April 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends of Siphila Sonke,

Well, Christmas has come and been, and now it is already Easter!  Where does the time go?! 

We ended 2011 with some wonderful events…

The Elgin Open Gardens in November were once again a great fundraiser for us.  Our sincere thanks to the Moodie family who made this possible by allowing us to host 4 days in their beautiful garden on Eikenhof, and also to the other OpenGardens who donated proceeds to Siphila Sonke.  Special thanks too to Carin Malan, who organised the Botanical Art Exhibition which was a significant drawcard and to all Siphila Sonke volunteers and staff who helped by donating/ serving teas, coffees and lunches.

Our annual Kids Club Christmas Party at the end of November was also a great success!  Cake, chips and cooldrinks were enjoyed by all, while Bruce Green played Father Christmas and handed out the beautiful ‘shoeboxes’ from what has now become our annual Shoebox Christmas Project.  Thanks again to Carin Malan and Charmaine du Toit for all their assistance with co-ordinating this project.   

This year we received more than 200 shoeboxes filled with gifts for children of all ages.  A huge thank you to members of the Elgin/Grabouw community, schools and churches, as well as Capespan, Fruitways and the AGSChurch in Bellville, who donated these amazing gifts of love.  Not only were we able to provide all our own Kids Club and beneficiaries’ children with a shoebox, but we had enough to give to the children of beneficiaries of Thembacare and ACVV as well as to children in two foster homes in the community and to HIV positive children at the Day Hospital.  We wish you could have seen the delight on all of the children’s faces as they received these!

On 1 December, we combined World Aids Awareness Day with a special lunch for our Support Groups and our vegetable gardeners at the Elgin Grabouw Country Club.  Everyone wore a beautiful Aids ribbon made by the ladies on the day.

A week later, Driefontein Farm Restaurant again very kindly hosted a Volunteers Lunch to thank all our volunteers for their hard work and commitment during the year.  We are extremely grateful to Herman, Philippus and their staff for this extremely generous contribution to Siphila Sonke.

During December we also held a Kids Club Holiday Program – three (noisy!) days of fun and games for our Kids Club members. Thank you to Di McCullough and Felistus for their dedication to this club and to Simon van der Merwe and Victoria for their help.

To end the year, we delivered the last food parcels to our beneficiaries, together with wonderful Christmas buckets, donated by the Elgin United and AGS (Bellville) Churches and Capespan.

Our Christmas present last year, was a beautiful letter of thanks and an 80cm high Christmas card from one of our beneficiaries to thank Siphila Sonke for helping and supporting her.  Working in a poverty-stricken community can be very taxing for our fieldworkers and receiving a letter/ card like  this goes a long way to motivate/ reassure staff and volunteers that their work does make a difference!

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Father Christmas giving out shoeboxes at the annual Kids Club Christmas Party

A Siphila Sonke beneficiary receiving a Christmas bucket and a shoebox

A Siphila Sonke beneficiary receiving a Christmas bucket and a shoebox

Some of the more than 200 Christmas shoeboxes we received last year!

We also received a significant donation from the Stormont Presbyterian Church in Ireland at the end of their 3 year commitment to Siphila Sonke.  We will forever be indebted to this parish for their generosity and support, without which we would not be where we are today! A million thanks Stormont!

… and so far, 2012 has gotten off to a great start…. 

2012 kicked off with some good news – after many phone calls, emails, snail mail and wrong registration numbers (from Government), we finally received our NPO Certificate of Registration, without which official funders will not consider our funding applications.

The second bit of good news is that the Deciduous Fruit Industry Development Trust has agreed to support our Kids Club financially for a year, from July 2012 onwards.

And the third great piece of news is that the Rhu Parish Church in Scotland has also committed to helping the Siphila Sonke Kids Club for a year.  This commitment stemmed from a visit to Siphila Sonke by Jim Rogers – a British Airways pilot who visited us and attended our Kids Club Christmas Party last year.

These additional funds will enable us to achieve our plans to extend the Kids Club.  In addition to our Wednesday club under Di McCullough and Felistus’ capable leadership, we have also started:

  • Art Classes run by Stephanie Reith, in partnership with the Elgin Learning Foundation
  • a Reading and Literacy group that meets every Monday afternoon and aims to improve reading and literacy amongst our Kids Club children.  Volunteers read stories to small groups of children.  If you would like to read a story to a small group of children once a month, or if you have any children’s books that you are willing to donate, please contact Rachelle at the office
  • plans to introduce a children’s choir this year – another longstanding dream.

Monday pm Reading/Literacy Group

6 7 We are thrilled that Ann Bradford has again become involved in our Support Groups and the Craft Group has commenced this year with great enthusiasm.The ladies were taken on an outing to visit Strand beach during February 2012. For many of them this was a memorable experience, as it was their first visit to the seaside.

Support Group outing to Strand Beach – Feb 2012

We are also very pleased to have the following internships being completed with Siphila Sonke:

  • two Nutritional students from HAN University in Holland are doing a 3 month internship and will host various workshops with the Support Groups to teach them about health, food hygiene and nutrition.
  • Lucy Delport who has just completed her Honours degree in Psychology, will be doing a full year Trauma Counselling internship through Unisa.  As part of this, she will do individual counselling related to bereavement and other trauma, as well as working with the Support Groups.

Our food parcel distribution continues to go well.  Village Supermarket still makes up and delivers the food parcels to our offices every month and we thank them for their service.

On average, 115 people are supported by these parcels each month and we continue to be extremely grateful to you all – our donors, volunteers and staff who make this possible!

Wishing you all a very Happy and blessed Easter!

Download our April 2011 Newsletter here