Nov 10, 2017

November 2017 Report

Some beneficiaries at last year's distribution
Some beneficiaries at last year's distribution

Dear friends

The shops in Port Elizabeth are all decked out in fairy lights and attractive decorations while festive music plays in the background.  Where has the year gone!  Beautiful cards depicting snowy scenes, and warm fires are all around – in great contrast to the sunny weather we have during the December period! 

It made me think of our own associations with the holidays.  If you are fortunate, we imagine your home to be filled with the great aromas of a beautifully cooked meal, the sounds of laughter, and perhaps a few presents wrapped in pretty paper.

In Missionvale, the scenario is much different.  The tiny homes (some built from brick, some from rusted metal) reach extremely hot temperatures which do not abate at night time due to the lack of ventilation.  For most of the children here, there are no gifts waiting, and food is as scarce as it has been throughout the rest of the year.  This year times are particularly tough as the economy has contracted terribly and the effects of massive job losses filter through to hit the poorest hardest.

Since our founder, Sr Ethel, started the Centre in 1988, she has always wanted to bring a little bit of magic to Missionvale around this time of year!  She started humbly, on the back of a donkey cart, handing out red balloons to the children!  Nearly three decades later, we now collect 5500 presents which are distributed to the little ones in the second week of December.  The parcels are modest and consist mostly of second hand toys or stationery needed for school.  This is achieved solely through donations received locally, as the red tape and costs involved in receiving items from abroad has made it impossible for us.   

It is therefore with deep gratitude that we are writing to you to thank all of you for giving throughout the year!  It is these donations that keep us going despite very trying circumstances at the moment.  Every morning, our staff come together to remember you in thanksgiving prayer.  With every food parcel we were able to purchase, you also helped us to give back a sense of hope; and in this downtrodden township, hope is everything.  With the funds raised through GlobalGiving, we have purchased 9467 food parcels which served 500 families for 18 weeks!

   

This boy was so surprised and so happy!
This boy was so surprised and so happy!

Links:

Aug 11, 2017

August 2017 Report

Brian at the end of the work day
Brian at the end of the work day

Dear friends

We are often asked about the true impact of our programs, and so we are always very glad to have an opportunity to share the success stories that are made possible because of your kind and continued contributions through Global Giving.

Brian* is a long time beneficiary of the Care Centre.  He is an intelligent young man, and at times would get lay work as a bricklayer or a painter.  Jobs are scarce though and Brian grew more and more despondent about life.  He started drinking uncontrollably and contracted Tuberculosis. 

We saw his body language changing to that of a completely broken man, and an ugly sense of entitlement started to emerge.

Brian needed love and care, but also practical things like food.  Instead of simply adding him to our list of weekly food parcel beneficiaries, we started giving him odd jobs to do around the Centre; things like paving, cleaning etc.

It was all unpaid, but because of people like you, we were able to offer him a food parcel as a reward. 

Over time, we saw Brian’s posture become prouder, more upright.  He has started drinking less.  He shares his food parcel with his daughter and his parents.  Brian has shown a keen interest in our community garden and now comes faithfully every morning to tend to his vegetables.

Because of your donations, we were not only able to assist him with his immediate physical needs, we were able to restore his sense of dignity and for that we can never thank you enough.

With every contribution, we are able to touch another life.  And with every person we reach, we indirectly reach their loved ones too.  We hope this fact will bring you much comfort and joy. 

With all our gratitude and love from Missionvale.

*Name has been changed 

Links:

May 15, 2017

May 2017 Report

Representatives from Missionvale USA visiting us!
Representatives from Missionvale USA visiting us!

Dear friends

Two very exciting things happened the last few months!

1.  A visit from GlobalGiving

There is no photograph, report or video that will ever compare to visiting the Centre and experiencing it in "real life".  We are always deeply grateful for the opportunity to show people IN PERSON what a huge difference their efforts and contributions have made, and we got this chance when two wonderful representatives from GlobalGiving came to see us.  This is part of the vetting process that gives YOU, our valued donors, the peace of mind that your donations are going to a legitimate cause and that we are utilizing your funds in accordance with our plea and our promise to serve the poorest of the poor through nutrition.  We were very touched by the genuine interest and enthusiasm of the Global Giving team, and learned more about the fantastic matching initiatives and corporate giving that is made possible from this website.  It also gave us the chance to talk about Missionvale USA - a registered 501c organisation based in the States that is also helping us to raise funds.  (See the link to their website below :)  Donations to Missionvale USA are tax deductible and are sent to us on a bi-annual basis.  I meet with their volunteer board of trustees once every quarter via Skype and representatives from the board visit us roughly every 18 months.  Their website and Facebook page is a great source of information about some of the other programmes we offer and we invite all of you to have a look! Of the funds they raise, we receive 98 % with the remaining 2 % covering small administrative costs like bank charges etc.

2.  Community members giving back

The second wonderful thing that happend still gives me goosebumps!  A few weeks ago, three young men from Missionvale requested a meeting with me.  Their names are Fumi, Ian and Lucky.  Lucky has just finished studying marketing and is currently doing his internship at a local signage company.  Fumi and Ian are both in their second years of study in the marketing and graphic design fields respectively.  This is how the conversation started:

"Mam, we are from Missionvale, born and bred here and we have seen the impact the Missionvale Care Centre has on this community.  We have no money to give you.  We have no clothes to donate.  BUT, we have some skills we would like to offer you.  If you have a need for marketing material, design work, or need a hand with public relations, we would love the opportunity to give back."

We had a lovely meeting and I gave them one or two things to work on and we had the follow-up meeting this week.  They arrived with a proposal and some great ideas and are going to work on some further items for us, including assisting with our Youth Development Progamme we are exploring.  As the meeting drew to a close, they shared some of their memories with me, growing up in Missionvale. They told me how the food kept them going, how they always felt safe and loved coming to the centre and the huge excitement and joy they felt around Christmas time as they knew there would be something special waiting for them at the Centre!  Their parting words struck a deep chord in me.

"You see mam, through the Centre's activities, we have been paid long before we even started working."

We hope that this lifts your spirit as much as it did ours and that you know that it is because of your support that these successes are possible.  Who knows what else will follow!

With love and gratitude from all of us in Missionvale.

Links:

 
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