Fairhavens

FAREWELL, GOGO!

When she lived at Mashava Mine in Zimbabwe, Linda Davis had a passion to share her faith in Jesus with the children of the miners. Each weekend she would set up her Sunday School classroom in the local beer hall and read Bible stories to and sing with the little ones in the hours before the tipplers arrived. When she moved to Durban, Linda was a natural choice to become “House Mother” when Jenni Wallace, pastor’s wife at the then Church of the Good Shepherd, established the ‘Fair Havens’ babies’ home in Durban North in 2004. Since then, Linda, affectionately called “Gogo” by children and staff alike at The Domino Foundation’s Babies Homes, has seen almost 140 children placed with adoptive families locally and abroad. Together with Precious Thabete, she has nurtured and loved the abandoned and orphaned babies and toddlers who have found a safe haven under her care. Linda says, “Jesus’ words that we shouldn’t despise any of these little ones because their angels always see the face of His Father in heaven have always rung true with me. I have to respond to a child in crisis.” Linda is retiring from the position where she has so faithfully served the most vulnerable in our community for the past 14 years but knows that it won’t be long before she once again is holding babies in her arms and standing in the gap as “Gogo”. Leader of the Babies Homes programme, Sandy Hamblin said of Linda, “She has shown unfailing love to every one of the children who has passed through the homes and has been a tireless warrior in fighting to see the best outcomes for these little ones.” Linda’s leaving coincides with the closing of ‘Ububele’, one of the two homes in the Domino Foundation’s programme.  Precious Thabete, who has been a stalwart co-worker with Linda since the inception of the homes and who has been “House Mother” at “Ububele”, steps into the role of House Mother at ‘Fair Havens’. Far from this move, which sees the programme’s capacity being reduced from 12 to 6 children, being a retrogressive strep, Sandy Hamblin says that more resources will now be available to tackle the bigger advocacy issue where the challenge of bureaucracy, institutions and inadequate legal frameworks can be tackled in conjunction with groups like the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa.

 

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BABIES HOME UPDATE 1st QUARTER

The end of the first quarter marked a very significant point in The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home programme. At the end of March, Linda Davis, who had been with the home since its inception, retired after many years of faithful service. “It has been an amazing journey of being able to give love to so many precious little people who have been abandoned,” said Linda. Precious Thabete, who has worked with Linda all those years and who also has a great heart of compassion and rich experience in being able to meet the children’s needs, has taken over her responsibilities. Read the entire feature “Farewell, Gogo” here.

This momentous change came at the same time as the decision was made to close the one home (‘Ububele’) at 125 Adelaide Tambo Drive, leaving ‘Fair Havens’ to cater for six children at any one time. There was no doubt that this is the perfect timing as a number of adoptions were in process and so several children would be leaving for their new adoptive homes shortly. With the new set-up with a single home and staff, the vision has been refined to ensure that training of the staff is even better so that the children are as whole and ready for their new family as possible when they leave the “Fair Havens”.

Although the decision to close “Ububele”, this new dispensation will put the Babies’ Home programme into a position where it can take on more fully the critical task, with other adoption and babies’ homes facilities and groups, the pressing issue of advocacy on behalf of abandoned and orphaned children in South Africa. Sandy Hamblin, leader of the babies’ Home programme now sits on the Adoption Coalition board and two very good meetings had already been held. The Babies’ Home programme has also joined forces with the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa whose aim is to promote and build awareness and understanding of adoption, build partnerships and collaboration across the adoption community and lobby government and regulators on behalf of the adoption community, leading the change needed in our society to embrace adoption as the best permanent solution for children, outside of their family.

It is always so gratifying when reports and stories come to the Babies Home of how children who have been adopted are faring with their new families. Jade and James, the brother and sister who left in December 2017, bound for Calgary in Canada, have settled into their very different new environment exceptionally well. They haven’t been daunted by the below freezing temperatures or short days, and making “snow angels” the deep drifts of the white stuff quickly became a favourite pastime. Their dad and mum have set very strict media restrictions in place and have seen great improvement in both Jade and James’ learning capacity. In the 5 months since they left South Africa, both are excelling with their alphabet, learning to read, colouring within the lines, and following instructions in a structured environment. We look forward to more reports of the progress of these siblings.

