Domino People

Project 10 arrives on Durban’s shores

For the past few months, we’ve been lucky enough to have a group of motivated volunteers with us from Israel. In the short space of time that Project 10 has been volunteering here, they’ve already managed to run a maths camp for Amaoti high school learners, prepared meals for the feeding programme and learnt some isiZulu through isiZulu classes run by our very own Sifiso (Life Skills mentor).

Through international volunteer groups, The Domino Foundation is able to exchange knowledge, expose our beneficiaries to different cultures and build international ties – all extremely valuable experiences for us. Shani Silove, South African Project Director of Project 10, shared her thoughts on their Durban experience and what it means to be an international volunteer.


What is the vision and purpose of Project 10 and how is this implemented?

Our vision is to empower young Jewish adults to give their time and skills to create sustainable projects in developing and vulnerable communities around the world. We aim to offer young Jewish adults from across the globe the opportunity to explore what it means to be an activist and to meet and be inspired by local people doing amazing work on the ground. In order to promote sustainability and strengthen local communities, we initiate projects in the three fields of informal education, public health and agriculture.

Why have Project 10 decided to come to Durban?

Durban is the first urban centre and is located close to a small Jewish community who were very enthusiastic to have Project Ten in Durban. Additionally, the Victor Daitz Foundation is major contributor to our programme and they were keen for us to work with local communities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Are South Africa and your home country similar? 

Yes, both countries have a long and complex history, which affects current social, economic and political structures. Both countries are also different from their neighbouring countries and have the potential to grow and develop in unique and exciting ways.

What have been some of the team’s defining moments during their Durban experience?

Seeing people their own age who are living on the street and are using substances such as glue as a way of coping with their life circumstances. It has given them a lot of perspective as to how lucky they are in their lives with loving families and all their basic needs met.

What lessons have your team learnt?

They’ve learnt not to judge a book by its cover and that sometimes it takes time to really see things as they are.

How has the Maths camp been going?

The Maths camp has been fantastic. We have a good team who are working well together, the kids are having fun and thanks to the generous donation of Domino we are able to feed the children too. It has been great to give the children an enriching experience together with the maths skills. For example, teaching measurements by measuring the map of Africa and learning about their own country while gaining maths skills.

What advice would you want to share with other volunteer groups?

To be open minded and to realise that many things you see are different from what you are used to but some things are always the same. All children, no matter where you are in the world, want to have fun, want to learn and they want to be loved.

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With the Festive Season upon us, Yuval Ezbal (right) and Amit Sosman (left) wished their isiZulu teacher, Siphiso Hlongwa, “UKhisimusi omuhle!”, the local good wishes for Christmas. He returned the greeting with “Chanuka sameach!” to mark the upcoming Jewish Festival of Lights. Amit and Yuval are in South Africa as part of the first group of volunteers with Project TEN, an apolitical international programme that operates centres in Mexico, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda, drawing volunteers from all over the world. The programme combines volunteer work with local communities and service-learning in the fields of international development, culture and identity. Project TEN is involved with a number of the programmes of The Domino Foundation where Siphiso is a facilitator in the Life Skills programme. The Foundation is a non-profit organisation that creates essential structures geared towards supporting programmes that are meeting the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs of individuals and communities in KZN and the Western Cape through mercy, justice and empowerment.

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Movement Day: Inspiring a more impactful 2017

The Domino Foundation has a heart to see individuals and communities within South Africa living with dignity, justice, hope and purpose.

So when four of The Domino Foundation’s staff, Richard Mun-Gavin (Executive Chairman), Shaun Tait (COO), Mickey Wilkins (Domino Business) and Toni Wilkins (Past ECD and Life Skills Programme Manager) were asked to join 137 other Durban visionaries to attend the three-day city transformation conference in New York, called Movement Day, they said yes.

The conference built into The Domino Foundation’s vision of seeing our community being transformed and our representatives listened to inspiring and knowledgeable speakers from around the globe, connected with like-minded individuals and visionaries and were equipped to bring change back to Durban. Two key points they learnt, which we can all learn from, are:

Relational trust

One of the underlying ‘lessons’ taken from Movement day was the importance of Relational Trust forming the foundation for any partnership or collaboration. This means moving from just knowing organisations from a distance towards deeply understanding their heart and purpose, and getting to know the people behind the scenes on a personal level. If people and organisations are aligned relationally and that trust has been built then tasks, programmes and initiatives are more likely to succeed and endure challenges. Relational trust is also key to developing sustainable collaboration.

Collaboration

Simply, collaboration is working together with people to achieve a common goal. It does not mean that everyone is implementing or doing the exact same thing but rather doing different things that work towards the same common vision of seeing a city reach its true potential. By collaborating across different sectors (business, government and NGO’s) there can be true economic empowerment and social justice that contributes to a well-working city that benefits all its citizens. And that can only happen through a trust relationship.

What this means for The Domino Foundation?

Next year looks set to be more collaborative and focused on building intentional relationships than ever before. That means engaging with other NPO’s, governmental departments, business and individuals to transform communities.

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Richard Mun-Gavin and Shaun Tait.

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New season, new roles

With a new season comes new leadership. As the Domino Foundation increases its capacity to reach more communities there have been some internal shifts to ensure that the hands who do this work are passionate, skilled and ready to impact lives.

