My World in a Garden - Sister Walls

by My Arms Wide Open
Play Video
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
My World in a Garden - Sister Walls
GirlsRunPeriod - A Marathon
GirlsRunPeriod - A Marathon

Welcome!

It has been a tumultuous 3 months. South Africa is finally getting some COVID-19 vaccines, thanks to generosity of countries like Canada, but not nearly enough to support our 48 million people.

Through it all we've had to get very creative with travel restrictions, lockdowns, and the general health of the population at risk because of the pandemic. In this update we like to share what's happening and what we've been up to, to increase support for our communities.

GirlsRunPeriod

We had sent a mention of the new annual event we've started, The Annual GirlsRunPeriod Marathon, which of course had to be put into modified format for this year because of the pandemic. The concept is a play off the Bergnek community business GirlStuffPeriod.org and is being done in conjunction with our partners in Kenya, Nigeria, and Canada and most notably Africa Trade Desk, in Canada which serves businesses and women empowerment in all of Africa.

This year we're running the event as a virtual run/marathon because of restrictions globally and are looking for participants and sponsors. If this is something you'd like to participate in, please visit the registration site here to register for the event. If you decide to participate and want to make your contributions through any of our projects here on GlobalGiving, please do and just drop us a note that that is what you are doing and where you'd like your money to go.

What is the GirlsRunPeriod Event all about?

GirlsRunPeriod promotes girl’s education, wellbeing, & health by providing school age girls with washable, reusable menstrual kits, encouraging physical fitness and tourism, while supporting local women and girls’ economic activities through annual Marathons in African locations.

The proceeds from the annual events will go to support women in disadvantaged communities in Africa, including Bergnek, to help them to identify and establish more autonomous, community-based businesses that will help reduce their dependence on external sources and provide a sustainable source of income for the women participating. That in turn will support their families and ultimately their communities.

REMEMBER: You can participate in the virtual or in-person runs by registering at the link above and through any of our GlobalGiving projects by dropping us a note when you make a donation on GlobalGiving. 

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#TakeAction

There are many ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we count on you and the people you know to help us, help girls in many communities in South Africa.

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Girls deserve to be present at school
Girls deserve to be present at school

Setting the Stage

We are finally at a point where Keith can travel to the Bergnek Community again. COVID-19 has been a global struggle and the restrictions in South Africa created absolute isolation for the community. The podcasts are now beginning, and we wanted to give you all some background on what is to come. This is a transcript of the opening to the second of the podcasts, which you can find on 

Interviewer: Imagine this. You are black, living and working on a white Afrikaaner farm. You have housing and food but very little pay so no means to move away. It’s 1997. Apartheid has ended. With this came changes in tenure and the Land Reform Act - introduced to help address historical injustices, especially those resulting from land dispossession of the black majority. The changes mean that food and housing can no longer be considered as part of your pay. The ironic consequence is that you can’t afford to stay there, so you’re evicted: one of 1,300 relocated to form a community called Bergnek. Your name is Keabetswe Keith Mosumane.

Keith: Living in the farms, had its up and down, but moving into Bergnek, things were better back then, it was more like coming out of Egypt into Canan. At the time I was young and ignorant of what was happening around me.

Interviewer: Situated in dry bush, Bergnek is 45 kilometres from the nearest major city, Polokwane, and 300 kilometers north of Johannesburg. The closest hospital is more than 40 kilometres away in the opposite direction. Transport is expensive.  Sanitation is rural at best. Access to water remains difficult. During 2003-2011 there was no real access to water in Bergnek at all. The very same farmers that had once employed the people of Bergnek would sell them water from a truck in the afternoons and evenings. There is a small school but few jobs and little means to develop the skills of the people who live there. Most of the people in Bergnek are unemployed and live on one meal a day. The community is short of about 350 houses.

Keith: For a community like ours, we are almost forgotten when it comes to services delivery, No access to transportation, No clinic, poor access to water and sanitation and high rate of unemployment. For the youth its access to information, that can help them make informed decisions on the studies and future goals

Interviewer: The government has promised resources every election cycle, but what’s really available and how to get it is not clear. Lack of transparency and awareness of individual and legal rights along with restricted education, makes it difficult to access and manifest these resources.

