to amaze us how much impact the nutrition makes on the community. In many instances the food becomes a great incentive for attending skills development / educational programmes! This has a tremendous positive effect on the community as they are learning skills that will empower them going into the future, and many of our HIV patients that used to be very weak, are starting to gain strength! This is so important as the effects of HIV have hit our area harshly. There is a definite increase in the number of child headed households and granny headed households in Missionvale. As a result, the children are not in school and so the cycle of poverty continues.
We are so grateful to you for contributing towards providing nutrition for these families and giving them a chance in life! Once you meet a person at the point of their need, you can grow the star in each one. Because of YOUR help, we have many stars shining in Missonvale!
With gratitude and love from Sister Ethel and all of us in Missionvale
It is with deep gratitude that I write to you to thank you all for your incredible support to our project "Nutrition for 500 families in South Africa". Fundraising for food always remains our biggest challenge and it is only with the support from people like you, that we are able to continue this basic, but VITAL, service.
From December 2012 to date, we have been able to purchase 532 food parcels with the funds received through Global Giving alone! We could never find the words to thank you enough for making this miracle possible.
At Missionvale Care Centre we have a holistic approach and offer services including Nutrition, Education, Skills Development and Health Services. On our premises we have a small primary school (204 pupils) and this morning, our school principal, Russel Viljoen, shared something that illustrates the impact of the nutrition so well. One of our Grade 4 pupils is HIV positive. At the end of last year, he really started to struggle with his physical health due to the strong medication that he had to take. (We suspect that either the medication was given incorrectly or not at all which brought about his situation). Of course, in this time the school went on their 6 week summer break. Our principal was very concerned when he returned mid-January and looked really weak and sickly. He could hardly walk properly and had lost a lot of weight. It is now one month exactly since he has come back to school and the transformation in his health and physical stature is astounding and can only be ascribed to the healthy and regular meals that he receives at school. Russel said that he now watches with gratitude and amazement as the boy plays rugby on the grass patch with the other boys. He is strong and healthy and most importantly, HAPPY!
Through your contributions, you are the ones making successes like these possible!
With love and gratitude from all of us in Missionvale,
Linda van Oudheusden
It gives me great pleasure to report back on our project - Nutrition for 500 families in South Africa! We have only been a part of the Global Giving family since September this year and it has been a great experience!
We'd like to thank all of you for your generous contributions; because of you we were able to:
- Purchase 1384 food parcels for 346 families in need! This Nutrition is a weekly food parcel containing maize meal, tinned fish, baked beans, sugar and tea. (In this parcel we also include laundry soap and beauty soap to assist with basic hygiene needs and as a preventative measure for disease.) The parcels are distributed once a week.
- Provide nutritional support for patients on the anti-retroviral drug at Missionvale. The purpose of giving Nutrition is so that patients on the ARV treatment can take their medication effectively. Patients that are too ill to collect their food parcel from the Centre are assisted through our home based care unit whereby caregivers visit them in their homes at least once a week
The Care Centre has adopted 500 families onto this system. If one takes into consideration that each person represents at least 2 more people at home, we can safely say that indirectly this programme reaches over 1500 people.
Families adopted onto this system represent the poorest of the poor, receive no government grants or are severely ill
Impact of Nutritional Support on Beneficiaries
The best way to assess the impact of the Nutritional support on our beneficiaries is to share the stories of the people who benefit from the programme:
One such example is a young lady by the name of Thobeka. Thobeka lives with her blind mother, who now has full blown AIDS and is very ill. Thobeka has a little sister, about two years old that she took care of as her mother got weaker and weaker. Earlier this year Thobeka missed almost 6 months of school as a result of this, but was determined to go back and make a success of it. She came to the Centre seeking help, and through our Community Health Practitioners Unit, we are now able to send a caregiver to the house to assist the mom and baby, while Thobeka does her best to catch up with school. A visit to the house has shaken us all as we try to imagine Thobeka living in a tiny shack, cooking on an open fire and then studying by candlelight. Her drive to succeed, and get up and go to school every day is an inspiration. Although the mother is still extremely ill, she is doing much better now that the Caregivers bring the weekly food parcel to their home. Since she has started on the weekly food parcel programme, her health has increased significantly compared to when we found her. In addition the Care Centre provides a milk formula for Lisalihle, Thobeka’s baby sister.
We thank you for having the heart and the passion to recognize and address the problems that people such as Thobeka are faced with. We are deeply grateful to all of you for making these successes possible!
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