Living Social Justice

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

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Video: Have you heard of the 12 Campaign?

Did you know that one in every four people between the ages of 20 and 65 is unemployed in Cape Town? That’s a pretty scary statistic but you could be part of the solution. The 12 Campaign is an exciting opportunity to invest in the lives of 12 individuals and empower them with the skills and resources they need to build a better future. Watch the video:

Want to be a part of the change? Invest R1 850 per month for 12 months and enable 12 people to participate in the transformational Job Readiness Programme.

By signing up, you’ll receive a monthly mailer with a photo and an update on the individual benefiting directly from your contribution that month so you stay involved.

You’ll also be able to receive full tax benefits for the value of your contributions.

Click here to get involved or get more information.

6 Ideas for Mandela Day

For those of you who haven’t checked your calendar recently, this Thursday, 18 July, is Mandela Day! Haven’t yet thought of how you’re going to spend your 67 minutes? Don’t panic…

What are you doing this Thursday?

What are you doing this Thursday?

On the 18th of July every year, thousands of people celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday by giving 67 minutes of their time to do something that will help make the world a better place in honour of the man who dedicated his life to fighting for human rights.

Ideas range from fixing potholes in your street, to helping someone with their CV so they can apply for a job, to spending time with the kids at a children’s home.There really is no end to the number of things you can do to be a part of this day. But if you’re stuck for ideas, we’d love to help you out!

Here’s a list we’ve put together of some ways you can get in on the action in Cape Town:

1. Lend a hand at Newkidz’s Siviwe House Revamp in Woodstock

2. Team with Living Hope and clear alien invasive plants!

From 10am to 3pm on 18 July, help clear alien invasive plants from a property so that it can be used for agriculture, training and empowerment in the future! This will be happening at Living Hope’s head office in Sun Valley. Contact Mario on 073 279 9190 for more info.

3. Join Stop Hunger Now’s food packing event at Canal Walk

4. Get gardening and help renovate a playground at Westlake United Church Trust

A group is needed of around 5-8 people to help reseal playground equipment and do some general garden maintenance at WUCT in Westlake. The sealer and brushes will be provided, but you’ll need to bring your own gardening equipment. Email us if you’re interested.

5. Help out at U-turn

U-turn has a number of volunteer opportunities available, from helping sort clothing for their second-hand store to, if you’re keen for some heavy lifting, moving filing cabinets! You could also drop off soup or stew in disposable containers, or get a team together to help chop vegetables for the soup kitchen. For more info, email U-turn.

6. Join the Mandela Day Human Chain!

On Thurs, 18th July, between 1-2pm, a group of people will be joining hands along Klipfontein Road to form a human chain to symbolize Nelson Mandela’s dream of a unified, non-racial South Africa.  The Human Chain will span between Rondebosch – Athlone – Gugulethu. For more info, visit their Facebook page.

And if you’re still needing help, read our list of 67 ideas for Mandela Day from last year!

So what are you planning on doing? We’d love to hear 🙂

So what happened at Winter School?

During the first week of the school holidays, a team of 21 volunteers ran Winter School for 47 Grade 6 and 7 learners at Litha Primary School in Gugulethu. The volunteers helped teach maths and English, facilitate groups, prepare snacks and lunches, build team spirit – and had a lot of fun in the process! Here’s what one of the volunteers, Jacqui Mackenzie, had to say:

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The classroom was transformed for the week with bright posters

On the morning we arrived at Litha, the designated classroom was transformed by the volunteers from a dull room with dusty desks and chairs, stacked away for the holidays, into a vibrant, colorful teaching environment with posters and bunting to celebrate the Winter School theme: “South Africa: A rainbow nation”.

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Fritha teaching a group of students

Being a part of Winter School has really increased my passion for life like nothing else has. I loved that we could help the kids to learn by just being an example to them. It was also amazing to see what a difference it made by just listening to them and helping them one-on-one. I felt I really had the opportunity to impact individual children’s lives as the groups were small enough.

Some of the volunteers

Some of the  amazing volunteers

In breaks and during the outing, the volunteers shared promising stories about the students – and many laughs!

Outing Day to the ice-rink!

Outing Day to the ice-skating rink!

On Tuesday afternoon, after the ice-skating outing, a teacher from Litha highlighted that through Winter School we were actually protecting the children from what goes on in the community during the school holidays, where poverty, a lack of adult supervision and few productive activities can lead to destructive behaviour.

