Community News

Preparing To Defeat The Giants

Cervantes’ delusional hero, Don Quixote, tilts at windmills believing they are giants. The Spanish writer may have penned his novel as a satire but was quite correct when he wrote: “Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory”. ‘Preparedness’ has become a buzzword among NPO’s and other organisations in the wake of emergencies in South Africa over the past few years, and, unlike Cervantes chivalrous fool’s imaginings, the looming giants are real and battle must be prepared for.

The second of three gatherings of faith-based NPOs was held at Anthem Church, Durban North, in the first week of November. The first took place in Pretoria in September and the third will be held in Jeffries Bay on 4 February 2023. The broad theme of each two-day conference is The Church Responding to Disasters.  The aim of all three is to build relationships and networks in advance of future contingencies, the mapping of the strengths each organisation brings to the collective, understanding what has been learnt over the past three years, exploring the engagement of local congregations in the mitigation and response phases in times of emergency, and how to more effectively work together in the future.

One of the Durban conference facilitators, Ian Booth of Diakonia Council of Churches, said: “We have had very real on-the-ground experience of collaboration in this province. One example is KZN Response, a loose association of five NPOs (The Domino Foundation: CityHope Disaster: Zoë-Life; the South African Red Cross in KZN and the KZN Christian Council) which have pooled their unique areas of competence in times of disaster for a number of years. We have seen how much more effective we can be when we work to each organisation’s strengths. This conference, which was focused on our Metro, looked at how to build on existing collaborations, and at strengthening, broadening and deepening them.”

For about four years, church networks around South Africa have been looking at ways to collaborate better. Taking the lead from the Respond Network in the Western Cape, which has been in existence for 12 years, city-level disaster response coalitions of Church and Christian NPOs are emerging. These bottom-up coalitions give exciting possibilities for national alignment and partnerships to emerge.

Jacques Harley, Logistics Coordinator at one of the Western Cape organisations, Heal Our Land, emphasised that the vision is, not only to be better prepared for inevitable disaster situations through forward planning and strategic cooperation, but also to work towards building ‘resilient communities’ where vulnerable people so often affected by catastrophes move significantly from being ‘victims’ to being able to respond proactively, together with outside bodies, to their own needs.

Cathy Whittle, leader of The Domino Foundation’s Disaster Relief Unit, summed up her take-away from the two days: “The question of ‘what is in your hand?’ underlay much of the discussion. The circle got wider as more people realised that they are not alone when disaster strikes, that local communities have a lot they can do to assist neighbours well before outside agencies arrive.” She spoke of the extensive Whatsapp group which has been established for quick communication, and about all participant groups having been mapped so that, instead of a lot of travelling being necessary to assess the extent of a disaster, the ball is now in local communities’ court. “Equipping and upskilling churches and local communities will be key as we ask who has vital local data? Historically, information and directives have cascaded downwards. We are now working on a bottom-up approach with local government, councilors and leaders in the communities to ensure those communities are more resilient and can take crucial action as soon as disaster hits”.

Pastor and conference participant, Sibusiso Mtakati, pastor with the Northern eThekwini Cluster of Churches, said of the two days: “We were so impressed by the selflessness of those sharing about the work that has already been done in disaster situations. We understood that they were people just like us who have deep concern for others. Together we can beat the giants!”

For details on the Jeffries Bay conference, Jacques can be contacted on jacques@unashamedlyethical.com or 021 836 4270 and Sarah on s.montgomery365@outlook.com or 0671831631 for more information on disaster preparedness in KZN.

#disasterrelief #strongertogether

Cathy Whittle, Lead of The Domino Foundation’s Disaster Relief Unit

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2022 race done & dusted

The content below is the Thank you email sent today from the Race Organisers

Hi again aQuellé Tour Durban rider!

Thanks for being part of a great aQuellé Tour Durban this weekend! The special vibe was a hallmark of the MTB races on Saturday and the three road races on Sunday.

We did encounter an unexpected problem when the first batch of 90km riders caught up with the back of the 106km race on the M4, and this resulted in our marshalls being unable to move the barriers marking the 90km turn into place as planned. We fully understand the frustration that this caused, and we apologise sincerely for this.

Many have take this in their stride, and we appreciate that attitude.

