Domino People

RESCUE, RELIEF & RECONSTRUCTION

Business magnate, Steve Jobs, said: “It’s not the tools you have faith in…It’s the people…”

The Domino Foundation realised its Enterprise Development Programme was a powerful tool to meet critical needs exposed by last July’s civil unrest. Small and micro enterprises desperately needed assistance to resume trading.  Domino Foundation and Domino Business Development adapted the programme, and the latter’s Khulisa Business Development Programme for Small to Medium Enterprise Development (SME) to meet the contingency plan.

Domino Foundation, CEO, Shaun Tait, commented: “We worked with the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, VumaFM and Tencent Africa to support these SMEs. Through assessments, site visits, mentor-coaching and financial grants, we aimed to get businesses trading as quickly as possible.”

The programme used leads from the community and other NPOs in affected communities. Ten businesses were identified as potential recipients of grants of between R20,000 and R50,000.

Pre and on-site assessment, Domino Business’ Mickey Wilkins explained, validated the businesses as legitimate enterprises. The damage and what was needed to resume trading as soon as possible were assessed. Validations, timelines and projected areas of expenditure were signed.

Funds were released in two tranches. The first permitted businesses to start re-establishing themselves. With invoices paid, stock ordered, agreed repairs completed and security in place, the second tranche was released. Mentoring sessions and surveys over 6 months ensured ongoing development.

Recurring themes called for ongoing mentorship and a development programme. Some asset-rich businesses located in high-risk areas were uninsurable. and owners had little understanding of insurance. Domino’s business-training workshops provided information and network-support bases.

The programme grew into 10-weeks of coaching/mentoring with focused videos and professional think-tank input-sessions. Steps to be taken emphasised grant-income-generation and investment. A workbook series was developed for the entrepreneurs to reflect and update on the changes to their businesses.

The ability to pivot was critical in the process. Mentoring helped owners rise to new entrepreneurial levels, identifying unsustainable business operations, jettisoning muddled business practices, unclear target-market understanding and unhelpful branding.

At the end of 2021, Old Mutual contacted the Durban Chamber of Commerce about the group’s support grants project. With Shaun chairing DCC’s NPO forum, Domino’s relationship with the Chamber was strong. The DCC knew of businesses struggling long after the unrest eight of which received Old Mutual grants.

Many immediate needs had been met, but Domino saw the violence had severely traumatised entrepreneurs. Before payment of the second tranche, Old Mutual added the Centre for Mental Wellness’ 3-day trauma-processing workshop to help entrepreneurs deal with personal trauma and its impact on their businesses.

Domino is looking for partnerships to extend the project so more SMEs can re-establish themselves and come back better-equipped to face the future.

Photograph: Gavin Simpkins, Theo Brown and Mickey Wilkins, facilitators of the Khulisa SME Relief programme.

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Bread and Butter Champions

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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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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Clearing the way through Computer Complexities

For many for whom pen on paper is the most formalised way of communication they know, the avalanche of tech terms in the world of computers is simply (or not so simply) daunting. The ten ladies from the staff of The Domino Foundation who are in the middle of their three-month adventure into the world of querty boards, UBs and mouses (surely that should be mice?), are on a journey into IT-savvy. The computer-literacy course, which is being facilitated by The Clothing Bank, and was developed in collaboration with non-profit training and skills organisation, Enza Empowering Women, includes an introduction to computers, MS Office skills, email and internet.  Jane Naude of The Clothing Bank’s Umbilo Road, Berea-based Durban offices says, “It is critical for everyone to have computer skill. They open so many opportunities and make effective communication possible in today’s technology-centric world.  We are working in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Number 5 which aims at women and girls being empowered to take control of their lives by giving them skills to compete in the job market. With computer skills in hand, they also gain a sense of confidence that they have a worthwhile contribution to make to their families and to their communities”.

Zanele  Nzimakwe, who leads Domino’s ECD team, is one of four on the course from her own team, with the others being members of the Nutrition and Life Skills team and the Babies’ Home programme’s staff. She commented that her ability to use her laptop was previously very basic. ”Now, I understand so much more of what I can do with this machine…I feel free! And, when things go wrong, I don’t have to run to our IT man for help!”

