Community News

A Blaze Of Floral Art

It was an act of love seven years ago when Angela Altern and friends created a painted blaze of colour in a floral mural along the driveway wall of The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home. “I had an overwhelming desire to brighten the lives of the little people living in the home until they were either reunited with their biological families or had joined their new adoptive ‘forever’ families.”

Time and the elements have faded the hues of the asters and daisies bedecking the wall. All the children who were then part of the little community on Adelaide Tambo Avenue have moved on, but Angela’s affection for the new clutch of babies and toddlers hasn’t dimmed. Now, as Cultural Coordinator overseeing music, drama and art at Redwood College, La Lucia, she suggested the school’s student outreach committee consider giving new life to the wall as a meaningful way to give back to and engage with the community.

The Redwood high school fans of the world’s most renowned street artist, Banksy, spent a good portion of Valentine’s Day hosing down, scrubbing and priming the 10 metre wall and then set to ‘replanting’. Standing back and admiring their handiwork, heads of the outreach committee, Megan Anamourlis and Kiera van Eden, declared: “We wanted to express love for the small residents at the home on this day linked with love. We think that the wall is a happy, warm welcome to all visitors and a declaration of the love which fills the Babies’ Home.”

Angela, whose four children all attend Redwood College, expressed her gratitude to Mica Durban North and Duram Smart Paints for their generous sponsorship of the paint for the project. House Mother at the home, Precious Thabethe, said that more than 170 children have been part of the ‘family’ over the two decades since its establishment: “Every act of love like this of the Redwood students adds something special to the little ones’ lives.” She encouraged anyone who has a heart for making a difference in children whose start in life has often been very hard to contact Domino on 031 110 0730 or marketing@domino.org.za

Caption: Redwood student, Megan Anamourlis, enjoys watching a small member of the ‘family’ at Domino’s Babies’ Home add a finishing touch to the school’s Cultural Coordinator Angela Altern’s makeup.

Read more

Train The Trainers

Anele Chita, Grow ECD’s Community Development Co-ordinator in the Durban metropolitan area, hit the new school year strongly with a two-day Train the Trainers workshop with The Domino Foundation’s Early Childhood Development Programme’s Team Leader, Zanele Nzimande and her field workers.

“We equip ECD businesses and organisations with the skills, support and resources to provide 5-star early learning for every child in their care,” he explained. The workshop provided ongoing training in proficiency in the GROW app which has revolutionised the 64 ECD centres partnering with Domino since the app was rolled out in the centres last year. Domino’s Education Co-ordinator, Nicky Walton, described the progress since then: “The app has streamlined the way education happens in these centres, gearing them up significantly on their journey from being merely child-care centres to being effective small businesses where critical preparation for school readiness is the order of the day.” The app is used for daily updating of registers, for its resource centre and library, and a variety of ways of stimulating pupils more effectively as pre-schoolers in preparation for school-readiness.

The multi-purpose app provides paperless administration and enables owners to improve their centres as small businesses, facilitating finance management, parent communication, teacher competency and pupil assessments.

Joining the field workers was Mdu Vato, Domino’s Nutrition Programme Supervisor, who took part because the  ECD owners’ progress in using the app is monitored for their centres to qualify to receive high protein porridge and soup for their pupils’ lunches. He explained: “We are very aware of how good nutrition helps children avoid stunting, wasting and obesity as well as being ‘food for thought’, aiding brain development, concentration in class and effective learning all round.”

At the end of the workshop, Zanele commented: “Evidence shows attendance at pre-school establishes good foundational learning skills which will generally see pupils going further and finishing their school careers well. The GROW app is significantly impacting these centres and we expect to see them attaining increasingly high standards in business and academic achievement.”

If you would like invest and partner with us in the ECD Education space please contact Nicky on education@domino.org.za

Caption: Domino’s Zanele Nzimande and GROW ECD’s Anele Chita at the Train the Trainer Workshop held at the Domino Offices #fromCradletoCareer #jointheDominoEffect

As featured in our Community Newspaper too

https://www.citizen.co.za/north-glen-news/news-headlines/local-news/2024/01/25/durban-north-organisation-grows-early-childhood-development/

Read more

Eyes Right!