Racetec has decided NOT to take these results into account for these participants’ seeding index. For those riders that were affected on the day, and who have also entered the Amashova Durban Classic, RaceTec has agreed to identify these riders, and make the necessary arrangements to assist them during the Amashova Durban Classic registration to ensure that they all end up in the correct start batch. If the riders do qualify to start in an earlier batch, Racetec will make the adjustments at the event registration.

If you have concerns regarding the results and your time, and how it may affect your seeding for future events, please take it up with Race Tec directly by emailing info@racetec.co.za.

As always, we appreciate constructive suggestions, and welcome your input. Click here to make contact with us.

Above all, thank you from The Domino Foundation for the part you played in the ongoing support they get from the aQuellé Tour Durban.

“We at The Domino Foundation see our key calling as bringing dignity, hope and social justice to marginalised and vulnerable communities through education, economic and enterprise development partnerships. Through our seven programmes, we are currently impacting the lives of some 15,000 individuals each day. We are very grateful to aQuellé Tour Durban for their amazing support through their generous donations year after year to our work to change one individual at a time, so that communities are changed and, ultimately, our country is changed.”

Shaun Tait – CEO – The Domino Foundation

Video Gallery 2022

Photo Gallery – 2022 Road races

Photo Gallery – 2022 MTB Races

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World Day Against Trafficking In Persons

When it comes to rescuing women who are sex workers and victims of human-trafficking wanting to leave the industry, The Domino Foundation’s Red Light Programme has formulated a holistic approach which equips these women to thrive in their new lives.

Saturday July 30 marks World Day Against Trafficking In Persons. For Red Light, every day is dedicated to helping these women exit the sex work industry. This year’s theme focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and impede human trafficking.

The Red Light team, situated in Durban North, comprises of a team of three ladies each in charge of separate components of the programme: Lungelo Dakile, Reach Out Co-ordinator; Gugu Mazwele, Restore Co-ordinator and Esther Madikane, Release Co-ordinator.

Red Light’s vision is to reach out to, restore and release the survivors of sexual exploitation and human-trafficking. The programme identifies and assists sex workers and vulnerable groups in areas of high prostitution and exploitation. Its desire is to love the ladies into wholeness and build sustainable relationships with them through its sex-trafficking-victims programme.

“We will be opening a reach-out facility (Drop-In Centre) in the Durban CBD in September 2022 which will make it so much easier for women who want help to come in to meet with us. We assess each woman and prepare her for the restoration process,” said Lungelo who oversees Red Light’s Reach-out phase which identifies and assesses vulnerable and exploited individuals.

Once an initial relationship has been built with each woman, she is monitored through her weekly visits to Red Light to assess where she is in her stages of change. She may, at first, be in what is called “pre-contemplation” which is when a woman is not aware that she has a problem and has no intention of changing her current situation. However, Lungelo went on, “The Red Light team continues to reach out to let the woman know that she is ‘seen’ and that the team is there should she decide to seek help.”

Often the pattern is that the woman slowly moves into “contemplating” where she becomes aware that she does have a problem even though she may still have no desire to change. The Drop-in Centre will offer the ladies continued counselling referrals, medical help, skills development, spiritual development and long-term support through internal referrals.

Once the lady enters the behavioural stage of “preparation”, where she now has the desire to take action to address and change her situation, the Red Light team refers her into its Restore phase. Part of this is an out-patient programme which operates alongside Project Exodus, an innovative, ground-breaking strategy which addresses issues of substance dependence and compulsive disorders in ways which provide long-term support through individual and group addiction counselling. Most of the women have a drug addiction, one of the main contributing factors to their choosing to remain sex workers. After a drug and medical assessment is done, the woman is referred to an in-patient detox facility, if necessary, where the programme is strict and structured. The woman is now into the rehabilitation phase. There is no specified amount of time for this process as each individual’s past trauma and needs differ.

Restore Co-ordinator, Gugu Mazwele, described how, for so long, Red Light has had the challenge of finding shelter for survivor sex workers. “Most organisations only accept victims of human-trafficking who have been coerced into forced labour or sexual exploitation. Our dream has always been to have a place of safety for these ladies who need to exit the sex industry but have nowhere to go.” The dream became a reality this year. Red Light’s first Othandweni (” Place of Love”) House opened in June with the support and encouragement of Joyce Meyer Ministries. “We have also partnered with Expose Hope, which has been on the ground for years, running street out-reaches and whose long-term desire is to offer these ladies exit solutions. These partnerships are slowly but surely making a defining change.”

