Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa

by Missionvale Care Centre
Vetted

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!


Attachments:
A full tummy menas Surf
A full tummy menas Surf's Up!

About two years ago, our Community Health Practitioners met a young boy by the name of Zolani*.  At that time he was living with his mother in a small shack that leaked badly on rainy days.

The carers noticed that he was not well and referred him to our clinic where he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and Epilepsy.  We then started doing regular home visits and took the family food, clothing and ensured that Zolani was taking his medicine. 

After a year of treatment, and with no significant positive results, Zolani agreed to an HIV test, which sadly came back positive.  In addition a cancerous growth was found on his brain and he was sent to the Red Cross Hospital in December 2015.  Fortunately it was not needed to operate and the doctors were able to drain fluid from the growth.

Zolani is at a local Primary School, but after psychological assessments, it was found that he should be in a special needs school as he has learning difficulties.  Our careworkers managed to secure a spot for him with a school called Northern Lights, based in Port Elizabeth and he will start there next week.

In January this year, Zolani and two friends were playing on the side of a busy road in Missionvale.  They decided to go to the “dam” (a build-up of rain water in the area) and had to cross the road in order to get there.  They ran across, but sadly, one of the friends was disabled and could not run as fast as the others.  A speeding taxi hit him and tragically he died on the scene.  Zolani witnessed everything and was deeply traumatised.

We have ensured that he receives ongoing counselling.

On our staff we have a most wonderful and compassionate nurse who has taken a special interest in Zolani.  Her name is Annie, and outside of her work at the Care Centre, Annie is very involved with local surf teams.  As part of a fun day to introduce them to surfing, she took a couple of children from Missionvale (including Zolani) to the beachfront and a nearby skate park to see how well they could balance on a skateboard and Zolani showed real natural talent!  For some of the children it was the first time they had seen the ocean!  After a few similar “fun days”, 12 children were chosen to attend a fully sponsored “surfing camp” over the Easter weekend in March.  

The hours in the sun, the fun in the waves, the fellowship with other children from Missionvale – it all meant the world to Zolani and he has returned beaming from ear to ear.

However, his needs will be ongoing and it is ONLY because of people like you that we are able to care for him, and thousands other like him.  It is YOUR FUNDS that pay for his weekly food parcel.  YOUR FUNDS that make it possible for him to take his medication as he has something to eat.  And YOUR FUNDS that make it possible for him to have enough energy to enjoy life, to play, to surf. 

We cannot thank you enough.

 *Name has been changed to protect his identity

FB_IMG_1456050990927 (3).jpg
FB_IMG_1456050990927 (3).jpg

This week, a Facebook friend of mine shared this quote:

 

Medicine is not healthcare.

Food is health care.

Medicine is sick care.

It’s time we see it for what it is.

 

Isn’t this just so true? 

 

The seemingly endless queue outside Missionvale clinic is testimony to this.  It is here where we encounter devastating illness due to malnutrition.  Illnesses that could have been prevented!

 

Despite this harsh reality, it is really difficult to market this side of our Care Centre to potential donors.  It is the “not so sexy” side of fundraising, often seen as a short term intervention with no chance of ever being sustainable.  It is easier to justify corporate social investment spend on more tangible items such as books or stationery for a school, and although these are obviously necessary components, no learning will take place without nutrition.

 

Platforms like Global Giving give us the opportunity to share these truths with the world.  And it is through this platform that YOU bring desperately needed relief directly to the families most urgently in need here in the Missionvale Township.

At the moment, our country is in the midst of a devastating drought and food supply is a real concern.  While we are able to import food items, the cost of this means that we are likely going to face a 30 % increase* in some food items later this year, particularly maize based products which form the staple food of our poorest citizens. 

 

We cannot imagine things getting even tougher for the people of this community. 

 

Thank you for believing in our work, for relieving hunger and for giving us hope.  With your continued support we can face the difficult times ahead. 

 

With love and gratitude from all of us at Missionvale Care Centre

 

*This means that a food parcel that currently costs us around R35 (around $2.30) may cost us R45.50 ($2.98) by the end of 2016. 

MMC003.jpg
MMC003.jpg

Dear friends

Recently, a friend of ours posed the question: 

“What do you do when you are hungry?”

A very simple question.  Yet a thought provoking one when you compare it to the life of a person living in Missionvale.

For myself, the answer would be to look in the fridge and scratch in my cupboards.  If there wasn’t much (or even not much to my liking), I have the means to drive to a shop and purchase something.

Every day we are privileged enough to start our day without much thought for those cupboard doors opening and closing and how the contents ended up there. 

Our founder, Sr Ethel Normoyle, defines poverty as having no option in life.  In Missionvale, there is very little option on offer.  A simple question like:  “Would you like cereal or toast for breakfast?” is absolutely UNIMAGINABLE here. 

Every day I am absolutely overcome by the gratitude we see etched on the expressions from the people queuing for in line for hours to receive a half loaf of brown bread and a small cup of soup powder in return for some recyclable items. 

As I am typing this, I hear their beautiful African voices singing praise songs and I know many of them have their hands stretched out to the sky in deep gratitude to those who make their daily nutrition possible – YOU.  You are sincerely and gratefully remembered every day. 

Every contribution you send via Global Giving, is transformed into meeting a very basic, but crucial need – Nutrition.  But in doing so, you are also sending a message – someone cares.  It would be impossible for us to convey how much this message truly means to the people on the receiving end.  What we do know, is that it goes a long way to instilling a sense of dignity and pride in knowing that they still matter.  Thank you so, so much for that.

We wish you every blessing this festive season and into 2016.

Links:

Dear friends

It is with profound gratitude that we are able to write to you with another update on our life giving nutrition programme, made possible because of your kind and generous contributions!

The Nutrition Unit is only one part of our Care Centre, yet it integrates into everything else we do:  from the Primary School with its 288 learners, to our skills development programmes (vegetable gardens and craft making) and most importantly our clinic where state of the art healthcare is provided by volunteer doctors.  We’ve said it so many times before:  without Nutrition, no one would really benefit from any of these programmes.  It never ceases to amaze us to see the difference a little bit of food on a constant basis can make.  We are especially happy to see a child that was once so weak he could barely walk, now being able to play soccer with his friends!  We see mothers getting stronger and being able to live longer, despite the horrific reality of HIV and Aids in Missionvale. 

While there have been many successes, there have been many tragic losses too.  Our school principal reported that twelve children lost their parents or close family members in 2014, and up to now, a further five have suffered this incredible loss, leaving them orphaned and vulnerable.  It is for this reason that we have increased our fundraising target on Global Giving to $90 000, so that we can ensure our Nutrition Programme can continue to reach these families.  (Truth be told though, while the need is this big, the project will never be fully funded!)  The list of people waiting for assistance is three times as long as the people we are helping at the moment.  An overwhelming thought.  It is the ones that are not on the list that keep us awake at night, that prompt us to try harder, to do more, to seek more help.  And it is people like you who respond to that desperate plea that make it possible for us to continue another day. 

Normally we would add a few photographs to our report, but this time I thought we’d add a bit of life to them!  Last week I took a walk through the Centre with my cell phone handy and I took a short video showing the work that happens here on a daily basis.  To view the video, follow this link:  https://youtu.be/50DmQ1EY3js I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you again!  You are remembered every morning in thankful prayer by the children and families of this dusty township in South Africa!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Missionvale Care Centre

Location: Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Website: https:/​/​www.missionvale.co.za
Project Leader:
Linda van Oudheusden
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
$23,472 raised of $90,000 goal
 
 
445 donations
$66,528 to go
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