That was the reality for Keabetswe (Keith), who’s now father of 3, living with his family in a suburb of Johannesburg, but forever committed to breaking through the challenges faced by the people who live in his home community of Bergnek. Keabetswe and I have been connected since 2013. We were introduced by Warren Te Brugge: the founder of a BC based charity, My Arms Wide Open. Keabetswe shared his story at the Impact Economy Summit that The Citizens Media held here where I’m broadcasting from, in Whistler BC back in 2015. 

So much has happened since then. Super excited to at last introduce you in what will be a series of conversations shared through Imagine Your Impact Podcasts, during which we’ll be inviting you – not just to listen – but to ask questions to those living in Bergnek too. Our intention is to give the people a voice and – in so doing – deliver meaningful insight for developing and supporting solutions that can help them and their community – and the many others like them – to develop opportunities in sustainable and autonomous small businesses that mean they can take care of themselves and each other with the dignity and pride they deserve.

So how can you get involved?

Ever think about how money impacts our ability to bridge divides? We all need it, and most of us want as much as we can. Yet money works so the more you have, the easier it is to make even more, which makes reducing divides hard to do. Whether you keep it or give it away, the difference in our ability to make money creates conflict and affects our sense of self-worth.

Now more than ever, it’s time for change.  

Hello and welcome to ‘Imagine Your Impact’ Podcasts: conversations that explore how the voice of the people, and changing the way we exchange value, can bridge our divides.

I’m Caroline Smalley, your host and co-founder of The Citizens Media

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#TakeAction

There are many ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we count on you and the people you know to help us, help girls in many communities in south Africa.

Share your Excitement

We ask that you forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.org.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as a donor, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and are always grateful for you our supporters, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too. 

We won't give up on the communities we serve, and we know you won't either!

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Waiting for Water
Waiting for Water

We are presenting our report update this time around using video and we really hope you enjoy the format. In the video our founder, Warren will talk about the challenges over the past year and what we're looking forward to this year.

Watch the update here: https://youtu.be/GlKE2wySGr4 

Watch for us in the Little by Little Campaigns, the first of which is coming up March 8-12, 2021 and of course in the  International Women's Week campaign running the same week. It is going to be busy and we are excited for both!

#TakeAction

There are multiple ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we are counting on you and the people you know to take action.

Share your Excitement!

Please forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as donors, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and especially for those of you who give to the MyArmsWide Open projects every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too.

Don't give up on the communities we serve, we certainly won't either!

Links:

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Masks made by GirlStuffPeriod.org
Masks made by GirlStuffPeriod.org

Rainet is the manager of the GirlStuffPeriod.org community business as well as being one of the owners and we asked her how things were on the ground in Bergnek as South Africa's COVID-19 spirals out of control. There are economic, as well as social pressures, affecting the state of the pandemic in South Africa and this is having a knock-on effect in other areas. There are reported increases in violence on women and children as well as the infection rates related to HIV and Tuberculosis.

Rainet's Response to our question: Life at Bergnek in midst of Corona virus

The situation is very bad, a lot of people no longer go to work. COVID-19 has affected a lot of people’s income, it has also affected schooling, kids are no longer going to school, the last time there were at school was around March this year.

The new normal is a struggle for people, especially in our community of Bergnek. Unfortunately most people in the community do not bother wearing masks when they go about their business around the community. They only wear masks when they go into Polokwane.

There is no social distancing in the community, especially when people are fetching water, you will find people grouped together without thinking of the consequences of their actions. At the moment there’s only one water pump working because the municipality has not kept the maintenance up, and people are being forced to buy water from nearby farmers, with little money they have , even though some the people no longer have an income. They are forced to make ends meet.

The corona virus has made things worse economical , most people are now going to work, 2-3 days  a week, and thereby getting less salary, but the cost of leaving keeps on rising

Life is no longer the same, this is becoming our new normal. We need to change how we are doing things.

Rainet 

#TakeAction

There are multiple ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we are counting on you and the people you know to take action.

Share your Excitement!

Please forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as donors, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too.

Don't give up on the communities we serve, we certainly won't either!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
We matter
We matter

In the past few updates I had let you know we would be starting interviews with community members to document their life journey's and the experiences they have had with us (you, me and My Arms Wide Open) to date. These interviews will give you insight into the experience on the ground and how your contributions and donations have helped the community grow and overcome challenges. Some have been very successful; some need more work and so we adapt to create the changes needed.