Esther, Release Co-ordinator. talked of the long journey Red Light embarks on with every lady wanting to exit the sex trade: “We have one woman in the safe house who was trafficked under the pretext of gaining employment. She bought the lie and left her home in Nigeria only to be sold to someone in Cape Town to perform sex acts. Not every woman chooses to be a sex worker but often finds she has no other choice.” Esther described how this woman confided in one of her regulars, who then negotiated with her pimp and helped her get out of the industry. Once the woman is ready for the release phase, Esther will be there to assist her with reintegrating into society. “These women are highly talented, each with their own dreams for their future. We teach them skills to help them realise those dreams. Some, usually the younger women, want to finish their Matric and do further study, while others attend short courses and learn how to sew, do make-up and the like,” she said.

The three co-ordinators agree that the journey is never easy for the women and many leave the programme and go back to their old lives, but the programme has changed the lives of many women to date.

If you would like to assist the Red Light Programme with sponsorship, email Esther on release@domino.org.za

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Common Hearts Alleviate Suffering

The relationship between Durban’s Jewish community and the Domino Foundation has been nurtured over many years.  For several years, a faithful band of ladies from the Union of Jewish Women gathered each week in the foundation’s kitchens to assemble a small mountain of peanut butter sandwiches for its Nutrition Programme.

In 2016, the trans-global network for 25 to 35-year-old Jewish volunteers working in local communities, partnered with Domino to establish its first South African centre. After the devastation the raging flood waters wreaked in April and May this year, the KZN Jewish community once again rallied to the call.  “The KZN Jewish community truly appreciates the outstanding work which the Domino Foundation does within the greater community and we look forward to continuing our journey in making a difference for those who are less fortunate,” said Susan Abro, President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies KwaZulu-Natal Council, where she handed over the funds raised by the community to the Domino Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation at the Durban Jewish Club, near North Beach earlier this month.

The Durban Jewish Club is the heart and home of the KZN Jewish community, and also houses the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre, where thousands of KZN school children receive free education about the Holocaust and various genocides each year. In addition The Domino Foundation was selected as an agent e working alongside Susan Abro, who is a partner of Afrika Tikkun for their Reviving Township Economy Campaign, to revive businesses affected by the civil unrest of July 2021 in KZN and Gauteng and by the recent floods, one business at a time.

Domino’s Donor Relations Ambassador’ Tarin Stevenson, described how the funds donated would be used. “The immediate needs of many affected by the floods have been met. We are now looking at how we can come alongside those tackling the rebuilding process. Obviously, a significant portion of this rebuilding is in the area of physical infrastructure…homes, schools and businesses have been destroyed. We would like to start with those ECD Centres in our fold so that children can be learning in a safe and dry environment.”

 

Unity commands a blessing

Cindy Norcott founder of of the Robin Hood Foundation, Liezel Patterson – secretary of the Jewish Club, Susan Abro (centre), President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies KwaZulu-Natal Council, with The Domino Foundation’s  CEO, Shaun Tait, and Donor Relations Manager, Tarin Stevenson at the handing-over of the Jewish community’s donation of R54 000 each to the two NPOs.

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Routes to excite off-road enthusiasts

Durban – The 2022 aQuellé Tour Durban MTB races powered by CycleLab will once again dish up two exciting routes for the off-road fanatics on Saturday, 10 September 2022. And The Domino Foundation is the beneficiary of this event.

The EMBA Trails north of Cornubia Mall will once again host riders for the two distances on offer – this year being 35km and 20km. Last year’s long ride was 40km, but after the recent floods, the distance has been slightly reduced and a new route has been devised for logistical purposes.

Organisers are confident that they will have two routes that will be a challenge and offer excitement for all those taking part.

“Despite extensive flood damage to the area including the bridge used previously for the long route being washed away, we have been able to plot a challenging and interesting route without having to cross over the arterial road or the river for the long route,” race director Alec Lenferna said.