Stories like these keep the #DominoEffect alive. If you would like to be a part of ‘changing lives’, please contact Sandy Hamblin (sandy@anthem.org.za).

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2016: What a year!

This year has been a time of exponential growth, tough challenges, our faith been tested and of course, many lives been changed. In 2016 alone we’ve been able to impact the lives of over 5000 individuals on a daily basis. During our journey we’ve seen 3 key areas being highlighted:


1. Increasing our areas of influence

A big cause for celebration has been The Domino Foundation moving from being a North Durban NPO to a nationwide NPO.

We’re excited to announce that The Domino Foundation’s areas of influence now include: Waterloo, Oshebni, Amanzimtoti, Inner city Durban and Cape Town. We’ve also continued to strengthen our existing relationships with donors, volunteers, NPOS and governmental departments like the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Social Development and the National Prosecuting Authority.


2.Partnering with local churches

We have loved partnering with other churches to outwork their social justice initiatives.

This year we’ve partnered with Glenridge (Durban Inner City) and The Rock (Umhlanga) through the outworking of the Red light Anti-Human Trafficking programme; Life Changers (Tableview, Cape Town) for the Recycle Swop Shop and Kingsway Church International (Amanzimtoti) to open another sandwich kitchen. As we’ve been able to share our experience, skills, knowledge and feeding expertise we’ve seen an incredible growth in the Amanzimtoti Sandwich Kitchen. In just eight months the kitchen has grown to preparing 660 sandwiches a week – an incredible growth rate!


3.Beneficiary Impact

We started the year with four programmes and expanded to seven community transformational initiatives.

Babies’ Homes – We provided a loving, family environment for 15 children in our two transitional homes with 6 babies being adopted into their ‘forever homes’.

Life Skills Programme– We worked with 4 under-resourced primary schools and 726 children on a weekly basis through lessons, one-on-one counselling sessions and after school activities – all aiming to empower learners to make wise life choices.

ECD Programme– We started the year upskilling and transforming 23 crèches into sustainable small businesses and places of active learning and increased to 44 establishments by year-end. Our work in the ECD space ensures that over children are receiving quality foundation-phase development throughout KZN.

Feeding Programme– We opened an additional kitchen to feed the south Durban basin, as well as added an additional 17 establishments (a combination of crèches/kindergartens and primary schools) to our feeding programme across KZN. By the year-end we were feeding a total of 55 establishments and averaging an incredible 98 000 meals a month!

Red light Anti-Human Trafficking – This programme joined Domino in 2016 and in 2017 we look forward to welcoming 8 ladies into our programme where they’ll be assisted, cared for, restored and released.

Recycle Swop Shops – The social justice and environmental programme joined Domino in 2016 with three swop shops operating in the Western Cape.

Bursary Programme – In 2017 the programme will fund 5 students’ tertiary education, giving them the opportunity to build themselves a future through education.


Thanks to donors and volunteers, your support has enabled us to continue changing thousands of lives through showing mercy, combatting injustice and empowering individuals throughout our beautiful country of South Africa. If you would like to partner with us for 2017 please let us know.


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Stories from the nursery: 3rd Quarter 2016

The two Domino Babies Homes have seen a flurry of activity over the past three months. Not only has there been lots of day-to-day maintenance as well as volunteers coming to play with our babies but on the night of the 1st September 2016, a passerby alerted us to a tiny newborn that had been abandoned on our doorstep. Needless to say, we jumped into rescue mode.

We immediately brought her inside and warmed her up, phoned the police and then took her to the hospital to be checked. Not even a day old the little girl might have had a rough start to her life but we count it SUCH a privilege to care for these precious children and are constantly in awe that we are able to change destinies through all programmes at The Domino Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our two Babies Homes – your support has not gone unnoticed! A big thank you to Dischem  and the Christain Motorcycle Association who donated large amounts of much-needed baby supplies.

 

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In Ububele…

Baby R continues to thrive in Grade R and in all school activities. The lively seven-year-old has been with Domino for a year. Just like the other children Baby R started to come into her own after arriving at Domino, the care and love of the Babies’ Home staff settling her soul and stimulating her mind.

