Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

A Monday Blessing

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May this Franciscan blessing encourage you during the week ahead. (We have it stuck to our office message board 🙂 )

May God bless you with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.

May God bless you with anger. Anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.

May God bless you with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. Amen.

May God bless you with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

And the blessing of God, who creates, redeems and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen.

(Photograph by irene gr, via Flickr.com)

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That Was Different

Would you cycle around the peninsula in a dinosaur costume? Sounds a bit crazy but that’s exactly what Dino-boy is doing to raise money for TWD. He’s doing something different to make a difference – and you could too! Visit http://www.thatwasdifferent.net for more info 🙂

Volunteer Q&A – Paradigm Shift

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Full name: Rose Reddy

Congregation: Rondebosch AM

Occupation: Order Facilitation Manager

How long have you been a volunteer at Paradigm Shift? Since February 2012

When do you go and for how long? Thursdays for about 1 ½ hours

Can you explain what you do while you’re there? I assist with setting up for the Discipleship and Business Training Sessions. This entails putting out the training material on the tables, writing out the key learning areas on the board and putting up the visual aids. You either assist as one of the table trainers or one of the facilitators of the training. Table trainers assist with facilitating discussions and group activities at a table of about 5 to 6 entrepreneurs – very interesting and stimulating!

Can you tell us a bit about Paradigm Shift? The Paradigm Shift programme is a highly interactive training course designed to empower entrepreneurs with business skills at whatever level of education one is at and even those who do not speak English as a first language. It is designed in a way that encourages and challenges entrepreneurs to apply learnt skills through daily application, group discussions and written work in the workbooks and weekly challenges they do on their own.

Did you have any concerns about volunteering? I cannot say I had any concerns as I took comfort in the knowledge that God would be right there with me and he would give me the courage and confidence I needed to stand in front of people and facilitate. I always invited the Holy Spirit to be with me. It was also a great help to prepare thoroughly to ensure that you knew the material well. Prayer during my quiet times, before and after each session, was a great comfort for me.

What are  some of the challenges you face in volunteering? The difference in language is a challenge one faces when engaging with entrepreneurs, as many of the students are foreign nationals. It does get better when you start to engage one-on-one and you are able to explain concepts slowly and in simple language. What keeps me going is the belief that this work is God’s purpose and that he has chosen me to be part of it and I consider it a privilege to be used in such a manner. I always felt God’s presence with me while I was in the front facilitating a lesson. Every time I started feeling a little nervous, I was reminded that God was speaking through me and that he would always give me the words to speak to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your volunteer experience? My most fulfilling experience as a volunteer was seeing the entrepreneurs grow in their business, grow in their confidence and their spiritual growth. Their enthusiasm and willingness to participate in all aspects of the lessons was also really encouraging. I enjoyed engaging with the entrepreneurs and the other volunteers and the team spirit was amazing. To be part of this initiative is an amazing blessing to me. I just feel so encouraged by this programme. God  IS at work! In  us and through us,  and I ask the Holy Spirit to continue to show me where opportunities to serve present themselves and step up. I feel so privileged!

– If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Paradigm Shift, please email info@commongood.org.za. The next course is starting in March so you can sign up until the end of February. 

Response to Khayelitsha Fires

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On New Year’s Day, four thousand people lost their homes when a fire broke out in the informal settlements of Khayelitsha and Thembeni.  These communities had little in terms of infrastructure to protect them from the blaze and within a couple of hours, hundreds of families were left without shelter, clothing, food, or any basic supplies to survive. While the duration of the fire was relatively brief, the devastation it caused deeply affected those whose homes and possessions were destroyed.

When something of this magnitude happens right on our doorstep, it’s often hard to know how to respond to the overwhelming need. As Christ-followers, we are compelled by Christ’s love to care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our neighbours. We sent  out an appeal for donations from our church community and we were overwhelmed by the response.

Over R17 200 was donated to help in restoring the fire-affected communities and more than two truck loads of clothes were given. The clothes have been distributed to those affected through HDI Support and the money raised has gone to The Warehouse to be used through their fire disaster response. Thank you to everyone who contributed so generously.

For the people who lost their homes the process of rebuilding their community is going to be a long one. We ask that you continue to pray for all those involved, that they will feel Christ’s presence and that they will be sustained by his hope. We also ask that you pray for wisdom and guidance as decision-makers begin to decide how to restore these areas. We pray for protection over all those who have been made vulnerable by this fire and for a continued flow of resources to meet their daily needs.

Please contact The Warehouse if you would like more information on how you can get involved.

(Photograph courtesy of IOL News)

Thank You For Giving Hope!

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During the Christmas season, we launched our second annual Give Hope campaign – and thanks to everyone who supported by purchasing cards, we were able to raise R42 500 for Common Good initiatives!

That means:

–          149 fun-filled day outings for children from Izandla Zethemba’s HIV/Aids programme

–          167 new books for children in our literacy programme

–          79 nutritious food hampers for families

–          27 small business owners to attend the Paradigm Shift Business Training course

–          32 currently unemployed people to attend the NETwork computer course

–          Over R7000’s worth of building material and tools to upgrade and maintain children’s homes, schools and NGO’s

We are so inspired by the generosity and compassion of this community. Your support has helped positively impacted thousands of lives 🙂

What a wonderful way to kick off 2013!

Love,

The Common Good team

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