Disaster Relief

Feeding in Famine and for the Future

It is more than a quarter of a century since Nelson Mandela’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo. On that auspicious occasion, he articulated his vision for a nation where the children should be “… no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by the disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance…” Twenty seven years on and that vision is far from being realised in this country. South Africa’s under-five population carries significant marks of malnutrition. As of 2016, more than one in four under-fives showed evidence of stunting and one in eight children in the same age bracket could be categorised as overweight…and the culprit is poor nutrition.

The “hunger, disease and ignorance” Mandela spoke of are often almost inevitable bedfellows in many of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and schools in South Africa’s less affluent communities and research has shown that there is a direct link between poor nutrition and poor educational outcomes. The University of Cape Town’s 2018 South African Child Gauge reported that six million South African children were living below the poverty line. Children in these circumstances are without reliable access to food, let alone to the right sort of food to ensure healthy development of their ability to learn and to reach their full potential as adults. A guaranteed meal at school is a strong incentive for children from financially-challenged homes to go to school.

The Domino Foundation’s programmes have some 13,566 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are either in pre-primary or primary education. With two of its programmes focusing on Life Skills and Literacy, a third on Early Childhood Development and a fourth on Nutrition, it was inevitable that the teams involved would be keen to develop their interrelationship. Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition programme says: “Our vision is fill the feeding gap and to make ECD Centres so attractive that parents want to send their children to school. We aim to add value to the existing government feeding schemes, allowing children to receive two meals a day. Our dream is of communities where no child is too hungry to concentrate and learn.” Emphasising the Nutrition programme’s specific Christian mandate, she added: “We feed those in our community who are going hungry through a crisis or circumstances beyond their control. In doing so, we enhance learning through meeting children’s physical need for health and balanced nutrition.”

The Nutrition programme’s Crèche Feeding Project provides nutritious meals to children at crèches every week day and encourages their attendance and helps them achieve developmental milestones. The School Sandwich Project has sandwiches delivered to school children who would otherwise have no lunch, providing the learners with ‘food for thought’. This augments the government feeding scheme to ensure that children who may only have a single meal at home get an additional meal designed to promote cognitive development and including carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables.

Monitoring and evaluation have been crucial to ensure that the Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme remains relevant and effective for consistent impact. Before the Covid crisis burst on South Africa’s marginalised communities, the closely linked areas of nutrition and hygiene had been a focus of Cathy’s teams, with extensive crèche owner training on the subject. Each crèche owner and child was weighed and measured. BMIs were calculated with bi-annual follow-ups scheduled. “The highlighting of obesity and stunting issues gives a clear picture on needed interventions. Our one kitchen averages 80,000 meals each month consisting of a highly nutritious porridge, daily-prepared and delivered soup or dried soup ingredients for crèches to prepare themselves. We aim to have more crèches preparing their own soup, creating space for new crèches to join the programme and pass through the three year graduation phase,” explained Cathy.

That was all before the challenge Domino faces on an ongoing basis was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Lockdown. Cathy elaborated: “Since 27 March, most of these children have not been to school at all and so could have missed out on that vital daily meal.” Cathy pointed out that not only had extreme hunger become an even greater threat in those communities but so had the negative educational effects of malnutrition.

The Domino Foundation’s Disaster Relief Unit, also led by Cathy, moved into action at the start of Lockdown to meet the basic needs of these young learners and their families. As part of KZN Response, a partnership of five NPOs (Disaster Relief, the Red Cross, Zoe Life, CityHope and Nation Changers), Cathy’s team set about collecting, packing and distributing “Hope Hampers” in and around Durban and beyond. The hampers included basic hygiene items and crucial non-perishable foodstuffs, enough to sustain a family of four for three weeks. Eventually, the equivalent of one million four hundred thousand meals were distributed. “The making of the thousands of sandwiches had to stop but feeding these vulnerable children could not,” declared Cathy. “Individuals, churches, community groups and corporates came on board and bands of masked volunteers made themselves available every day to see thousands of 20 litre buckets packed and loaded.”

At the end of the initial period of hard lockdown on 30 April, the principals of four schools in the Amaoti community in North Durban were consulted and lists of 1,500 vulnerable families drawn up. These were contacted and came to the relevant schools in small ‘socially distanced” groups at specified times to receive relief food parcels.