“It’s good that we are able to stay at the same venue as it allows for the event to have positive impact on the area with improvements being made and funding put towards EMBA for the good of all riders throughout the year.”

This year’s long race offering will be five kilometres shorter than 2021 but for route manager Noel Baker that will not necessarily make the ride easier.

“For the long ride, riders will have to deal with around 750 metres of accumulated climbing so it’s going to be tough,” Baker said.

“We’ve managed to avoid the main road for this year’s route which means that we can make better use of our marshalls and we’ll definitely have better markings this year.

“The start will also be extended before riders race into the single track which should prevent a bottle neck there.

“We’ve listened to what people had to say after last year’s race and this year we’ve made some positive changes although the routes will be very similar for the most part.”

Entries for the 2022 aQuellé Tour Durban are open and riders can enter at www.tourdurban.co.za

Social Media
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TourDurban/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TourDbn
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tourdurban/
#TourDurban2022
#Ride4Good
#CelebrateTogether

Karen Brokensha –Domino Storyteller

“Empowerment has always been at the heart of Tour Durban, and The Domino Foundation has a very special relationship with this major event on the Ethekwini calendar.

We all have had to navigate the disruptions of the recent floods with road wash-aways and general infrastructure damage, but the race organisers have again put together an event which all of Durban and our avid cyclists will be proud of. We thank them, all the riders and volunteer in advance as we continue to ‘Cycle for Change’.

We have over 15,000 beneficiaries who will be very grateful for all that is achieved on the 10 and 11 September 2022.”

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Helping children make better choices

Two women with a driving passion to see hungry people in their communities well fed, are pooling their expertise, experience and resources to make a difference in the nutrition landscape in Ethekwini.

Watch their conversation here

Cathy Whittle of The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition Programme and Jabu Nkomo of Isheq Solutions have been collaborating for four years to instill an awareness of a healthy and affordable eating lifestyle within the Early Childhood Development Centres and schools. Undernutrition and essential nutrient deficiencies results in 38% of South African children under five years old, suffering from SWO i.e. stunting, wasting and obesity. Jabu commented that, against the background of poor diet in the formative years, the starch-heavy menus of many Mzansi homes are contributing significantly to extremely high incidences of diabetes and high blood pressure, and dependence on chronic medication.

“We have worked hard to change the mind-sets of the adults, but have found too often they are entrenched in their old ways. We have realised that a far more effective way is to teach the children at an early age that a far brighter future is waiting for them if they eat healthily”.

In Domino’s Nutrition space where, in 2020, 367,000 meals were prepared and delivered to beneficiaries on the foundation’s ECD, Babies’ Home and Life Skills Programmes, has grown the fundamental understanding that hungry or malnourished people need to be empowered to make good decisions about how they are going to feed themselves. Cathy added: “The old adage says ‘You are what you eat’, should be changed to ‘How you eat today, you will pay for tomorrow’ positively or negatively”. She and Jabu see that whatever food is offered, nutritious or otherwise, will be gratefully accepted but, with an understanding of ‘what will benefit my body in the long-run’, that will only be a stop-gap solution.

The collaboration between Domino and Ishaq is taking them into the 64 crèches where the foundation’s ECD (Early Childhood Development) Programme works alongside the owners and staff to empower them to enable the little people in their charge, to make healthier food choices. Jabu said that initial attempts to train the owners in good nutritional habits encountered challenges, because of a lack of resources and of a perception that good nutrition really wasn’t that important in the scale of what the crèches were offering. Cathy pointed out that for so long the crèches have been seen by the communities they serve and by the owners themselves purely as child-minding facilities.

The ECD Programme has implemented a far more holistic training for the crèches’ staffs to set the children on a sound path to school-readiness, which includes sound nutrition. The women on the programme now understand why proper nutrition is important, not only for good physical development, but also for cognitive development in the pre-schoolers in the crèches.

“We call it ‘Food For Thought’!”, Cathy volunteered. The supply of nutrients or the lack of nutrients is critical in brain development just as they are vital in all the other parts of the body.