The two words defined the day for 116 pupils at Ekuthuleni Primary School, Ntuzuma. “Eyes Right!” wasn’t a military command to the “troops” lined waiting for the team from the African Eye Institute (AEI).  Rather they were what would mark the day as a turning point in their educational journey. The eager young crowd were there to receive their new spectacles prescribed after the children’s screening as part of AEI’s OSaaT (One School at a Time) project.

Non-profit AEI works to reduce avoidable blindness and vision impairment caused by refractive errors and other eye deficiencies and, through donations and partnerships, supports free, quality eye health services to marginalised communities, particularly schoolchildren and the elderly.

Thobile Msani, head of The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme, talked about how the children’s lives would be impacted by their clearer vision of the world around them: “A lot of these learners have many challenges which have negative effects on their ability to really benefit from their schooling. Not being able to see clearly in class makes everything far more difficult. Children with poor eyesight find it harder to identify and interpret what they are seeing which creates difficulties in much of their education.” She explained that the spectacles not only mean the children can now see the board at the front of the class more clearly and how better vision helps learners’ brains take in, organise and interpret information. Some children have close-up vision deficiencies which can affect hand-eye coordination and delay reading and language skills development. Social and physical development can also suffer.

AEI’s Head of Programmes, Nad Ramsarup, described how his organisation has been providing free vision screening to hundreds of underprivileged schoolchildren in KZN and other provinces: “We don’t only provide spectacles but also refer some children to hospitals if further intervention is needed.” He said that 121 Ekuthuleni pupils had been identified for extra care and treatment for vision problems.

The OSaaT programme’s large-scale school screenings would not be possible without its sponsoring partners: Berkeley Vision, CooperVision, OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation, Transitions, Optometry Giving Sight, and Peek Vision.

Nad can be contacted at nad@aei.org.za for more information on AEI’s OSaaT (One School at a Time) project.

Caption:

Pic 1: AEI’s Kesi Naidoo shares in Mratiwa Moloi’s delight as the world comes into focus at the fitting of spectacles at Ekuthuleni Primary School.

Pic 2: Grade 1 pupil at Ekuthuleni Primary School, Xola Magikane, is delighted as the world comes into focus after he received spectacles through the African Eye Institute.

Thank you to our community media partners for your support

https://www.citizen.co.za/north-glen-news/news-headlines/local-news/2024/02/07/durban-north-organisation-helps-learners-look-to-a-brighter-future/

Read more

Matrics Taking Care Of Matrics

Burning the midnight oil, last-minute cramming, hopes and dreams for their futures on the line… almost a million candidates across South Africa began writing their Matric on 30 October. Knowing the pressures they are all under, the Grade 12s in four Ethekwini high schools enthusiastically reached out to their peers in less well-resourced schools, as part of The Domino Foundation’s ‘Matric Camp Campaign’.

Cathy Whittle, leader of Domino’s Nutrition and Disaster Relief programmes has been working with Manyoni Game Reserve and the Zululand Conservation Trust (ZCT) since the severe flooding in local Zululand communities over recent years: “It began in partnership with SARLA, (South African Rugby Legends) and SA Harvest distributing food and hygiene supplies to hard-hit communities around the reserve. As the the last line of defense between the poachers and protected animals, the communities’ wellbeing is critical.” Nurturing symbiotic relationships with the communities and investing in local education through nutrition and infrastructure (boreholes and solar) is vital so education and human capital impact is improved. The reserve also benefits the community as a future employer and as a customer purchasing community-grown vegetables for the lodge kitchens, and Zulu handcrafts for the lodge’s retail spaces.

One ongoing project is the Matric camps set up at schools three weeks before the final exams. As many students live in crowded homes with no quiet spaces for study, the camps provide disturbance-free areas where students learn together, receive extra lessons, and get 3 meals a day with a meat donation from Manyoni. The ZCT funds cooks, extra teachers, security guards, and donates mattresses.

