Feb 13, 2017

February 2017 Report

Dear friends

At a recent celebration, the gorgeous children in our school choir performed two songs.  One was accompanied by an African drum, played by a young girl named *Gemma.  I was getting quite choked up by this particular performance as I saw her putting her heart and soul into every drum beat and her face lit up with pure joy as she proudly sang along with her peers.  When I started working here in Missionvale, Gemma was still a little girl who used to hide under my desk!  She had such a vivacious character and we used to joke and say how we should make a TV series about her called “The adventures of Gemma and friends”!  At the time she was not going to school and I recall how terribly hungry she was. 

We got to know Gemma, her family, and her circumstances.  Although she is not orphaned, her home life is very difficult and they are desperately poor.

Over time, and because of people like you, we have been able to reach out to her and her family through practical means:  a weekly food parcel, a school for Gemma, medical care for her mother when she was ill and a safe place for Gemma to play in the afternoons.  Gemma has grabbed every opportunity with both hands and participates in every extra mural activity possible! 

It is wonderful to see her progressing so well and looking so much healthier than she did.  We are thrilled that she has taken to both academics and the social and cultural aspects of school.  However, we must never forget that she would not have been able to partake in any of these, if she did not have basic nutrition to sustain her.  It is unimaginable to think that if it were not for this centre, and for your kind, generous and continuous donations, that Gemma and her family, would have nothing to eat. 

Your hard earned contributions mean the world to us, and with every dollar, you are providing much more than food.  You are providing energy, hope and the starting point for a changed life.  We are indebted to you forever.

To see a video of the choir, click on the link below (forward 4 minutes in):



*Names have been changed to protect the identity of our beneficiaries


Nov 17, 2016

November 2016 Report

Thankful little ones arriving for food
Thankful little ones arriving for food

Dear friends

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”  - Mother Theresa

I came across this well-known quote by Mother Theresa recently and immediately I thought about all the people that come to our Centre every day.  The need here is so big it would frighten anyone.  Outside our nutrition unit people wait patiently in the seemingly endless queue, and the ones towards the back are wear painful expressions of angst – angst that there will not be enough, which sadly is often the case.

Our only hope is in you, and even though you as individuals cannot each feed the masses, every bit you have given in the past year, has helped us in getting life giving food to those who need it most – one at a time, surviving day after day.

As we are hurtling towards the end of 2016, I thought I would share a few statistics with you that were recorded during our past financial year. 

1294                Clothing parcels were distributed                 

176567            Families received Bread and Soup  

32851              Weekly food parcels were distributed                       

6521                Home Based Care visits were done

526                  Patients were treated in the Women’s Clinic

1962                Patients were treated in the Surgery

308                  Patients received Physiotherapy

323                  Vegetable Gardens Created                        

4496                Children received a Christmas present

5000                Families received a Christmas Food Parcel

290                  Pupils attend our school

When we do tours around our Centre, we mention these numbers to the visitors.   Of course, each number represents a life.

Mother Theresa said that she never looked at the masses as her responsibility.  She looked at the individual.  And so she began, by picking up one person.  For our founder, Sr Ethel, it is the same – maybe if she didn’t pick up one person, she wouldn’t have picked up 100 000! 

Our deepest gratitude goes to you for every single person that you have helped through your kind and generous contributions via GlobalGiving.  You are the reason we can continue our vital services, and you are the reason thousands of people in this township have hope to face another day.  Thank you.


Aug 19, 2016

Report due

Dear friends

On the 24th of June this year, we marked a very special occasion – the launch of our Strategic Plan entitled “Building on our Strengths”. 

The event was held at the Care Centre and attended by local friends, donors, supporters and of course, our VIP’s – the community of Missionvale.

Our Strategic Plan addresses the issue of preserving and sustaining Missionvale Care Centre into the future, encompassing the values of respect, dignity and compassion that Sister Ethel has become synonymous with.

Sister Ethel beautifully and eloquently wrote the foreword:

“Dear friends – dear, dear friends

I owe you so much!  And it’s time to tell you though I know you know.  Where would I be now if it were not for your trust and love down 28 years? 

Time!  Yes it’s all we have – long or short – and how grateful I am to you for the time that we have spent together.

Down the years I have wondered what led me here, and every day brings its answer.  Many of you reading this may ask “do you remember?” and again do you remember?

Yes, I remember so much and can relate many good and wonderous times, and sadly many experiences of destruction.

It has been a long journey on the dusty footpaths of Missionvale, one that started in 1988 with nothing but hope in my heart and a rucksack on my back, but along the way I have encountered humanity at its best.

The awesome welcome from the people of Missionvale and their acceptance of this ordinary girl from Lissycasey began and never ended.  As we shared life together I was challenged to enter into their fears, illness, pain, hunger, loneliness, tears, despair, agony, forgiveness, joy, laughter, births and deaths, and I found myself crying out “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

The vision of Missionvale Care Centre as you know it today came through listening to the voices and foresight of the people and it was in a gathering under the tree that I asked them what we would call what we hoped would emerge and unequivocal they said “A Care Centre”.  That gave birth to the organisation.

It was then that I turned to you the people of the greater Port Elizabeth, and afar, and your trust in me became the wind beneath my wings!  How can I ever, ever tell you what it meant to me and how do I thank you?

Those who know me know that I enjoy telling stories (a trait I inherited from my father) and I could go on forever on the story of Missionvale.  It’s like a tapestry!  We have come so far together living in, and embracing the evolving future.  You can proudly look back on the legacy you have created, but you are an integral part of the future to maintain it, and grow it into the future through the Strategic Plan.  You may have paged through the document already and you will have seen that it has been well researched through discussions from stakeholders and key partners, both here and far away.

In today’s challenging economic environment longevity and sustainability is critical to the success of any organisation.  Missionvale is no exception.  As such in reading this document you will appreciate that hours of consultation, planning, passion and commitment has gone into this.

The struggle of the people of Missionvale has not ended, and therefore the execution of the bold objectives of this document will require all hands on deck. 

I humbly appeal to you that we work together in sharing the new energy brought about by this plan in taking ownership of the tasks and work that still has to be done in serving the people of Missionvale as you did in the past.  We can do it.

Once again I would like to thank each one of you from my heart’s core for all you mean to me and have done.  To the Little Company of Mary who gave me the opportunity to live our charism as best I could – thank yo.

With open arms I love every one of you, and I ask God each day to bless you to journey’s end.”

It is my great privilege to share a copy of this plan with you all, and I hope that you will find something in it that will resonate with your own values of humanity.

We are so deeply grateful to you for the support we have received through the GlobalGiving platform, and hope that you will take comfort in knowing that any contributions made to our cause, are sustainable interventions directly impacting on the poorest of the poor.

We look forward to our continued relationship and so grateful again being the recipients of your generosity!

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