Since we last reached out, we've been busy making sure that our South African partner, Vumundzuku-bya Vana/Our Children's Future (VVOCF), continues to address the needs of orphans, vulnerable children and youth in the Zonkizizwe community. During this time, those who previously threatened us with eviction have remained quiet. More importantly, Nomusa Buthelezi, VVOCF's executive director, has expressed interest in keeping the center on the land where it is currently located.
Although we are committed to the goal of helping VVOCF secure ownership of its land, I can't help but think of Dr. Paul Farmer's comments about the process of accompaniment:
"To accompany someone is to go somewhere with him or her, to break bread together, to be present on a journey with a beginning and an end.[It's] about sticking with a task until it's deemed completed-not by the accompagnateur, but by the person being accompanied."
Nomusa has by no means deemed the task of securing land ownership as complete. Instead, she has applied a flexible mind to the problem. Recognizing that securing new land may not be the best option for the center, she has decided to stay put. Having continued conversations about land ownership for VVOCF as part of a coalition representing several community-based organizations, Nomusa has developed a working relationship with a representative from the Department of Social Development who is working with her to apply for funding from the South African government.
Even with Nomusa's hard work and our hope for better days ahead, the future remains uncertain. As we close the chapter of securing new land, we enter a new chapter-one with a focus on developing the resources necessary to help VVOCF and the orphans, vulnerable children and youth it serves to thrive.
You have been vital to our success in pursuing the possibility of land ownership. While government bureaucracy and inaction thwarted our initial plans, your support has helped VVOCF continue to serve 50-60 orphans, vulnerable children and youth every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We look forward to sharing specific examples of how your support has helped the children, youth and families served by the center.
In the meantime, we wanted to say thank you-for donating, for raising awareness and for widening the circle of your family to include all those we serve. Your encouragement inspires us, and your commitment carries us forward.
With immense gratitude and deepest thanks,
In thinking about how to write this report, I was struck by a quote from Yugoslavian-born poet, essayist, philosopher and businessman, Dejan Stojanovic: "Dreams are our only geography—our native land." What struck me about this quote is the truth that it conveys, particularly in the South African context. While apartheid kept its crippling grip on black South Africans, the majority of the country's citizens could only possess dreams of a better future. Despite a renewed democracy and some progress, dreams are still one of the few things the majority of South Africans can possess.
Nowhere else is this truer than at VVOCF. Although Nomusa has worked tirelessly—through individual and collective means—to gain rightful ownership of the unoccupied land that will ensure VVOCF's stability, the governmental bureacracy has been incapable of granting her a deed. This failure continues to render VVOCF's programs surviving, but stagnant. More importantly, it leaves the children, youth and families VVOCF serves—children, youth and families who receive VVOCF's services because of their vulnerable status—even more vulnerable to the issues that plague the ill and the poor.
As we continue to enable Nomusa to get up each day and confront the constant injusitces, we ask for your patience. Securing this land has not proven easy, and we believe it will remain just as difficult. Still, we are committed to achieving this goal and seeing this project through.
Thank you for your support and ecnouragement. We will continue to keep you posted on our progress.
It's been a year since we launched our effort to save an orphan care center in South Africa. With your support, the center is still standing. Yet the move to new, more stable land remains elusive. Despite many attempts by Nomusa Buthelezi, Vumundzuku-bya Vana/Our Children’s Future (VVOCF)’s executive director, the government has yet to grant VVOCF permission to legally occupy the new land we identified a year ago. Nevertheless, Nomusa is stronger and more resolute than ever. She and her team of volunteers continue to meet the needs and address the issues of the roughly 50 children/youth who come to the center to receive services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These services include providing a meal for each child/youth and helping children/youth with their homework and other school assignments. As a result of their efforts, most of the children/youth served by the center are set to pass their current grade in school. Just as hopeful, the government has ceased its attempts to force VVOCF from its existing location, at least for the time being. We will continue to support Nomusa and her team and hold fast onto the dream of relocating the center in a more sustainable location. We thank you, as always, for your support and your patience, and we look forward to keeping you informed of our progress in the new year.
We've spent the past few months waiting for word from the South African government to move onto our new land. In order to move legaly, they have to issue a formal letter. To date, we have not received that letter, but we remain hopeful that it will come soon. Nomusa is in contact with the government officials and is working with them so that once she gets the word, the move can happen smoothly and swiftly.
In the meantime, she and her team of volunteers continue to serve many children on the center's current grounds. They have been providing much-needed meals to help keep the kids healthy. And they're developing educational programming (e.g., tutoring) to help kids with their homework and other assignments.
We'll keep you informed of how things progress. Thanks so much for your patience.
With warm and kind regards,
You're support is making a difference—one brick, one window, and one door at a time.
As you can see, we haven't moved in just yet. We're still installing the plumbing and getting the water systems up to code. But we're almost there. And you're the reason why!
We want to thank you again for your support. Not only are you helping us transform an undeveloped patch of land into our partner site's new home. You're also creating a place of love. Or as our partners say, "Indawo Yothando."
And you're investing in our children's future. Each day, children come to VVOCF hungry and malnourished. With your help, they are being fed and growing stronger day by day.
As we go through this transition, your support is nurturing them with pap—a local, corn meal staple fortified with much-needed vitamins and minerals. Once we get settled on the new land, VVOCF will be free from the fear of eviction. And the organization can focus on making sure that all of the children it serves grow up to reach their full potential.
Thanks again for all you do. Your gifts mean so much to all of us!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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