Living Social Justice

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

Archive for the tag “Izandla Zethemba”

Give Hope with Izandla Zethemba Fun Days

This Christmas, don’t just give another box of chocolates; instead purchase a Give Hope card and enable a child to attend a fun day… Here’s more about Izandla Zethemba and why these days out are the real gift.

Enjoying the thrills of chilly waves at an Izandla Zethemba beach day

Enjoying the thrills of chilly waves at an Izandla Zethemba beach day

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in Cape Town and a group of children are ready for a day at the beach. Flip flops, hats and swimming costumes are on; towels and spare clothes are packed. The anticipation of sunshine and ice cream is visible on almost every single one of the 60 faces as the big bus pulls into the Muizenberg beach parking lot.

Most children love a day at the beach but this day is made all the more special by the reality that, for many of these children, days like this don’t come around all too often. For some, this will be their first trip to the beach, for others it will be a rare chance to forget the challenges of home and enjoy a moment of carefree childhood – jumping in waves, building sandcastles and eating hot dogs.

A sand castle building competition under way

A sand castle building competition under way

These children are all a part of Izandla Zethemba (IZ), a community-driven HIV/Aids programme based in Thambo Village, Gugulethu, which provides care to families affected by the pandemic. This care includes weekly support groups for both adults and children, counselling sessions, home visits, and nutritional support. The children’s support groups also go on recreational outings once every six to eight weeks.

These fun days are a highlight on the calendar for both the 120 younger children, who form the aged 5-11 group, and the 40 teens, who are in the aged 12-18 group. Past outings have included trips to the aquarium, the snake park, the ice rink, up the Table Mountain cable car, and, of course, the beach!

A trip to the petting zoo

A trip to the petting zoo

“These days are great for them to explore their country and take a break from the hardships at home,” says Xolile Makutoana, the teens support group coordinator. “After a fun day, when we do a home visit. the parents tell us how much they appreciate it and that the children keep talking about it. For some of them, the next time they go outside [the community] will be the next fun day.”

“Some of the children are HIV positive or a family member is positive,” explains Lucy Joseph, who oversees the younger children. “And some of their parents have died and they’re now living with grannies, aunts or siblings. When we go on the home visits, we asses their living situation to find out who is employed, how many people are staying in the house, how well they’re being taken care of and if there’s enough food.”

Learning how to skate on ice with the help of friends

Learning how to skate on ice with the help of friends

In cases where it’s needed, IZ will provide stationary, school uniforms and monthly food parcels. For the teens, much of a week the week is focused on discussing life skills topics. The staff also build close a relationship with the clinic to ensure that those on medication are taking their medicine correctly.

“Some of the environments where the children are living is not healthy,” says Lucy. “The fun days give relief to the caregivers and the children always come back happy and with lots of stories. For some of the kids they don’t have outings with their family so it gives them something to experience outside of their community.”

“I enjoyed everything about the outing… It was good to bond with my sisters, to go out and be just our selves,” says Nokuthula, 15.

“When we go out we forget our problems and worries that we have back home,” says Abongile, 17. “Everyone is treated equal and special. You feel you belong to a loving family.”

For more on how you can get involved with Izandla Zethemba, email us. Read further for info on how you can support through Give Hope…

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Show loveShow Love This Christmas: Enable a child to attend a fun day

This festive season you can enable a child to attend a fun-filled day outing. How? Purchase an Izandla Zethemba Give Hope card for R50. There are also other cards available which all support Common Good initiatives. Click here for more info. On sale at Common Good Involvement Desks (Sundays) and at the Common Ground café.

Izandla Zethemba Teen Fun Day

On Saturday, 27 July, 20 Common Ground volunteers and four Khanyisa Church volunteers went to the Grand West Ice Rink for a day of fun with 34 teens from Izandla Zethemba.

Here’s what some of the volunteers and teens had to say about it:

Helping one another get the hang of ice  skating

Helping one another get the hang of ice skating

“I look forward to whenever there is going to be an outing with Izandla Zethemba because I know they never disappoint. When we go out we forget our problems and worries that we have back home. Everyone is treated equal and special. You feel you belong to a loving family. The fact that I don’t need to prove myself and I can be who I am, that is why I keep on coming to Izandla Zethemba. The outings are a bonus.”- Abongile, 17

“This was one of my best outings with Izandla Zethemba. Even though, I was falling on the ice most of the time, I had lots of fun!” – Sisanda, 16

Enjoying KFC for lunch :)

Enjoying KFC for lunch 🙂

“I enjoyed everything about the outing, especially the [arcade] games at Wonderland. It was good to bond with my sisters, to go out and be just our selves. Thank you to everyone who helped out. God bless you all.” – Nokuthula, 15

“I loved seeing the teens overcome their fears and learn to skate. I helped teach one girl who was scared in the beginning but after a few laps around the rink became so confident that she was calling out to her friends who were still trying to get the hang of it! It was so awesome to see their sense of achievement.” – Jess, Common Ground volunteer

Getting the hang of it!

Looking like pros already!

