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

And the years before that too

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Getting Disaster-Ready

South African communities have been hammered by a number of major catastrophes in the recent past and less extensive incidents have also become more common. All have had devastating effects on the most vulnerable and on the economy. The very nature of these disasters is that they are unexpected and so, are often unplanned for.

A group of faith-based organizations, which have been at the forefront and collaborated in response to calamities in the Western Cape, Tshwane and KZN, will be holding a two-day conference on 20 and 21 September 2022, at Lewende Woord Hoofgemeente/Living Word Main in Brummeria, Pretoria.

One of the organisers, Ronel Rademeyer of locally-based Funanani Trust, explained: “This will be a peer-to-peer learning and sharing space to discuss the role of the Church and faith-based organisations in disaster relief. NGOs and churches have been amazing in the way they have stepped up to help, network and share expertise and resources when catastrophes have struck. We want to work towards greater preparedness and greater effectiveness when the next disaster strikes (which it will).”

Ronel said the conference is the first of its kind in Tshwane. Participants will workshop on how to prepare churches, NGOs, volunteers, donors and communities to respond effectively with their skills and resources and through networking and building on trust.  The conference aims to unpack the implementation of standard operating procedures in line with the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 and the local Disaster Management Joint Operations Centre (JOC). Other areas of discussion will be faith-based organizations and churches as safe spaces during and after incidents, shelter care, and building resilient communities.  After the conference, working with local communities, training and consultations will be initiated to empower those communities to develop localized preparedness and response plans. This will include early warning systems, hazard identification and mobilization of volunteers and resources.

Ronel invited church and community leaders, volunteers, civic organizations, NGOs, professionals and business persons to attend, network and learn together. Registration is essential for logistical purposes.  She can be contacted on or 0826776166.

“We have facilitators and speakers from around the country who will share their real life experiences and lessons learned. We believe that we can be far stronger to meet the challenges disasters bring when we work together.”

Members of the KZN Response team were among first responders during the KZN floods in April/May.

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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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Door to freedom is a partnership

“With its heart to “set the captives free”, Red Light has needed a physical safe space in which the  survivors of human-trafficking can be debriefed and learn to step into spiritual, psychological and physical wholeness. Domino’s joint vision with Joyce Meyers Ministries for a shelter for survivors of the sex trade in Durban has taken on reality with the lease on safe, secure premises having been signed. The shelter then needed to be furnished and Red Light saw great favour with several suppliers either donating items free of charge or giving significant discounts. An acting Safe House manager and two assistant house-mothers have been appointed and the shelter is set to be a place of healing and nurturing where women who have been rescued from the sex trade can learn living to live with dignity, love, freedom and purpose.”

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