This was where the quartet of Durban schools came in: Northwood, Northlands, Clifton and Danville responded to the call Cathy called ‘Matrics taking care of Matrics’. “Each Matric was asked to donate two products (long-life milk, sugar, deodorant, rusks, tea or coffee). We were overwhelmed by the response. The donations went to 3 schools: Senzokuhle Secondary School and Mandlakazi High School on the borders of Manyoni Reserve, Jozini, and Amaoti 3 High School in Brookdale, Phoenix.”

Cathy described the matric camps’ success over the past four years: “Senzokuhle and Mandlakazi have seen their pass-rates rocket from 22% to 83%, whilst other participating schools have also seen similar significant improvement in their pass-rates. Encouraged by the outstanding response of Grade 12s both North and South of the Umgeni, Cathy declared her intention of getting more schools on board in 2024: “We plan to start the appeal in term 3 next year so we can support more Matric students in the area. Our partners have the vision to install boreholes and solar power and grow the local educational upgrade. We see great opportunities for Domino’s skills development programme to share what it has developed so the matriculants can move into their futures with hope and direction.”

She invited anyone interested in having more information on how to be involved to contact her 031 110 0730 or nutrition@domino.org.za

And the years before that too

https://www.citizen.co.za/south-coast-sun/news-headlines/2020/11/02/domino-foundation-feed-matrics-ahead-of-finals/

https://m.facebook.com/thedominofoundation/photos/a.569262159777599/5766078656762564/?type=3

Read more

Early Childhood Development – Tools at your Fingertips

The Domino Foundation’s ECD (Early Childhood Development) Programme works with over 106 owners of community ECD Centres to prepare children for school-readiness. The early years are vitally significant for their development milestones which need to be grasped before the age five.

Many of these ECD centres have limited educational resources.

Domino collaborates with fellow NPO Singakwenza (“We can do it!”) in Pietermaritzburg, to teach ECD educators how they can make effective resources from recycled waste materials (think ‘bread bags, tags and toilet rolls’) so children can play with the ‘toys’ and learn in the process, setting good foundations for greater language, numeracy, and attentional skills success.

If you would like to learn more about our ECD Programme or partner with this foundation phase education please connect with us on admin@domino.org.za

Read more

Adoption Story from Durban To Calgary

Seven years ago, siblings Jade and James made the 16,285 km journey to Calgary, Canada. There, winter lows hit the minus-thirties, a long way from subtropical Durban where The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home had been their world for as long as they could remember.

Online searched led Canadian fireman, Owen Watson, and his wife, Jolene, to Domino’s website. They made contact and heard of a little girl and her brother needing a loving home. The couple made the long journey to meet their “ready-made” family and then take them to their new home where everything would be totally different to what they had ever known.

Dad Watson recently emailed the home to say both are very healthy and are growing like weeds. 11-year old Jade has all the attitude of a healthy tweenager and 9-year old James apparently could “power the entire city of Joburg on the amount of energy he expends in a day”. The two have a good solid group of friends and an exceptionally supportive community of neighbours and the loving foundation received whilst in Domino’s care! #foreverfamilies

If you would like more information on adoption or support the Domino Babies Home to love and care for more champions like Jade and James Owen please connect with us on admin@domino.org.za – Reference I love adoption

Read more

Family of four ride for fun in the sun

On Sundays, Durban summer heat permitting, the Brokensha family-foursome mount up and pedal their way to church.

Dad Athol, mum Karen and offspring Tori and Joshua have opted to cycle through the leafy suburb of Glenwood for a little pedal power before (and after) their spiritual recharge for the week.

Karen is Marketing Manager of The Domino Foundation, the official beneficiary of the aQuellé Tour Durban. She is fondly known as their “Chief Storyteller” and is a fervent supporter of the cycle race, and sees the story of the event as a great one to tell far and wide.

“We really do honour and celebrate partnerships like the one The Domino Foundation has with the Tour Durban. This joint project provides the opportunity for so many people from our own community here in Durban to join with others from across the country and from beyond our borders. It is a chance to make a difference in the lives of our thousands of beneficiaries through the money raised by this cycle race.”