“I looked at everyone and I just saw happiness – all the teens were just being free and doing whatever teens do for fun. The joy was just written on their faces.” – Xolile, Izandla Zethemba teen coordinator

“I love the connection simple ‘fun days’ provide. Not only can teens connect with one another outside of their usual routine, but this is also an opportunity for them to connect with adults who can be potential role models.” – Marcienne, Common Good programme coordinator

A skating lesson in progress

A skating lesson in progress

About Izandla Zethemba

Izandla Zethemba is an NGO in Tambo Village, Gugulethu, which provides support care and peer education to those in the surrounding community affected by the HIV/Aids pandemic. For more info, visit their website.

Common Good partners with Izandla Zethemba’s staff and volunteers in the planning and running of kids and teen fun days once every 6 to 8 weeks. These fun days are a great opportunity to connect with the IZ teens and kids in a relaxed and fun environment.

Want to get involved?

If you’d like to get involved in helping out at Izandla Zethemba on a weekly basis, email us to find out more about volunteering at the IZ teen or kids support groups during the week.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for the next fun day!

Thank you to Intercape for kindly sponsoring transport for the teens to get to and from the ice rink!

Volunteer Q&A – Izandla Zethemba Fun Days

Full name: Jessica Granger

Congregation: Rondebosch PM

Occupation: Graphic designer/ photographer

How long have you been a volunteer at Izandla Zethemba? About seven months

When do you go and for how long? We have a kids or teens fun day on a Saturday, every six to eight weeks from 9-3pm.

Can you explain what you do while you’re there? We take some time before to prepare what has to be done (e.g. making sure the food for the day is sorted, transport sorted, there are enough volunteers etc) Then on the actual day, we take the kids or teens out somewhere fun. A few months ago, we took the kids to the aquarium, which was really nice. Last week, we also combined the kids and teens and took them to Muizenberg beach. We played games with them, built sand castles, played soccer, swam in the sea and had loads of fun! I also help take some of the photos for the fun days. (Click here for pics from the latest one!)

Can you tell us a bit about IZ? Izandla Zethemba is an organization that has various initiatives to help kids, teens and adults who have been affected or infected by HIV/Aids. Its based in Thambo Village (near Gugalethu). IZ runs quite a few different projects including the Izandla Zethemba AIDS project, a second hand clothing store, educational projects and also the kids and teens fun days. They are an amazing organization to work with and are very committed to reaching out to poorer communities. They bring hope and joy to many people in these communities. (I have seen this especially  in the lives of the children and teens.)

Many of the children in the programme come from very different, and often difficult, backgrounds. How do you connect with them? I think that by just showing them that you love them (building friendships with them) and care is a good way to connect with them. I try to be very enthusiastic and energetic during the activities (many of the activities involve teams/ groups) and encourage them to work together. It helps to build self-confidence and feeling like they are part of a team. By chatting to them and encouraging them to take part and work together, they feel more connected and more motivated to realize they can achieve things and be successful.

What are some of the challenges you face in volunteering? What keeps you going? I think sometimes the fact that some of the kids/ teens come from very difficult upbringings/ home situations, which makes it tough to really connect with some of them at times. For example, if some of the kids misbehave, its difficult to know how to handle those situations. Just knowing that I can be a part of making a difference in their lives by showing them love and care, and building friendships with them keeps me going, I would say. And also because this is what Jesus calls us to. Jesus said: ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John 10:10).

What has been the most fulfilling part of your volunteer experience? I think that realising my call to “live social justice” and responding to it, by volunteering for IZ, has been very fulfilling. Also realising that even though I am volunteering to be an influence in the lives of the kids at IZ, I myself have learnt so much, and they in fact, have influenced me as well. By being part of something bigger than myself where God is so evidently at work has been very fulfilling.

Why not share your feedback or encouragement with Jessica by posting a comment to her below?

-To find out when the next Izandla Zethemba Fun Day is taking place, email info@commongood.org.za

Care for the Carer – Meet Xolile

I am 26 years old and live in the Gugulethu community. I am passionate about orphans and the underprivileged. I dream that South Africa would one day be a place where hope will be in everyone’s heart.

I work for Izandla Zethemba, an HIV/Aids support programme, and I decided to become a carer because I think it’s what God put in me. My work involves caring for orphans and vulnerable children infected and affected with HIV and AIDS and I mainly work in Tambo, Manenberg and Gugulethu. I have been a carer for 5 years now, and on a monthly basis I care for on average 40 teenagers.

When I visit clients I often feel positive, sad or happy.  Happy to be there, positive with the encouragement one will receive or give, but sad because of some of the situations I see.

The thing I love most about my work is… everything! The teens, the little ones, the families that I come across and the hope that I receive when I pour out my heart.

What I find most challenging about my work is when I’m not being able to fix every problem or situation for the people I face every day.

When I do have time to rest and relax I love to be alone in my wildest dreams and spend time with friends and loved ones.

Please could you pray that I know that my strength comes from the Lord and to be able to stand firm in troubled times.

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Why not send Xolile some encouragement? Post a comment for him below! Watch out for the next carer profile coming out soon.

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