Jabu has developed material for the training of ECD teachers to improve their own health and lives and then to inspire and equip them to train the children in their care. The Bible states a strong foundational principal for all who take their responsibility for children seriously: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”, (Proverbs 22:6). “We see many children bringing junk food to school. Their parents see the brightly packaged ‘snacks’ as signs that they are making good and can afford the taste treats the advertising tells them they should be buying”, said Jabu, “but now, with training, the teachers are able to say with the authority which comes with being ‘qualified’ that there is a better way. Jabu’s training materials include recipes which map out meals through the day and a possible afternoon snack.

She has seen that it doesn’t work to say a blanket “No!” to all junk food. Instead, she says that giving options, along with the understanding of how crucial good eating is to good living, helps the children (and their parents) feel they are making healthy decisions for themselves.

Jabu, as a member of the same community where she sees poor eating habits all around her, is adamant that an understanding of the culture, the community, the thought processes must be taken into consideration and only then that the academic knowledge be applied to that overall scenario. She says that eating the cabbages and beans grown in more rural communities is seen as an indication of a lack of money and status. Moving to an urban environment means that people feel the pressure to abandon that ‘poor man’s diet’. Cathy added that, “If we can change the nutrition landscape in the ECD centres and show that it is radically benefitting the children, then we have a powerful tool to demonstrate to the wider community that, as actor Robert Urich said, “a healthy outside starts from the inside””. When measured against the demonstrable obesity, wasting and stunting seen before, the positive results of new eating habits, both child and parent can see the internal and external effects of what is put in their mouths.

The Nutrition Programme provides the crèches with nutritious meals every weekday during the school term. This has proved a great draw-card for daily attendance. In this way, good nutrition and good academic instruction are helping the children achieve their developmental milestones.

A basic menu has been developed which ensures good nutrition for the children. Breakfast is a high protein soy-based porridge supplied by one of Domino’s partners, Joint Aid Management (JAM). Lunch is delivered to crèches and consists of a beef bone and vegetable soup made with mixed legumes. The crèches choose if they serve the soup with bread, pap or rice. The programme equips the crèches to prepare their own meals in year 3.

A challenge arises when the children are not at school during school holidays. Cathy pointed out that this is where educating parents is critical to help their offspring to make better food choices when they are away from the provided meals at school.

Some of the crèches have cooking facilities and the joint aim of Domino’s ECD and Nutrition Programmes  is to nurture a partnership with them that builds capacity for them to ultimately provide this nutrition for themselves. Equipping the cooks with the understanding that protein-fortified foods bolster nutrition, which enhances the learners’ cognitive capabilities and strengthens their healthy physical growth, is imperative if the active learning is to take place. Jabu described the three phases of developing the nutrition programme in schools

  • Phase 1, schools receive pre-cooked soup;
  • Phase 2, they receive the makings of soup to cook themselves
  • Phase 3, crèches are sufficiently equipped to stand alone. Site visits track and report on the progress each crèche is making. The Nutrition team provides porridge in the morning and soup for lunch and is committed to influencing the way food is prepared at the centres.

When asked about tracking the impact of the Nutrition Programme on children’s progress towards school readiness, Cath pointed to Domino’s ECD team’s 150 Tool which has been developed by the Domino Foundation, in line with the Department of Social Development’s guidelines on ECD Centre management. The impact of any intervention has to measured, adjusted and evaluated against the expected outcomes as to its success, insights and failures. “Domino has created its own ECD 150 Tool (based off the DSD Guidelines for Minimum Crèche Requirements) with 150 key measurement indicators to assess, evaluate and track the progress within each ECD. The field workers and monitors visit each ECD centre on a weekly basis to assist with understanding, implementing techniques, skills and lessons learned. This change-management monitoring tool is at the core of the success of this enterprise and educational development programme, The measurement and evaluation of the impact of improved nutrition is a vital part of that.”

The ECD Programme not only mentors crèche staff in teaching methods but also gives training to the owners in good business practice. Cathy said that the programme had noted that crèches where its training as a whole, coupled with the input from the Nutrition Programme and Ishaq had been fully embraced, the owners now felt in a far stronger position to charge realistic fees which, in turn, meant the crèches could be better run. On the other hand, some crèches with little or no business training had been nervous to charge appropriately.

Both Jabu and Cathy were emphatic that the Domino/Ishaq partnership has a bright future with Jabu committed to doing yearly training on nutrition with the crèches and schools.