Baby S’s is a five-year-old boy who arrived at the Domino Babies’ Home almost a year ago after he was abandoned at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital. His health is improving every day and we know he’ll be strong enough to go to school next year.

Baby U is settling in nicely to her new home and is learning how to speak English and isiZulu. The police found the little two-year-old girl walking on the street. Precious and the caregivers believe she’s from another African country because she’s been unable to speak in English, isiZulu or Xhosa. After a few months of gentle guidance and teaching, she now is starting to learn the names of the other children and some simple words.

Baby V is a bubbly little ball of joy. The seven-month-old has just learned how to crawl and is enjoying her new transition home. Child welfare is still investigating her family and deciding if she should be adopted or taken back to her family.

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In Fairhavens…

Baby Q is a healthy seven-month-old who has recovered from his chest and breathing problems. He’s now ready for adoption and the social workers are looking for a home for Baby Q.

Baby M is a beautiful five-year-old girl who has been with Domino Babies’ Home for over a year. She loves going to Preschool and is busy preparing for the school play, which is coming up soon. Child welfare is still looking for a loving home for the little girl.

Baby N is the brother of Baby M and has just gone through a phase of ‘the terrible twos’ – something all parents will be familiar with! The home’s routine, as well as the caregivers’ constant love, has ensured Baby N has moved through the terrible twos and into the next, much calmer, stage of his development.

Baby O and Baby P are sisters and are in the process of finding their forever home. As it is with all adoptions and fostering it’s up to the children to determine the pace of leaving the transitional home – once they have warmed up to their new parents then the adoption can go ahead.

 

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Stories from the nursery: 2nd Quarter 2016

Our two Babies Homes, Fairhavens and Ububele, are currently caring for ten babies and toddlers. That ten’s little lives we’re able to provide a safe, stimulating and happy home for. Apart from being busy with the daily routines of caring for ten little ones we’ve also busy with getting our children ready for adoption. That means visits to court, doctors and meetings with the social workers. This past quarter we’ve said goodbye to one of our babies, a seven-month-old, who has been adopted by an awesome local family.

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In Ububele…

Baby R has been with Crisis Care mom Precious for almost a year. The little six year old is at a local Preschool and loves learning new things everyday. Swimming and ballet are some of her favourite after-school activities and she even received a medal for swimming. Baby R is now ready for adoption.

Baby S’s health condition is improving. The five year old boy arrived at the Domino Babies’ Home almost a year ago after he was abandoned at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital. When he arrived he was very sick and it was decided that for his health it was better for him to stay at the home and not go to preschool so that he can gain his strength back – which has been doing in leaps and bounds!

Baby T is a happy twenty month year old baby who is doing well under the care and guidance of the home. Since he’s arrived he’s gained weight and has learned to crawl – keeping the caregivers running around after him!

Baby U is a healthy little two year old girl who was found walking on the street by the police. Precious and the caregivers believe she’s from another African country because she’s been unable to speak in English, isiZulu or Xhosa. After taking some time to settle into her new home she’s finally starting to learn some words in isiZulu and English and is slowly gaining her communication skills back.

Baby V was bought to the social workers by her grandma because it is believed that her mother is unfit to look after her child. A bubbly little ball of joy the seven month old has just learned how to crawl and is enjoying her new transition home.

In Fairhavens…

Baby Q is a seven month old that is almost ready for adoption. He’s been battling with his breathing so has been undergoing testing at Addington Hospital with results still pending. We’re praying for a quick and smooth recovery.

Baby M is a beautiful five year old girl who has been with Domino Babies’ Home for over a year. She loves going to Preschool and always comes home excited and ready for school the next day.

Baby N is brother of Baby M and has really grown up in the home and is learning his place in the house. He’s now a two year old boy, very different from the baby he was  when he arrived .

Baby O is a little girl who just had her third birthday. She’s sister to Baby P, an eleven month old. Both pairs of siblings are in complicated legal cases and have not been abandoned but have been placed in the Domino Babies’ Home by Social workers because their home environment is unsafe. Their cases are both still pending so until they are sortd Domino Babies’ Home will continue to provide a place of refuge and restoration.