The days of Lockdown will eventually come to an end, but Cathy and her teams are fully aware that it will not be a matter of ‘back to business-as-usual’. Nutrition is a dynamic, changing programme and the pandemic and its fallout have dramatically changed the landscape. Cathy noted, “Through collaboration with like-minded NPO’s, corporates and individuals, we will continue to streamline our efforts into the relief space, growing and assisting with education in our resilience and preparedness, particularly in the light of the way this pandemic has challenged our abilities, time, resources and partnerships.”

Shaun Tait, CEO of The Domino Foundation, commented how adaptability and agility has characterised the way in which the teams of the various programmes have responded over the past months: “Contingencies and emergency situations have demanded that we pivot and change direction quickly and efficiently to be an answer in present crises and also to remain true to our long-term vision.”

Cathy is always keen to share more on this vital work and welcomes groups, companies and individuals who would like to be part of this ongoing programme to feed the most vulnerable in their time of need to contact her feeding@domino.org.za  or 031 563 9605)

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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 – Power Hour Options

We know some people like heavy lifting and to feel physically connected to the project! So in line with all COVID-19 Public Health & Hygiene Regulations (we know them very well after packing 20,048 Hampers over the past 3 months ) added to Domino’s signature agility, we have various #MandelaDay2020 options to suit your needs and budgets:

  1. Want to do a workout on site? We would love you and your team (strictly 5 peeps at time for an hour max) to help us pack and stack more Hope Hampers. It’s a R3,500 donation from your CSI/SED budget, and we will set up the packing grid here at Domino in Durban North on Friday 17 July 2020 only. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za to book your time slot and send her your company details for invoicing. Watch our COVID-19 Workout video for inspiration of what you can expect and please don’t be a “Lazy Llama”!
  2. Prefer to workout off site? Ok perfect, you can come and collect a stack of 10 x COVID-19 Branded Buckets from us at the Domino Offices in Durban North and make a donation of R500. Then you and your team need to fill them at your offices/homes/churches with the 10 x Standarised Items (to the value of approx R300 each) Post a little video and tag us with you hard at work having fun packing. Please return the filled buckets all sanitised and sealed to our offices by Friday 31 July 2020. Email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za and she will send you all the details of how to fill your buckets
  3. Make-up Dignity Bags for girls? Gather your friends and make up pretty and practical Toiletry Bags (Uzwelo do some beautiful recycled options) for teenage girls who on our Literacy and Life School Programmes. Fill them with the following seven basic Toiletry Items, add a handwritten card of encouragement and then drop them at the Domino Offices by Friday 31 July 2020. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za if you would like to bring joy & dignity to these girls.
  4. We need nappies for Africa – We care for 6 orphaned and vulnerable babies in our Babies Home and are always in need of nappies – Huggies/Pampers in sizes 2, 3 and 4 please. We can also use nappies to support little children in our partnering Early Childhood Development Centres. So, please pop a bundle of nappies, sensitive wet wipes and Vaseline (not perfumed) into your shopping trolley and drive by and drop off at Domino Offices in Durban North by Friday 31 July 2020. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za to let her know you would like to do that!
  5. Did their school & sports shoes shrink in lockdown? If that happened to your kids, and you now have pairs of pre-loved school and sports shoes in great condition to give to community friends in need, please ask and encourage your classmates to bring them to school and drop at Domino Offices in Durban North on Friday 17 July 2020, or we can send our drivers to come and collect them all together. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za with your school details and shoe collection contact person

Thank you so much #MandelaDay2020 #EachOneReachOne

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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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The BIG picture

We thought it would be super helpful to put all our programmes into a one page “big picture format” for you, to make it easy to identify with our common values and purpose and how each programme interconnects with the other.

The aim is to reduce vulnerability step by step in a beneficiary’s life creating a positive #DominoEffect from Cradle to Career, an beyond!

There are three additional safety net interventions for added support of Human Rights, Disaster Management and protecting the Environment.

We hope this inspires you, as your impact plays it part in this story!

The Domino Programme Infograph

The interconnected #DominoEffect reducing vulnerability from Cradle to Career with additional Safety Net interventions in support!