Jabu had the last word: “We know it’s easy to say that we are feeding for the future: the reality is that good nutrition in these early days of a child’s life spells a better future not only for that child but for South Africa as a whole. If we change an individual, we can change a whole community and then we can see the possibility of changing the nation.”

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Bread and Butter Champions from Toti

There’s a gentle hum of happy industry in The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition Programme kitchen in Amazimtoti. The five volunteers who have gathered for the weekly buttering-spreading-wrapping routine have it down to a fine art: 1,200 peanut butter sandwiches ready to be delivered to 13 schools, ECD (Early Childhood Development) centres, churches and a community centre, some well beyond a 20 kilometre radius of the kitchen which is situated at Kingsway Church International, Doonside.

Team leader, Cheryl Dann, proudly exclaimed: “These are my champions! They faithfully give of their time and energy to ensure that 1,000 children on the sandwich programme and the 3,000 on porridge programme get some nutritious food. We call this the learners’ ‘food for thought’ because studies have shown that healthy food isn’t only for good physical growth. It is also essential for the way children’s brains develop. And these generous people are making sure that the children get it.”

Two of the volunteers, Lizzy Cullen and Pat Manton, have been regulars since 2016 when the kitchen started operating. Lizzy said: “Besides the fulfilment and reward of knowing that we are helping to feed desperately hungry children, it is also helping us as individuals.   Being a volunteer at the Toti Kitchen enables us to join a ‘sandwich family that cares for the community and for us as individuals”.  Pat added: “It keeps us young and our minds busy and we have amazing fellowship and made so many friends!   My favourite is when we visit the schools and get to love and care for the children!” 

The preparation of the “sarmies” isn’t the exclusive preserve of the gentler sex. Andre Botes, a retired Seadoone Mall car guard, was adamant when he said: “A real man can rustle up a mean sandwich!” When Andre first got in touch with the Nutrition team, he was helped with food hampers until they were able to get him into a retirement home.  Making sandwiches is Andre’s way of giving back to the community.  Cheryl said: “We have ‘adopted’ him at Domino and this is really a picture of the saying that God sets the lonely in families. We are thrilled that Andre is part of our ‘extended family’!”

Cheryl said that the Nutrition Programme would love to give other members of the communities on the South Coast the chance to also be part of the answer to keeping children in school and developing well both physically and intellectually. Anyone who is interested in donating peanut butter for these sarmies or finding out the roles they could play are welcome to contact her on 083 201 0554 or nutritionsouth@domino.org.za.

#lonelynomore #menspreadingbread

Caption: Male volunteers spreading the peanut butter at The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme’s kitchen in Toti: (lleft to right) Tim Dann; Calvin van der Merwe and Andre Botes.

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The lens of a lady with a big heart

While she was scrolling through Facebook, a post on Amanzimtoti Trader’s page caught Thandeka Duma’s eye. In the post, a group of ladies who had volunteered to help The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme in the South Basin area were being thanked by the programme’s project leader, Cheryl Dann. Thandeka seized the opportunity and commented that she would be keen to see if Domino could help her with her initiative to feed hungry young members of her community in Illovu Township. So began a relationship which has flourished ever since.

Back in 2015, Thandeka was very concerned at the number of children passing her house each morning on their way to school without having had anything to eat before they had left home. She discovered that some of the children had sometimes not had a decent meal for several days and yet were determined to get to school. She couldn’t ignore their plight. Initially, she started feeding about fifty of them from her own kitchen.  Inevitably, the news got out and it wasn’t long before Thandeka was inundated with hungry schoolchildren. Now she couldn’t cope on her own and needed assistance to help these young community members in desperate need.

The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme was the answer to her prayer. With the help of the programme’s Amanzimtoti’s kitchen, Thandeka is now able to feed as many as 150 children, providing them with protein-high sandwiches. Food hampers provided through the Nutrition programme also pass through Thandeka’s hands to fifty gogos caring for abandoned and orphaned children, and to other destitute families.