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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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#KnowYourNPO – Babies Home

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#KnowYourNpo

The Domino Foundation believes in helping the most vulnerable and impoverished in the Amaoti community – that’s why we have four amazing projects that each do their bit in making this vision come alive. For the next few months we’ll be shining a light on each of our programmes.Here are some encouraging snapshots from our Babies Homes, made up of Fairhavens & Ububele, as the first Domino Foundation Project in the #KnowyourNPO campaign.

#1. Our two Babies Homes provide a safe, loving and nurturing place for abandoned babies and toddlers to stay while their forever home is being found. These children come from Kwazulu-Natal and surrounding areas and are placed in our care by Durban Child Welfare.

#2. Under the watchful eye of our crisis care moms and trained caregivers, our babies are given the best care possible. That means 24 hour supervision, lots of hugs and changing hundreds of nappies every month.

#3. Since 2004 we’ve had over 100 babies through our homes, which is actually over one hundred families that have been transformed.

#4. Have you ever wondered about the process of how our Babies Homes function?

An infographic showing how the Babies Homes works.

#5. SA unfortunately has a large number of orphaned and vulnerable children. But what are we doing about it? Child Welfare places vulnerable children (who are up to the age of 5) with us while they look for a forever home. We also share a house with Door of Hope, a counselling center that offers counseling to women in crisis pregnancies.

#6. Domino always dreamed of opening a second babies home and in 2014 that dream became a reality. Ububele Babies Home is neighbors with the first home, Fairhavens, and each house can take up to six little ones into their care.

#7. The success of the Home is directly linked to the generosity of others, so thank you to everyone who has made Domino Babies Home a place of hope and happiness. We’re always looking for volunteers to play and love with the little ones. If that’s you, email volunteer@domino.org.za.

#8. If you have a heart for giving on a regular basis, why not sign up for our “Adopt-a-cot” initiative? For just R200 a month (debit order) you can ‘adopt’ one of the cots in our two homes and help cover the running costs of the home like nappies, electricity and food. Alternatively you can use Zapper – a super easy way to donate! Click here to read more about the initiative.

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Are you ready to adopt?

                                                        Seeing the smile on the face of a baby as he recognises his mother in a crowded room…

Adoption - Giving life & hope to children

Adoption – Giving life & hope to children

That same child’s crying face as he’s scared to take his 1st steps through the gate at pre-school…

The sense of achievement as he finishes first in his schools sports day…

These are moments that parents cherish with their children as they experience the different stages of life as a  normal child…

So why should a child miss out on these moments, purely because he was abandoned and left up for  adoption. Adopting a child is an adventurous journey of giving someone the experiences that they would not otherwise encounter…

So you’re ready to adopt, you’ve made the brave decision to open your heart to an abandoned baby, to give them the chance at a ‘normal’ life…yet where do you begin? Where do I go? What is the process that I have to go through? Do I have to be married to adopt? Is there an age limit?

We contacted the Child Welfare Durban & District to answer some of the numerous questions surrounding adoptions. There are 2 branches to the adoptions process that run simultaneously, that of the adoptive baby and that of the prospective parents.

From the baby’s side, there are two ways as to how he/she can land up on the adoptive list. On the one side, a mother can consent to giving up her baby for adoption and so the required medical procedures begin as soon as possible, after birth. On the other hand, the baby or sometimes even toddler may be left abandoned by its parents. Now in this case, when the child is reported, the child is placed at a babies home but is not up for adoption as of yet. The welfare has to post notice of the missing child in the area where it was found and the search for the child’s family begins. If after a certain period of time, someone has not arrived to claim the child, or if no suitable relative is located, the police will close the case and file a report stating that the child becomes ‘property of the state’. Once this occurs, the baby is placed on the Adoption Register, pending the results of the required medical tests. Depending on the length and results of the babies medical procedures, as well as the search for ‘next of kin’, the baby will likely take 3 months before being ‘ready’ for adoption.

On the branch of the prospective Parents, the process is slightly more in-depth. When a person has decided to provide an infant with a loving home environment, they would need to contact the Child Welfare Durban and District, where they would be invited to an orientation programme. On the 1st Monday of every month, the Welfare holds an orientation programme, detailing the adoption process, the types of babies available for adoption and the required application forms to be completed. Once the programme and required forms have been completed, the screening process begins. A social worker will be assigned to the prospective parents and together, they will carry out the relevant checks (Marriage, Police, Background checks, bank statements, assurance of job stability, references etc.) and review the motivation for adoption. Both single parent adoptions and nuclear family adoptions are accepted, although 1st preference is for a complete family unit for the child.