Jacqui leads the girls in a ballet class

Jacqui leads the girls in a ballet class

During a listening comprehension, we used a story about an eagle chick who grows up with chickens – and so starts acting like them! – to teach the children that they should never believe horrible things that are spoken about them and that they should never label anyone as anything less than what they are – a person who is made in the image of God.

One of the students hard at work during a maths game

One of the students hard at work during a maths game

I remember a friend  of mine once saying, “Don’t miss out on the blessing that comes from blessing others!” This was certainly true of Winter School – I have never felt richer or more blessed than after spending the week with this class of students. Thank you so much for providing the opportunity for us as Christ-followers to serve others.

– Jacqui Mackenzie is a third year Physiotherapy student Stellenbosch University. She serves at Ignite (the kids ministry for Grades 5-7) on Sunday mornings and is a member of the Common Ground Church Bosch PM congregation.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET INVOLVED?

Help impact education at Litha Primary School by joining the Saturday School team, which meets with this group of learners during term time. Saturday School runs from 9-11am on Saturday mornings, and volunteers get involved on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Email us to find out more!

Intense concentration needed during one of the lessons :)

Intense concentration needed during one of the lessons 🙂

Video: Bridge Walkers

What is a bridge walker, exactly? Well, it’s the name we came up with for the two sets of friends profiled in this short video clip. On the surface, they may not seem to have that much in common but they’re crossing cultural and racial divides to build  a friendship that is based on honesty, trust, sincerity and mutual understanding.

P.S. Great reads on this topic: Designed for Diversity, How I came to marry my umlungu, and Love across the colour line

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in building multi-cultural friendships? How did you overcome them?

Designed For Diversity

Andre Ntambwe shares how God placed him in a strange land surrounded by people from a different culture for a far greater purpose than he could have imagined.

In 2002, after I had moved from the DRC to Zambia, I received a prophesy from a man while praying on a rural mountain. He told me that God was going to take me out of the country and put me among people of another colour, and that I should never damage those relationships as they would ultimately be used for His glory.

At the time I didn’t fully understand what this prophesy meant, but now being a part of the leadership team of Common Ground Church Wynberg, a multi-cultural congregation in Cape Town, I can see the fulfilment of this prophesy as God uses me to minister to people of different nationalities and cultures every day. When I meet someone I don’t see their colour, or their culture, or their background. I see a fellow person created in God’s image. This is one thing we all have in common.

My own story reflects just how powerfully God can use friendships with people of a different colour and culture to impact and shape us. One of the friendships that had the deepest impact on me was when I met Steve and Sarah Binos. At the time, I  was really struggling to settle down in Cape Town and find a job that could cover my rent and food.They invited me to their home for lunch and we continued to stay in touch. I remember being struck by how interested they were in my life. I felt I could really share my story with them. Their hospitality and warmth meant more to me than they could ever have known.

It was also Steve and Sarah who first introduced me to the church that is now my spiritual home and community, which was then called Friends First and is now Common Ground Church. I wasn’t familiar with the area and I was surrounded by people who weren’t from my culture but as I walked through the building’s doors for the first time I felt God say, “You are finally where I want you to be.”

But it wasn’t always easy. At first I battled with some of the cultural differences. For example, I remember frequently being asked what I did for a living. This seemed like such an odd question to me as it wasn’t one we ever asked in my culture. I never really knew how to respond. I also felt sometimes that people would talk to me as though I knew nothing, or would make assumptions about the country I was from which I found offensive.

My wife also struggled to understand jokes which didn’t make sense to her. She would get offended by a comment someone would make about her clothes and I would have to explain to her that they were just joking.

What I realised is that it takes time. I joined a small group and became very good friends with a couple, Mickey and Jo Beley. By spending so much time together, I had the freedom to ask them questions or challenge them when I was unhappy about something. We could be completely honest with each other. This helped bridge any misunderstandings caused by our different backgrounds or upbringings.

Now I get so excited when I see the increased diversity in our congregation as I truly believe we can all help each other understand the scriptures better. There is no reason I can’t connect with someone from another culture, because we can all lay claim to a unified culture centred around Christ and not on our own upbringing. After all, Christ didn’t let culture or social status prevent him from befriending and loving people from all walks of life, and neither should we. God didn’t create such diversity for nothing. It’s shaping us on all sides.

Pic-30 – Andre is the founder of NETwork, a non-profit organisation which helps train and connect job-seekers to employment opportunities. He also serves on the leadership team of Common Ground Church Wynberg. He is married to Sabrina and has two young sons.

For a full account of Andre’s story, click here.

P.S. For more on this topic, read How I came to marry my ‘umlungu’ and Love across the colour line

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