Living Social Justice

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

Archive for the tag “volunteer”

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:


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”.


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.


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 🙂

Volunteer Q&A: Hospital Ministry


Name: Dean Kietzmann

Congregation: Rondebosch PM

Occupation: Assistance Compliance Officer at an investment company

What sparked your interest or drew you to this initiative?

I was drawn to the concept of Hospital or Hospice Ministry towards the end of 2011 while watching Di and Nathan Gernetzsky’s journey through Di’s terminal cancer. While it must have been an incredibly painful time for them and their family, I couldn’t help but notice how blessed they both were to know Jesus, and for the love and support they received as the community rallied around them. As Rigby Wallace put it in one of the meetings, “We are helping a young woman walk her final road to be with God.” I began to reflect on how many people facing death don’t know Jesus, or don’t have someone to walk this final road with them. After chatting it through with a few elders and friends, “Hospital Ministry”, for want of a better name, was born early last year.

Can you tell us a bit about how you serve in Hospital Ministry?

A group of us meet every Thursday at Booth Memorial Hospital in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. We then split up and go and meet patients in various wards. We try spend at least 20 minutes or so with each patient we see, chatting to them, sharing the gospel, praying for them if they allow and generally trying to love them the way Jesus does. We try see the same patients from week to week to build relationships with them. We pray for the staff too.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your experience?

To pick one particular experience is very difficult. A constant theme, though, that everyone who has done Hospital Ministry has picked up on, is that we always seem to walk out more blessed than when we walked in. Our intention is to pour ourselves spiritually into the patients we see, and yet we regularly emerge more spiritually filled than when we walked in. We have seen countless miracles, broken lives made new, the sick healed, and the wandering and lost reunited to the Father.

Read more…

A Day of Fun & Family-Building

Common Good intern Emily Oppenheimer shares her experience of  the Arise Family Fun Day, which took place on Saturday, 2 March.

A Common Good volunteer lends her hand to face painting

A Common Good volunteer lends her hand to face painting

Standing in the midst of gravel and sand in an old parking lot for the Arise Family Fun Day, I felt momentarily paralyzed by all the excitement. I was lost in the middle of food stalls and bouncing castles, until I felt a small hand squeeze mine. I looked down to see a little girl with big brown eyes that peaked through the butterfly painted across her face. I smiled and received one in return.

Arise is an organization that promotes adoption, but on that day in that moment I realized I was the one being adopted. This little girl decided to invite me into her world and see things from her view. Sometimes it takes getting on your knees, but mostly it starts with a connection. When smiles were exchanged and I realized sharing God’s love really is that simple.


More face painting in action

The Arise Family Fun Day is a day dedicated to the community of Heideveld. Families are invited to come and stock up on food, clothing, books, and other necessities. At this Fun Day over R12,000 was raised for Arise. All proceeds will ensure the children of Heideveld have the opportunity to attend camps centered on Christian education.

Read more…

Volunteer Q&A: U-turn

One Common Grounder shares her experience of volunteering at U-turn, a Common Good partner organisation which works alongside people living on the streets.


Full name: Catherine Hannington

Congregation: Rondebosch PM

Occupation: I have just finished studying law and I am taking a gap year to do volunteer work.

Tell us a bit about what you do at U-turn.

U-turn runs a weekly Bible study for women who live on the street.  I meet with a group of about eight women and we have a time of fellowship, worship and teaching.

When do you go and for how long?

The Bible study takes place every Thursday at 11am and runs for about an hour and a half.  I meet with two women who work for U-turn to prepare on a Wednesday.

What drew you towards volunteering in this specific way?

If one looks at Jesus’ ministry on earth He was always found amongst the broken and hurting people.  In Luke 4 v 18 Jesus reads out the scroll of the prophet Isaiah that says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed”.  1 John 2 v 6 says that “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did”.  I really just felt as I read the Bible that if I wanted to draw closer to Jesus, I needed to spend time with the poor.  I really felt that God wanted me to make it a regular part of my life.  I chose to help people living on the street specifically as I drive past them every day and I wanted the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

Read more…

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