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Food for good thoughts

Goal – To feed the hungry children in our peri-urban schools, churches and crèches and supplement nutritional well being of learners where the government are not feeding vulnerable children.

This update is from Cath Whittle who heads up Nutrition in North Durban.

“We really want to send a massive thank you out to all our business partners who make this programme so effective and nutritious. Our morning meal is a high protein porridge from Jam SA, on the sandwich front we partner with Cheval Eggs, RCL Foods (Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise), Isiqalo Food (Margarine) and Premier Bread, and are so grateful to the Unilever office team and our many amazing volunteers for making 5,810 delicious, healthy ‘samies’ for school learners. In addition many of our partnering Early Childhood Development Centres also make soups, and we get a power packed soup mix powder from Unilever, high protein legume mix from Container Ministries and beef bones from Ellis Park Butchery. This is incredible community collaboration for the benefit of healthy children” says Cath Whittle who heads up Nutrition in North Durban.

And Cheryl Dann shared her news from Nutrition in South Durban (Amanzimtoti)

“School nutrition continues to take place, although two schools have dropped off the programme, making space for two new ones. Collection of updated registers, ID documents and paper work continues to be a very slow administration process but does not dampen our spirits as we have a team of amazing volunteers who love to make sandwiches in support of the work we do and they earnestly pray for every child too!

In Quarter One we made and delivered 6,984 sandwiches and are absolutely delighted to have Amanzimtoti High School come back on the programme with 4 children who we are grateful to send food for. We also distributed monthly Relief Hampers to partnering churches, schools and community centres i.e. Cedar Hill Church, KCI Church, Holy Sabbath Church of God, Young Stars Development and Qinselani Primary School.

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Hope in the face of disaster

The Disaster Response Team is intentional about being prepared to respond to a disaster at any time, collecting non-perishable food items, blankets, tarpaulins, toiletries and basic essentials all the time. As an ongoing support unit this intervention sends relief buckets monthly to different families in need through the local churches and partners, but it is always a short term action, so as not to create a long term dependence.

Of course as at 25 March 2020, nothing could have indicated the massive devastating pandemic that was facing this unit within Domino, more than the global, Biological Disaster called COVID-19. It has been an insanely tough 9 weeks as the fear, insecurity, instability, economic crisis and demanding needs and logistics have at times been overwhelming but in partnership with the KZN Disaster Response Team we have managed to exceed our best efforts to support vulnerable families in KZN and all the updates and stats can be found on our COVID-19 Page

There is still so much to be done so please continue to reach out and invest if this concerns you!

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Office ready, so staff can feel safe!

We understand that returning to work has created various levels of stress and anxiety for many staff members, so in accordance with Government Regulations we have created our Work Readiness Plan and shared with all our staff via email and Whatsapp so they can feel as safe and valued.

So please feel free to download ours and adjust this work place readiness plan to suit your organisation if that would help you and your staff too – THE DOMINO FOUNDATION COVID-Ready Reopening Plan is here for you!

As stipulated within the REGULATIONS ISSUED IN TERMS OF SECTION 27(2) OF THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2002, Dated 29.04.2020, The Domino Foundation Disaster Management Programme is classified as an Essential Service (Part O, of table 1 as well as Annexure D, Part B, point 2) which has continued to operate throughout the lockdown. As we enter level 4, other programmes of The Domino Foundation will reopen as per Table 1, Alert level 4, Part P, point 4 as well as Annexure D, Part B, points 2, 9 and 31. These include programmes that provide all social work, counselling, care and relief to older persons, mentally ill, persons with disabilities, the sick and children.

This plan outlines the strategy and actions taken to ensure the safe reopening of The Domino Foundation and its programmes as per Regulation a6(6)(b) of REGULATIONS ISSUED IN TERMS OF SECTION 27(2) OF THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2002. Dated 29.04.2020.

 

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#LockdownLove Mask Campaign

Today is #Day50 of lockdown in South Africa, so we thought it would be apt to launch our Shwe Shwe Mask #EachOneReachOne Campaign.

The intention is to kick start this initiative with an early bird special* of R50 to purchase two #DominoEffect branded cloth face masks from The Domino Foundation. However one mask will be delivered** to you the shopper to wear and the other mask will be donated to a beneficiary on our programmes. That way we double the joy and impact of caring for one another during this COVID-19 pandemic.