At the end of the course, the bevy of eager computer-literate ladies will receive certificates proving they are ready to launch into the world of spread-sheets, search-engine navigation, word-processing, and computer security and privacy.

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A little goes a long way …

“2.5 Million Children in South Africa Go Hungry Every Year”… we have become numbed by headlines like this…the words exhaust us, frustrate us and leave us asking, “How can I possibly make a difference?” My once-off donation of R250 would pale into insignificance in the light of the burden of increasing rates of child poverty, child-headed households, double orphans, human-trafficking, malnutrition and lack of equal educational opportunities.

The Domino Foundation is committed to its purpose “one changed life, changes a community”. In the same way, it only takes one decision to make a difference, no matter how small the gift. However, Marketing Storyteller with the Foundation, Karen Brokensha, points out: “giving on a regular monthly basis of a relatively small amount makes a very tangible and sustainable impact in the work we can do for communities. R250 a month on a direct debit order has a very quantifiable impact through our programmes.” Karen gave details of how R164 per month enables active learning in a toddler in the Early Childhood Development Programme while for R32,50, the Nutrition Programme is able to supply peanut butter or egg mayonnaise sandwiches for a school learner each month. The Literacy Programme is able to provide phonic education for five children to learn to read in Grade 1 with an investment of R250 over the twelve months.

“Where some of the needs are much bigger, individual donors and families giving monthly forms the backbone of our fundraising strategy as people who give to what matters to them, usually partner with conviction, compassion and consistency” Karen said. “We have done our homework and realised that it only takes 13 individuals or families donating R249 per month to help a young person reach their destined potential through our Skills Development Programme. Our bursary students need R3,237 per month for their tuition/textbooks/data for online learning.” Karen went on, “It takes R3,214 per month for us to give the round-the-clock love and care each of our vulnerable little ones in our Babies’ Home needs. That also means 13 families giving R250 each month would fit that bill for each child being transitioned through reunification/adoption into their forever families”

Karen’s colleague, Gugu Mazwele in the Red Light Anti-Human-Trafficking Programme, added, “We need R4,493 per beneficiary per month to reach out, restore and release these women who have experienced traumatic sexual exploitation”  That is 18 people donating R250 per month per woman, to fight for their freedom through the programme.

“Statistics are hard cold facts“ Said Karen emphatically, “because they reduce human beings to numbers on a spreadsheet, but over the ten months of a standard school year, our Youth Workers in the Life Skills Programme can impact pre-adolescent youth through Mentorship and Leadership Development and you could help a trio of game changers with R250 per month”

Over the past months of Lockdown in particular, Domino’s Disaster Response Unit has appreciated every financial and in kind donation, no matter how large or small, which has helped them meet the immediate needs of people adversely affected by the pandemic. “But our communities will continue to be hit by disasters like floods and shack fires. “We have worked out that R1,588 will help each disaster victim for a year. That’s almost two people helped each month by a direct debit of R250,” said leader of the Disaster Relief Team, Cathy Whittle.

Receiving support from individuals and families on a monthly basis into the Domino stable of ‘ministries’ adds confidence and camaraderie to both the giver and receiver. It is the foundation of  partnership made to stand the test of time!

Nelson Mandela said that “…overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity.” We believe in building diverse income streams to sustain the work we do for the beneficiaries sake,” Karen concluded, “and one option is the direct debit option which enables so many more people to be a proactive part of the solution to brokenness in South Africa. We also want them to know how their generosity is changing individual lives and do our best to send regular updates. We want them to know that we are being faithful stewards of their R250 every month.” She invites anyone who is keen to be part of the direct debit scheme to contact her on karen@domino.org.za or Lisa on admin@domino.org.za or call the office on 031 563 9605.

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PROTOCOL FOR THOSE WANTING TO EXIT THE SEX INDUSTRY CALL 0800 222 777

Many women will share that they want to get out of the lifestyle, so you need to put systems in place to assess their commitment and tenacity to exit the industry.

Some helpful suggestions from our Redlight Programme Team.