Changing circumstances for women and children

Each of the My Arms Wide Open and Bergnek Community Projects initiatives revolves around a common theme; changing circumstances for women and children. It's about enabling women and children to change the circumstances they were born into. Their circumstances don't define them, that's just what they were born into and these women are already proving to be so much more. Practically, it's not about categorizing them as their circumstances but helping to change the circumstances where they are, to enable them to create the positive changes they deserve.

Some of the things the women and people of Bergnek are doing to change circumstances for women and children include their community based business, GirlStuffPeriod.org and their Pads against Bullying initiative. Both programs support girls getting back into school, by providing them with menstrual supplies they don’t have or can’t afford. My World in a Garden helps to keep girls in school by providing the food they need, supporting the Pads Against Bullying program. These programs create the environment where they don't have to leave the classroom to find food; The health clinic will provide support for girls, expectant mothers, children and other community members. One Brick at a Time is designed to help create employment, focused on women. 

A message from Keabetswe (Keith)

My Circumstances do not define me

My name is Keabetswe Keith Mosumane I grew up in the rural community of Bergnek in Limpopo, in the Northern part of South Africa. There is no employment back home, and so I now live and work in Johannesburg with my wife and kids. My mother lives back home at Bergnek. After the loss of my son, Keith Jr., in 2008 God blessed me with three more kids, my daughter Bontle, who is now 11, my son Karabo, who is 9 years old, and Lebogang who is the youngest at 4. My kids are the heartbeat of my life. If you'd like to read more about my story, you can read about it here.

Why I chose to help change circumstances for women and children 

The loss of my son gave me a burning desire to change the circumstances for women and children in the community of Bergnek. In 2011 I co-founded a number of community development initiatives that were aimed at empowering and supporting woman, youth and the children of Bergnek. We are doing this through sustainable business ventures, that focus on Education, Food Security, Water & Sanitation, and Infrastructure and Leadership development within the community. The community has a population of +- 4500 people and its located 40km (21 miles) outside Polokwane (which is the nearest large town). The community has no clinic, although there is a Mobile clinic that comes twice a month.

“Health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being and access to health care systems is necessary to fulfill this right. There is a close relationship between poverty, ill-health and limitations in access to health services. It is widely recognized that poverty extends beyond deprivation of income and material assets, Poverty is also connected to lack of opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle. In this respect, health services, along with food, water, sanitation, knowledge and education, can be considered necessary conditions for good health. In order to alleviate poverty and contribute to better lives for the under privileged in our society it is necessary to address this complexity and focus on the interconnections between the many elements of poverty and health.”

                                                                                                               - Keith Mosumane, Bergnek Community Projects -

Poverty is rampant across South Africa

Despite the relative wealth of South Africa compared to other countries in the region, poverty is still rampant for a large majority of the population, and access to basic health care is still out of reach. The rural areas, like our community of Bergnek, are under-served and historically most neglected. People don't choose to be born into these circumstances, they simply are and often they are then forgotten. The only time the government officials thinks of us, is during elections when they need votes.  It’s during these election campaigns, that our youth are sold an entitlement mentality for government to do everything for them. This in turn becomes a problem in our society where people become dependent on the government to do everything for them. This has stifled small business and the dreams of the young people.

My goals and dreams

My goal is to help improve the lives of people in my community and break the cycle of poverty. My ultimate dream is to help build a community healthcare center in remembrance of my lost son.

I realize that these are very difficult financial times, but I would greatly appreciate any donation that you would consider giving, no matter how small.

Please contact me and share your thoughts with me through the comments and sign up for our newsletter.

I hope you and your family stay safe and healthy.  Wash your hands, practice social distancing, and remember to wear your mask. I'll be writing more next week

Until then ................

Keabetswe Keith Mosumane

#TakeAction

There are multiple ways for you to help and support girls in the program and we are counting on you and the people you know to take action.

Share your Excitement!

Please forward this project report to 2 friends or begin your own fundraising page for the cause here on GlobalGiving.

We are grateful for your ongoing support and for all you, as donors, have already done to create positive change in the Bergnek community, and especially for those of you who give to the GirlStuffPeriod project every month. Thank you for your contributions, your messages and for sharing the work we do with the wonderful people of Bergnek. We appreciate you and the people of Bergnek most certainly do too. 

Don't give up on the communities we serve, we certainly won't either!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

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Organization Information

My Arms Wide Open

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada
Website:
Twitter: @MyArmsWideOpen
Project Leader:
Warren Te Brugge
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
$8,001 raised of $55,000 goal
 
184 donations
$46,999 to go
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