So if you identify with the love of our Mask Models as posted on our social media platforms, please purchase your masks online OR simply click her to zap R50 payment https://zapper.com/url/eoKQQ-BdEu to share the #DominoEffect of #EachOneReachOne.

Remember to include your delivery address or you can email your details with proof of payment to karen@domino.org.za and we will arrange the rest!

T&C’s:

* Early bird special ends on Thursday 21 May 2020

** Free delivery within a 10km radius of Durban North

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Q&A – How can you help in the COVID-19 crisis?

WOW, we have been amazed at the commitment and support of communities in action and our hearts are to continue working as one body with many parts.

Therefore we thought it would be useful to you to help field some of your pressing questions, so we can all be as effective as possible, in these unpredictable times to assist with good intentions and efficacy.

Suggested Schools Response

With all schools currently closed and the Government/School Nutrition Programmes out of commission/action, this is the time for local school families to help other school families in need, if you can, please.

Most schools have a ‘Moms who Care/Prayer’ committee who may already be aware of and are currently helping, vulnerable families in need. Or if you don’t know the families you can contact the school Administrator to find out who needs help/support.

A simple suggestion would be that for every school family in need, 3 – 5 other school families could divide and conquer to support with a few additional basics to meet those needs on a weekly basis? We suggest you have one champion co-ordinating those efforts (Ideally someone from Moms who Care/Prayer Committee instead of reinventing the wheel)

It is NB not to move, but as many families are already going to the shops for their own basic needs, the idea is to simply add a few extra items into your basket. And the reality is there will be parents who work in Essential Services and will have a driving permit, who could help collect and deliver aid if/where necessary #eachonereachone.

In essence, everyone has something small to assist with to help school families in need #manydropsmakeariver

Suggested Church Response

Churches looking inward: Pastoral Care

As with the above, if each Small Group, Life Group, Connect Group and/or Home Group Leader is aware of the needs within their congregation and liaises within the group themselves to help meet those needs, that is first prize!

Secondly appealing to the Mercy Ministry within the church structure for a coordinated effort in responding to ensure that there are none in need among us (Acts 2 Church in action)

Churches looking outwards:

Please call the other churches within your areas (Anglican, Charismatic, Methodist etc) and identify what each of you has in your hands to serve your collective community (someone in your congregation will have a driving permit, some will have funds to donate and some will join and lead intercessory prayer groups etc). Please connect, collaborate and crack on!!

Suggested NGO Response

Now more than ever is a time to meaningful collaboration and partnering all feet on the ground.  It is imperative that NGO’s are mapping those working in the same Geo-locations as themselves and are communicating daily as to the needs within those communities to strengthen the reach and not overburden resources.

The basics in relief work is to identify the three BIG W’s

WHO is doing WHAT, WHERE?

Compile lists of skills and services and then co-labour to meet the needs of those you are called to serve. NB Please make sure you have permits to do so!

Suggested Individual Response

Please this is not the time to start another project, NGO or Food Hamper Collection Drive without supporting those already in motion.

There are so many people in desperate need (people who live alone without family, the elderly, widows, orphans, single parents and foreign nationals) and the demands can be crippling and overwhelming if not managed steadily and wisely.  You don’t want to take a shotgun, spray approach.

When individuals/families/couples contact you for support or help, direct them to their local church/Pastoral Team who will find out their needs and ways to assist if possible (Do people need someone to help with shopping, collecting medication, meals, data or money, etc)

For some, it is simple a listening ear and some love and encouragement that they are not alone and we will get through this #bettertogether

Suggested Homeless Response

The City has set up 15 (and counting) Satellite Homeless Shelter Sites, where individuals are screened for COVID-19, TB and other medical requirements and then referred to a suitable site or directed to a hospital/healthcare facility.

The homeless are provided with shelter, blanket, a daily program of suggested activities and 3 meals a day.

We understand that most homeless people are not used to boundaries and it is tough to adjust to a regular schedule and structure when being so independent on the streets. Please continue to refer them to Moses Mabhida to receive assistance.

We welcome your questions so please do email us on admin@domino.org.za

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