  • Hand out Contact Cards – have a separate cell phone with a different number to your personal one, where they can Whatsapp you or miss call you to meet up at another time. I would add the Human Trafficking Resource Line number 0800 222 777 on the card too so if they are desperate they can make contact at any time with the resource line
  • If they don’t have a phone on them, but they know their number – you can do a follow up call with them the next day and make an arrangement to meet up.
  • Always make a plan to meet up in a public place (restaurant or somewhere visible that the ladies are familiar with) and make sure you bring someone with you who can be watching from a distance as protection and can be there to pray.
  • If they show up, bring a notepad with you and just share with them that you want to hear their story and get to know them – allow them to share without interrupting and write down as much as possible – up to you if you want to offer to pay for some food or drinks.

Possible questions to ask:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Where they currently live and with who
  • What area they come from, grew up?
  • School and education level
  • What family, children they have
  • Friendships
  • Previous activity before working on the streets
  • How long have they been working in the industry, who introduced them to the streets?
  • Addiction and substance abuse (often don’t admit truthfully so try to  minimize this aspect)
  • What would they like to do if they could do anything

Once they share all this information with you, you can share how you can/would like to assist them and to encourage them that all it takes is the courage to continue to show up to these meetings and you can share other stories of ladies and men who have successfully left the streets, who have got help getting out of addiction and into other employment opportunities.

FOLLOW UP REFERRALS

  1. The Domino Foundation – Redlight Program

Call Esther Madikane – Redlight Number 076 190 5037, or on the Domino Office number – 031 563 9605 or on email release@domino.org.za

Based in Durban North

Domino Restoration Program can assist with:

  • Refer to an Addiction rehabilitation program and support groups
  • Counselling
  • Spiritual Healing
  • Skills development
  • Education opportunities, short courses
  • Stipends and basic needs provision to support while exiting the industry
  • Vocational training and work experience
  • Medical assistance
  1. The Open Door Crisis Centre: Pinetown +27 31 709 2679
  • Counselling
  • Clinic Services
  • Place of Safety
  1. Human Trafficking Resource Line – 0800 222 777

If the ladies ever feel in danger or want to escape a situation – they can call that toll free number and someone will answer 24/7

 

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When in need, ask a woman!

Each year, South Africa marks Women’s Month in August and remembers the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 to protest the extension of Pass Laws to women.

The Domino Foundation is largely staffed by women, unrelenting in their determination to see the vulnerable in our communities shown mercy, the marginalised empowered and those with no voice finding justice.

In the time of Lockdown, the severely disrupted school calendar has meant several of the Foundation’s eight programmes have not been able to operate at regular full capacity, yet programmes like the Disaster Relief Unit and Nutrition programme, have gone into overdrive, collecting donations, packing and distributing the equivalent of over one a half million meals to many of Domino’s 13,000 beneficiaries and others through collaboration with city partners, churches and NGO’s. Karen Brokensha, Domino’s Marketing Storyteller, says, “The extraordinary times we find ourselves in have called for extraordinary agility in our female tribe. With extra time and capacity on their hands, due to the disruption in some of their programmes, we have been able to step into unfamiliar spaces to work together to meet the endless needs.

The feminine contingent at the Durban North based foundation have taken much of their lead from Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition and Disaster Response Unit as she coordinates the distribution Relief Aid to reach those in need. Recently nominated by News 24 as an “Everyday Hero”, Cathy has lavishly praised the teamwork which is seeing vital paperwork done, Monitoring and Evaluation continuing, the 64 crèches on Domino’s ECD programme being made Covid-ready for when the children can and do return, and the endless administrative business is being attended as a united effort. “Possibly it comes quite naturally as we women are multi-taskers by nature of our roles as working moms. The ladies are thinking smart and stepping into the gaps without being asked. This really is teamwork at its best!”

Caption

Some of the ladies of the Domino team whose hands have made the job much lighter left to right:

Happiness Zulu; Zikhona Diya; Zanele Nzimakwe and Gloria Nyawuza.

