There was a very active first week of the July school holidays with the children learning about hygiene, fire dangers (with the fire fighters showing off a few moves), participating in Mandela Day as previously reported. The highlight however must be the trip to the Natural Science Museum in the Company Gardens in Cape Town, with a picnic on Greenpoint promenade.
There is a huge need for recreational facilities in the community of Xola Naledi, Grabouw and we were fortunate to launch this project and obtaining funding to start.
We have adopted the “Public Open Place” know as ERF 3004 (approximately 2558m²) from Theewaterskloof Municipality. This area is directly across from Imizamo Church / Siphila Sonke and was until recently used as a dumping ground by the residents and is known for an area that is not safe with several assaults and rape having been reported there. The children also play in this area. Due to the proximity to our premises the area can be controlled and maintained with ease by us.
A 20 ton excavator with hammer attachment was hired to remove and break the huge rocks and to level the area. With this now achieved, soil will be carted in and levelled and the area fenced so as to limit access and reduce the refuse dumping and stop access to cattle. Once the area is fenced we hope to establish a netball and soccer field (and hopefully in the near future a jungle gym!!) with a few trees planted strategically.
In obtaining the required approval from the residents much appreciation was expressed for our plans to make it safe for both the children and adults in the community. This will provide a safe place for the children to play and a clean and aesthetic recreational area for the community. Access will be available to all with a pedestrian entrance that will remain open but give no access to animals.
A huge thanks to all for the enormous effort and contribution made to the success of our fundraising evening with Zapiro! Siphila Sonke raised in excess of R65,000 in profit, a substantial amount which could not have been possible without the help of the Fundraising Committee and all volunteers who organised the evening; Trails End Bike Hotel who hosted the event; the community members of Elgin and Grabouw who bought tickets to attend; and last but without which the evening would not have taken place – our special thanks to Zapiro for a most entertaining talk!
After the successful Girls camp last year it was time for the boys. This time we held the first camp for the boys at Village of Hope the first weekend of April and had 25 boys ranging from 13 – 18 years old.
These boys came from different backgrounds and all struggle with some challenges in their lives, huge social problems and are exposed to substance abuse and bullying which makes them very fearful. These boys all had big dreams for the future but lack the support and someone to talk to. At the camp they were provided with the
opportunity to be shown love and care, and they realised that the issues that they had were the same and together they can become strong. It was also very evident that they need activities to keep them busy after school and over weekends as it is during this time that they become involved in undesirable activities.
We are again fortunate, due to funding received for this purpose, to be able to support two more children to Grabouw High School (a fee paying school). Jason Sass (Gr8) and Jason Louw (Gr4) are joining Vuyelwa Shumi (Gr6) and Lorenzo Carelse (Gr7), who started at Grabouw High School last year, 2016. All these children come from our informal settlement and we are privileged to be able to influence their lives positively.
The joy of Christmas!! Once again we were fortunate to receive over 130 Christmas Shoeboxes that we were able to distribute to both the children of the Kids Club as well as those of our beneficiaries. Father Christmas once again came (this time with the help of the elf) to visit and we were entertained by the children. A big thank you to Lien & Dume for putting it all together.
Apart from providing the “normal” monthly food parcels it is always a joy to be able to give that little bit extra over the Christmas time and be rewarded by the smiles of gratitude that are received from the beneficiaries. We calculated that 70 buckets would be needed – AND exactly 70 were provided !! So thank you for providing the produce, money and buckets loaded to the brim, and to all those who came and volunteered to hand them out with the food parcels on the Tuesday 13th December 2016, it is gratifying to know that we can rely on your support!
Siphila Sonke once again hosted a tea garden under the oaks at Francie and Alistair Moodie’s Eikenhof farm garden as well as serving lunches and teas at Elgin United Church. We really are very grateful for Eikenhof, Fairholme and Lothian Vineyards for opening their gardens for Siphila Sonke. We really do appreciate all the work that is put in to making your gardens so beautiful every year and coping with the influx of all the people over the two weekends.
Also we would like to thank Elgin United Church once again for the use of their facilities to offer lunches and teas over this Open Garden weekends. We are indeed fortunate to have access to these beautiful gardens and to all those who helped make this a success – THANK YOU!!
The first camp, of hopefully many more, was held on the weekend of the 7th to 9th October at “Kogelberg Farm Hostel”. This was aimed at girls from the community between the ages of 13-18yrs. They all come from homes with huge social problems and find it difficult to cope, some falling victim to teenage pregnancy and substance abuse, and some just dropping out of school. This was a joint venture by ACVV, Soul Food Harmony, Right to Care and Siphila Sonke. Special thanks must go to all who helped this happen. Although the weather was chilly the girls soon settled down, made new friends and had somebody to listen to and give them guidance.
The camp, a dream of Lynette de Bruyn-Davids from Soul Food Harmony, was led and facilitated by Lynette who quickly gained the trust and respect of the girls. She is a remarkable woman with a great passion for the community and its children. When asked where she got the training to be able to work (and cope) her answer is simple – GOD given. As can be imagined the stories of abuse and hopelessness are very traumatic to the person counseling and this could be seen on Saturday afternoon when visiting there.
It is important that we must now not lose the trust and interaction with the girls and need to build on this and the decision was made that follow-up meetings with these girls will be held every second month. The first of which will be on Friday 2nd December 2016 at the Baptist Church from 4-9 pm.
On Saturday 20 August 2016 Siphila Sonke hosted ‘an Evening on the Couch with Deborah and Gary Kirsten’. Deborah, who is an accomplished speaker and author of “ Chai Tea and Ginger Beer”, and Gary, who needs no introduction – especially to his cricket fans – spoke about their family, marriage and the juggle of this with their extensive travels and Gary’s career. Their anecdotes were filled with humour and interesting facts and made for an enjoyable Saturday evening out!
Their talk was complimented by delicious food and drinks – hot ghluwine was served as complimentary drink on arrival and was followed by a supper of hearty homemade soups, Peregrine Farm Stall breads and cheese platters and ended with tasty homebaked macrons and cupcakes! Thank you to all our chefs!
Thanks to all those that attended and made this such a successful ‘guest speaker fundraiser evening’ for Siphila Sonke. Thank you to Deborah and Gary for coming to Elgin on behalf of Siphila Sonke, and thank you to Catherine and Selborne Boome for having them to stay for the night. Many thanks to Alistair Smith for being MC for the evening (yet again!). Thanks to all our volunteers who helped before, during and after the event! Our thanks too to all those that sponsored wine and food for the evening; it is always gratefully appreciated as this helps us to keep the costs down and funds raised to a maximum! Last but not least, a very big thank you to Liz Wood and Mike Butt for offering Siphila Sonke use of their wonderful venue and staff at Rockhaven!