Her operation has grown so that, with the help of some ladies from the community, she is now able to provide a safe space for some of the children who come in the afternoon after school. Some extra mural activities are laid on for the children and they are helped with their homework. Thandeka creates an informal atmosphere where casual talk can take place while the children eat their sandwiches and chat with this wonderful mother to the community about vital life issues.  This operation is now formally established as the Young Stars Nutrition and Development Centre and is a beacon of hope to many in the Illovu Township in Amanzimtoti.

Thandeka is adamant about how her life has been impacted by the relationship which has grown between the Centre and the Domino Toti programme: “My life has changed and so have the lives of so many children in this community… they have hope and a sense of purpose.” She notices how, with full tummies, the pupils happily go off to school and are able to apply themselves to their work. Absenteeism and truancy have lessened significantly at the local schools because the sandwiches Thandeka provides are a great incentive first to get a meal and then to go on to their classes.

The Young Stars Nutrition and Development Centre has become a haven way beyond merely being a feeding stop-off. The children feel secure there and Thandeka and her team are able to encourage good habits and community-mindedness and to help the children build dreams for their futures. Many of these young people come from homes where the lifestyle is very much hand-to-mouth and where there is little thought beyond today’s challenges. “I help them see that there is a future for themselves and how their prospects are improved if they develop good study habits now.”

Never one to feel that she has ‘arrived’, Thandeka has opened a take-away called ‘Good Shandis (or ‘Vibes’) Kitchen’. This provides home-cooked meals which can be bought and frozen. From her profits, she has been able to buy a freezer and to add a room to her house to serve as a kitchen for cooking and baking, enhancing her ability to reach out and help vulnerable members of the Ilovu community.

This extraordinary woman combines her passion for her community and amazing entrepreneurial skills to impact many lives. She is very humble about how it is God’s hand which has opened the doors for her enterprises in Illovu Township: “God has always looked after me. I pray for this very poor community and it was Him who led me to see Cheryl’s post on Facebook and to our establishing our wonderfully fruitful relationship.  He is always there for me.”

Caption: Thandeka Duma featured with the Domino Amazimtoti Team – Cheryl and Purity.

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Dignity, Justice, Hope and Purpose

26 years after the establishment of a democratic South Africa, with its lofty ideals scripted in the constitution and marked as one of the world’s finest, many of the country’s citizens find themselves far from having those ‘theoretical suggestions’ as a stark concrete reality in their lives.

Nonetheless, there is every reason under the sun for us to celebrate National Human Rights Day again on Monday 21 March 2022. The Christian perspective, which undergirds The Domino Foundation and it’s eight programmes, is that each and every South African is made in the image and likeness of God. 

Natalie Ogden, the foundation’s Social Justice Co-ordinator, is adamant when she says: “Domino’s mission is to see all people living with dignity, justice, hope and purpose. These convictions align with the constitution’s affirmation of:

  1. equality before the law for all,
  2. that every one has an inherent dignity to be respected and protected, and
  3. that everyone has an inalienable right to life.”

Natalie elaborated that, two of Domino’s Programmes, address the core critical human rights issues:

  1. The Domino Fairhaven’s Babies’ Home, where the youngest and most vulnerable of our fellow citizens (babies and children) are rescued from abandonment, nurtured and loved until they are either reunited with their biological families or are adopted into what are called their new “forever” families;
  2. The Red Light Anti Human Trafficking Programme sees survivors of human-trafficking reached out to, rescued, restored and released into new lives, where the brokenness of their former lives is gone and wholeness opens a wonderful future for them.

She underlined that the basic dignity of every one of Domino’s 13,500 beneficiaries is affirmed in whatever the foundation’s response to their plight may be. The highest form of love is agape love which Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 13:8:  “Love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres”.

This Monday, our community as a whole and Domino in particular needs to respond to the call to collective action to see that what our constitution declares does become the reality experienced by all our fellow citizens.

 

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Looking back | Flying forward

REFLECTING ON 2021

Musing on the year that the world has just left behind, Domino CEO, Shaun Tait, described the past twelve months as “a wild ride.” Balancing all the vital elements of Domino’s work – cash flow, emergency relief, staff and beneficiaries’ welfare, among others – had been a challenge. The journey through 2021 had seen the contingencies thrown out by the ever changing Covid protocols and then the devastating civil unrest in July 2021, adding a disproportionate level of uncertainty through KZN and Gauteng.