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Mandela Day – Online Activations

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

We realise and respect that many of you might want to do something for Mandela Day this year but would prefer to do it from the comfort of your own offices or homes. So herewith some simple and super fun options:

  1. Could you zap a R67 gift to us? Thank you Zap away and please challenge 6 – 7 friends to do the same! Can we make it easier? WhatsApp us on 083 777 5633 and we will send you the mobile Zapper link to forward on …
  2. Are you an avid Zwift racing cyclist? Yay then please cycle in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020. It is R50 per entry and you can seriously chase that leader board!!
  3. Or are you more of a #WeekendWarrior type cyclist, where it’s about the coffee and the connecting and the great open road? Great, then please get your cycling crew and sign up to participate in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020 It is also R50 per entry and you can race your mates along the beach, bush or berg …
  4. Are you artistic and wildly creative? Could you draw a picture, do a painting, create a doodle or take a series of photographs? Anything to do with hope. Then you can auction it off to your friends and family online, tag us in your “online exhibition”, share your story and donate the proceeds to us!
  5. Do you act, create drama, write poetry or sing? Could you add your voice to a video about the importance of education, justice and nutrition? You could share it on your social media channels and tag The Domino Foundation to create greater awareness of the importance of the #DominoEffect – #fromcradletocareer giving #dignity #hope and #justice
  6. How about challenging your friends overseas to any of the above options? We have PayPal especially for those that love Africa, her sunshine, Shwe Shwe, the big 5 and our beloved Madiba!
  7. Could you continue to raise awareness and support of our Hope Vouchers please? R410 is just a click away and brings freedom of choice and dignified relief aid

THANK YOU AND GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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AGM 2020 Notice

Dear Domino Foundation Members, Partners and Donors,
 
I trust that you are holding up during these unusual days of the COVID-19 virus and the resultant lockdown. I am pleased to report that The Domino Foundation has been able to add considerable weight to the eThekwini Disaster Management efforts over the past 10 weeks and it is a privilege to be a fellow member of this great organisation.
 
It is our responsibility as the Board of Members of The Domino Foundation to hold an Annual General Meeting within six months of our financial year-end, which is 31 December each year. As a Board, we have explored multiple scenarios as to the possibility of holding an AGM during the ‘national lockdown’ we all currently face, and after presenting our options to legal counsel, it is our opinion that it would be best to defer our AGM for the 2019 year to a date (to be set) when all Members, Partners and Donors, have the possibility of attending in person.
 
This will mean that we have not fulfilled the technical responsibility for holding an AGM within six months of our year-end, however, we believe the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in force us to defer beyond the six months allowed. We will, however, be sending our Annual Report in due course.
 
The reason we have opted to defer the date for the AGM is due to the fact that we value all of The Domino Foundation Members and our desire is that everyone of us should have the opportunity to attend the meeting, which may not be possible should we hold it via electronic/digital medium. Should it be foreseeable, by October, that it will not be possible to meet in person in 2020, we will revert to holding a virtual AGM in the last quarter of the year.
 
We trust that you will support the Board in this matter and we look forward to seeing you all at the AGM when we are able to meet in person. 
 
Kind regards,
Richard Mun-Gavin on behalf of The Domino Foundation Board

Should you require further information please kindly contact us on admin@domino.org.za

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It’s a full baby home

Precious Thabete our Crisis Parent shared these insights and updates on what has been taking place in the transition home over the first few months of 2020.

“We are so happy to share the news that there were two separate adoptions in December 2019, which made way for us to take in two more special little people who both came to the baby home on the same day Monday 23 December 2019 and we really thank God for adding them to our Domino family”

Our home is alive with the sound of children healing and being cared for in a safe and loving environment. Precious, her team of caregivers, volunteers and community service learners (Pre COVID-19 lockdown!) continue to love these gorgeous kiddies who have been abandoned, given up for adoption or removed from their families for their own safety.

It has also been amazing to have the Domino Early Childhood Development Team come and empower the caregivers on how to run their mini morning teaching sessions for the two older boys so that active learning can take place!

“And whilst there have been no other adoptions this year, we were so excited to have a family from London pop in and visit us in February with their little girl and she seems to be so happy and doing so well!”

We continue to pray for our partners at Durban Child Welfare and Department of Social Development who assist us to place and care for vulnerable children in distress.

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