A panel meets once a month to review the findings of the prospective parents. Here the social worker presents the cases to the panel, where they view potential challenges, discuss documentation and supply additional motivations. If approved, then the prospective parents are added to the Adoption Register and the matching process begins. Depending on the background clearance checks, sufficient documentation needed and outcomes from the panel, the duration of this leg of the process can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months before being placed on the Adoption Register.Once both the adoptive baby and prospective parents are on the Adoption List, the social workers begin the matching process. Where possible, they will try to place the baby in a similar culture, but dependant on availability of adoptive baby’s, this is not always possible. A preference of the welfare is for the prospective parents to not have a particular child in mind when applying for adoption, before the matching has been verified. This is due to families bonding with babies that may not yet be cleared for adoption, and have the opportunity to be reunited with a relative. For the welfare, the child’s needs come before anything else, and they prefer to see which applicant can best suit the needs of the child.

Adoption Process Tree

Adoption Process Tree

Regarding an age limit, the cut-off age for adopting newborn babies, is 45 years old. Prospective families and parents that are in their 30’s and older, are encouraged to adopt toddlers and older children rather than newborns. However, the age limit is not set in stone as each case is unique and will be brought before the panel and treated accordingly. All will depend on the individual’s motivation and supporting documentation.The adoption process is brought to a close, when a match has been found and approved, and the paperwork has been completed. By this time, the bonding process between parent and child has already occurred and the adopted baby is whisked away to its’ ‘happily ever after’.

All in all, the length of the entire process from beginning to end will vary between  6 to 12 months, according to possible challenges during the registration of birth (baby’s side), the screening process (parent’s side) and the matching process.

If you’re looking to adopt or would like more info, please contact Nashina/Jasu at the Child Welfare Durban & District on 031-312 9313 or you can email to homefinding@cwdd.org.za

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Party Babies!

The late Whitney Houston famously sang “I believe the children are our future” and if that is the case, given the plight of so many of South Africa’s children, we do not have much to look forward to.  Fortunately, however, the staff and volunteers at Fairhavens Babies’ Home and many other children’s shelters work tirelessly to ensure that the children in their care have the hope of a better and brighter future.

Children who live in care facilities are no different from children the world over – they love parties! However these fun-filled occasions, which are such a highlight of any child’s life, are all too often luxuries that many of these children have to forgo. Enter Kaveri from Kiddies WoW WoW Parties, who was inspired to throw a themed party for orphaned children.  She had the bright idea of using Facebook to publicise her plan, proving that social networks can play a positive part in our community. Within minutes of uploading her post:  “WoW WoW Parties wants to plan a kids’ PARTY for ORPHANS – an orphanage in the greater DURBAN area with limited resources and exposure would be ideal”, numerous supporters expressed their interest and party plans began to take shape.   Wow Wow Parties posted monthly updates to keep their supporters informed and the end result was that in December 2011, 25 families gathered at Fairhavens to throw a party that the children will never forget.  WoW WoW Parties spared no effort or expense to give the Fairhavens babies and toddlers the full VIP treatment and with imaginative party décor, colourful balloons, fancy cupcakes, gifts, jumping castles, and even children’s rides, the residents of Fairhavens had an unforgettable day.

It was also a special celebration as two of Fairhavens’ babies were adopted in December. Baby P arrived at Fairhavens as a prem baby, having been given up for adoption by her mother. She lived at Fairhavens for about a year before moving on to complete a special family. Baby S was found wandering around a shopping centre, having been abandoned by her mother. She arrived at Fairhavens about 10 months ago and will celebrate her third birthday with her new family here in South Africa.  The WoW WoW party added to an already momentous occasion and these special children got a memorable send-off, thanks to the people from WoW WoW Parties.

Fairhavens is always in need of the kindness of generous hearts like the folk from Wow Wow Parties, particularly in the form of financial contributions. If you would like to help in any way please contact us at (031) 563 9605 or go visit our website at www.indlela.org.za

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