But, the demands of the unexpected and unprecedented landscape saw far greater collaboration and partnerships with other Non Profit Organisations, which enabled Domino to punch far above its weight. “We found that we had much greater reach and impact working together. Each organisation bringing its own strengths to the collective effort, and so we could achieve more than if we had tried to reach out on our own, in order to help so many people in desperate need.” Shaun said, that the NPO had realised that it is undoubtedly true that “Domino wins, when its partners win”. It was very clear through 2021 that, through partnering with other strategic NPO’s and working closely with each other, there was elimination of needless duplication and wastage, and many more beneficiaries were helped to move out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness, into dignity and hopefullness.

Throughout 2021 we engaged with over 230 organisations from across KZN to co-ordinate and provide support in the most efficient way, to thousands of beneficiates across the province. From a beneficiary point of view, the table and graph below shows the expansion of our programme, tracking back from 2014 through to 2021. We noticed steady, incremental increases between 2016 – 2019, with higher growth from 2020 onwards, which was maintained and expanded on in 2021.

Figures in brackets count indirect beneficiaries i.e. Additional household members supported), Domino focuses on counting only direct beneficiaries for totals supported (e.g. If a food hamper can support 4 HH (household) members, we will record this as 1 beneficiary and make a note of the additional 3 in brackets.

 

 

From a Volunteer perspective, we had a 58% increase in volunteerism in 2021, when compared to 2020. If we track our volunteers over time, although we are still below 2019 figures, we are gradually recovering from the lockdowns that prevented people from engaging directly with our programmes and in 2022, we are aiming to surpass 2019.

 

 

Lastly, looking at our pre-audited financial results, the trend of decreased community development spending continued into 2021 as donors shifted funding towards Nutrition, Humanitarian Aid and Business Relief (largely due to the riots in July 2021).

Our goal for 2022 is to increase support of our Social Justice programmes (Abandoned Babies Home & Red Light Anti-Human-Trafficking) as well as going to drive the importance of quality education.

All in all, 2021 was an exceptional year, wrapping up a 2 year ‘wild ride’, which, thanks to our partners, donors and volunteers, provides an incredible spring board into 2022.

RE-VISIONING 2022 – 2025

During the annual Domino Visioning Week, which took place at the start of 2022, the team revisited the challenge of what its mission in the year ahead should look like. The trajectory which had been established the previous year was one which Shaun described as one of “building and muscling”.  Significant growth had happened despite, and maybe because of, the enormous challenges faced and all the programmes had been expanded and Domino’s reach significantly extended. None of this has been taken for granted and it is acknowledged that it would not have been possible without the crucial role donors, sponsors and partners played. The ‘stronger together’ mantra remains vital in 2022 as Domino moves forward to its long-term goal of doubling its impact by 2025.

Concrete steps must be taken this year towards the targets of the:

  • elimination of abandonment and
  • zero hunger and malnourishment
  • eradication of bondage, slavery and exploitation, and
  • provision of quality education for all and
  • access to decent employment for all in South Africa

Shaun emphasised that Domino is committed to working with communities to build a resilience into those communities and the ability to withstand and navigate the fallout disasters bring. Vulnerable people need to be supported as they are empowered to throw off a victim mentality and find they have the capacity to rise above their circumstances. “We want to push ahead with our vision to ‘Add One’ in every area of Domino’s activities as we embark on our “+1 CAMPAIGN” one more donor, one more volunteer, one more beneficiary, one more partner. That’s the way we will see this year being a vital step in moving towards having twice our present impact by 2025.”

Currently, as we sit and forecast income and efforts in 2022, we have secured commitment from existing partners to the value of R7.3M (which we are trusting and praying that these partners can fulfil these commitments and are also extremely thankful for their pledged support) The outstanding funding required. for the rest of the year, across all programmes, sits at a further R5.1M needed in 2022.

“Domino wins, when its partners win” Shaun Tait, CEO, The Domino Foundation

We will be sharing more programme secific goals for 2022 in the coming weeks as the teams hit the ground, ready to ‘build muscle’, continue with acts of mercy, fight for justice and see more people living with dignity, justice, hope and purpose.

*These totals are pre-audit figures and may change slightly once our audit is complete. Our audits are currently underway and these figures will be updated when complete.

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