At the beginning of the year Mickey Wilkins stepped down as CEO of the Domino Foundation. After twelve incredible years of leading the non-profit Mickey has now decided to look after the sustainability of Domino and has started Domino Business. As of February 2016 the Domino Foundation welcomed in a new CEO, Richard Mun-Gavin, lead pastor of Cogs Church. Not only does Richard bring a wealth of pastoral experience but his passion for people means he’s more than ready to take Domino into a new season of growth.

Shaun Tait has officially moved into the role of  COO and is overseeing the day to day operations of all the programmes and its staff. Although a tall task Shaun has slid into his role with effort and ease.

After heading up the ECD team since its inception Toni Wilkins has decided to focus her attentions on the Life Skills programme and counselling at the Door of Hope Counselling Centre. The team is now been led by the capable Jessica King, who moved over from donor relations. Jessica is more than qualified for the position and brings her unique learnings from her studies, a Bachelor of Social Science in Organisational Psychology and Industrial Sociology and a Foundation Phase Teaching qualification and is currently Clinical Psychology. Jessica also handles the Domino volunteers.

And in the feeding programme Cathy Whittle has taken over the reigns as Programme Manager. Cathy comes from the cooking industry and has the heaps of experience needed to steer the many Domino feeding projects in the right direction. In case you’ve forgotten, that’s our Sandwich Kitchen, Soup Kitchen and Relief Kitchen. Past Project Manager, Brenda Scheepers has moved onto an exciting venture with Domino Business, which you can read more about here.

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The Domino Foundation moves into a new season of leadership

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The Domino Foundation is in the midst of exciting times. As of February 2016 the Domino Foundation welcomed in a new CEO, Richard Mun-Gavin, lead pastor of Cogs Church. Not only does Richard bring a wealth of pastoral experience but his passion for people means he’s more than ready to take Domino into a new season of growth. Mickey Wilkins, founder of the Domino Foundation and acting CEO for the past twelve years, has not disappeared from Domino’s view, but simply moved into an exciting new venture, Domino Business, which you can read more about here.

The below piece is written by Richard Mun-Gavin, the new CEO of the Domino Foundation.

“As we’ve started 2016, it looks like God is using the natural rhythm of the date change to make a leadership change within the Domino Foundation. After 12 incredible years, Mickey Wilkins’ time of leadership at the Domino Foundation comes to an end and I would like to take a moment to applaud him and thank him for the great work he has done for thousands as he has lead this organisation from its inception into its establishment, and from its establishment into its growth. ‘Thank you and well done’ seems so insufficient to honour you Mickey!

I write this letter as the incoming CEO of the Domino Foundation, and even though I feel quite daunted when I look back over what Domino has accomplished, I look forward with tremendous excitement at what lies ahead for us.

For those who do not know me, I’ve had the privilege of being Chairman of the Board for the past two and a half years, as well as being actively involved in the foundation for its first four years. I have the work of Domino residing deep within me and carry a deep desire to not only see the existing work continue, but to see a multiplied story outwork itself as we look to serve, uplift, and transform many more lives and communities as we move forward together.

I would like to end this short piece by thanking all of you who are reading this and have contributed in any way, small or big, to making Domino what it is today. Thank you for your hands, thank you for your minds, thank you for your products, and thank you for your financial resources. It’s a great privilege to serve with you and alongside you in this great work.

Let’s keep making a difference.

Richard Mun-Gavin

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Three cheers for 2015

As we reach the end of 2015, it is a great time to reflect on the continued miracle of transformed lives and the accumulated effect of ‘doing good’ in a sustained manner.

For me, the most rewarding aspect is to see the vast variety of people involved in the Domino story. From overseas volunteers, to mothers with spare time, graduates and professionals with real expertise in social change and corporate leaders who use their positions in business to provide finance, all come together for the common good of our society. We can only hope and pray that the influence and example we are setting as a group can continue to grow and influence both business and government.

Some of the highlights of 2015 include:

  • The opening of our second abandoned babies home and the increase in adoptions
  • The significant impact we were able to make during the xenophobia crisis
  • On the back of this, our role in helping with the establishment and growth of ‘Durban Dialogue’ as a vehicle to improve social cohesion between foreigner and locals
  • The establishment of our new Relief Kitchen and the continued significance of feeding as a whole – over 700 000 meals from just one of our kitchens this year
  • The expertise of our Early Childhood Development team led to be asked to do an assessment of the ECD centres in Waterloo. This has also attracted the attention of various government departments and we look forward to a constructive working relationship. We anticipate the team working in Amaoti, Waterloo and Cornubia in 2016.
  • The number of great stories of changed lives continues to be a source of hope and encouragement.

On behalf of the whole Domino team, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, a restful holiday and a great 2016. Let’s not forget that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and we are so grateful for what His birth and sacrifice means to us.

God bless,

Mickey Wilkins

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Paint perfect

Inspired by the Domino Foundation’s message of “changing a life to change a community”, a group of Danville Girls High School learners and Cogs youth dedicated their Saturday to painting two schools in the Amaoti township.

They applied a fresh lick of paint to five classrooms from Amaoti Combined School, the same classrooms where the Domino Foundation teaches Life Skills lessons.

It was an eye-opening experience for the learners. Kelsey Pfeil realised, “we are very privileged to attend a school like Danville and live in a house with running water, an inside toilet and bedrooms. Volunteering is a life experience and is good to step out of your comfort zone and take a stand in helping people.”

And Reyanka Kisten took away the life lesson saying, “Giving off a little of your time to help others is more rewarding than spending that time on yourself.”

Although it may seem like a small contribution, every effort counts!

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