At first, it was just one member of the Brokensha household, Athol, who committed to climbing on his saddle for a ride around the neighbourhood. Then Karen was given a bicycle, followed by Tori and Josh in hot pursuit! One or two rides to church and the bug had bitten the family peloton.

“It’s what we at the Foundation refer to as the Domino Effect,” declared Karen “We start with mercy, justice and empowerment in the life of one individual. As that one is impacted, ultimately a whole community is affected for the better.”

Just as the Brokensha family’s fitness levels are rising as they encourage each other on their cycle rides, every rand raised by people’s participation in this year’s Tour Durban race will have an exponential effect in transforming the lives of the people on Domino’s seven community-centric programmes.

For families and school groups keen to book to ride together, please email Karen on marketing@domino.org.za

Read more

When granny says so!

It’s a family affair! Indefatigable Lizzy Cullen has inspanned son Richard, and grandson Matthew to support aQuellé Tour Durban this year. Not content with only having them join her in her sandwich-making for The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme, she noted the date of this year’s Tour Durban and told the pair: “Get your cycling helmets on! We are going to ride in this year’s event on 14 May because the funds raised will go towards Domino’s seven programmes and we will be able to make even more peanut butter sandwiches!”

For many years, Lizzy has been a faithful twice-weekly volunteer at Domino’s Doonside kitchens, making sandwiches for schoolchildren and ECD centres on the Nutrition programme south of Ethekwini. She has been determined that there should be a new generation who knows what it means to serve the vulnerable people in their communities. “I have taught my grandchildren what an absolute pleasure it is to give to people who will never be able to give back to them. There was a prayer I learned at school that said:  ‘Teach us, good Lord, to serve you, to give and not to ask for any reward.’”

Lizzy and family have sent out the challenge to the community to sign up for Tour Durban and show what Toti can do (Grandad Alan, declined the invitation, but got behind the camera to take the pic of the trio).

Caption: As she adjusts grandson Matthew’s strap, Lizzy Cullen assures him that she has her own helmet ready for Tour Durban race day.

Read more

KZN Relief Project Closeout & Thank You

Kolisi Foundation x KZN Relief Project Closeout and Thank You

In May 2022, in response to the devastating KZN Floods that swept through the metropole, we were able to collectively raise R1 028 295.00 toward food relief for those impacted and displaced by the floods. Through the
generous contributions of our key partners – the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, The Domino Foundation*, KFC Add Hope, Hollywood Foundation, and Feed the Nation Foundation, as well as members of the
public – we provided 155 Community Kitchen Hampers to 61 Community Halls opened up to house evacuees across the city. These parcels are substantial, containing 450kgs of food each, including staples, oil,
spices, and fresh produce. Our collective response resulted in over 69 tonnes of food distributed over 5 weeks from April 21-May 27, 2022.

As is the case in disaster scenarios, it is difficult to estimate how many individuals were served through these distributions, but our distribution partners on the ground, The Domino Foundation and the KZN Disaster
Response Team, put initial estimates at 5779 internally displaced persons housed in the community halls.
In addition to our ongoing commitments to KZN households through our existing partnerships, we were able to extend an extra 190 Household Hampers (totaling R152 000.00) to Denis Hurley Center and Philakade Care
Home between May and September to provide ongoing household-level relief to households impacted by the floods.

We simply could not have mobilised as powerfully as we did without the generosity of our funding partners, the logistical support and distribution capacity of Boxer Superstores and Feed the Nation Foundation, and the on the
ground activation of The Domino Foundation and the KZN Disaster Response Team. Thank you for joining us in responding with care and compassion to alleviate the impact of this disaster in KZN.

*R450 000.00 of this was raised independently through The Domino Foundation’s partners. These funds were sent to Kolisi Foundation to purchase additional Community Kitchen hampers through our partnership with Boxer and Feed the Nation, adding to the total number of parcels we could mobilize.

Our Partners

The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project
KZN Disaster Response Team
Feed the Nation Foundation
The Domino Foundation
Hollywood Foundation
Boxer Superstores
KFC Add Hope
General Public

Thank you for partnering with us. We could not have mobilised as powerfully as we did without you.

Read more

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

Read more
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial