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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Spread the bread to meet the need

It was a flurry of activity as the young men of Grades 10 and 11 involved in Durban High School’s Community Engagement class deftly wielded knives to produce a small mountain of peanut butter sandwiches. Each morning, during their daily Elective Period, pupils engage in various activities ranging from sport, language studies to robotics, amongst others. The Community Engagement elective provides the students an opportunity to learn the importance of community-building and how to make a worthwhile contribution as part of their social responsibility.

Several years ago, Drama and Art teacher, Giselle Joshua, who is in charge of any community service-related aspects at the school, made contact with The Domino Foundation, the Durban North-based NPO which impacts some 13,500 beneficiaries each day.  She directs this elective, having initiated an ongoing relationship with the foundation’s Nutrition Programme which provides a daily meal to over 7,000 children in ECD (Early Childhood Development) centres, primary and secondary schools in several Ethekwini communities.

The DHS young men have exercised their culinary skills several times since then and Giselle’s plan is that this will become a monthly activity at the school. Those involved in the bread-and-butter activity source all the components of the sandwiches needed and have a planning session before the actual day of manufacture so that all their commitments are met. One of the sandwich-makers, Grade 11 pupil, Saharsh Rambaran, commented, “I think all of us are aware that every sandwich we make will make a difference to a fellow pupil at a school we may never visit.”

He went on to challenge other schools in the Berea/Musgrave and Glenwood areas to join in DHS’ effort to meet the nutritional needs of children who might otherwise have nothing to eat during their school day.

For further information on how schools are able to use their community service hours to benefit the vulnerable members of Durban’s communities, interested people may contact Domino’s Volunteer Co-ordinator, Esther Madikane on 031 563 9605 or volunteer@domino.org.za.

#volunteerheroes #sandwichsupermen

Caption: DHS pupils on the school’s Community Engagement elective busy making sandwiches for The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme (left to right: Wyatt Rose; Avela Gwala; Hariv Pillay: Tarao Naidu; Keshan Pillay).


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English student spends time giving back to the community!

The gentle English accent might fool you, but Theo is fluent in Afrikaans. In fact, he and his family speak nothing else when they are ‘home alone’ in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, north of London. His surname is the giveaway: the Bredell family hails from Bethlehem in the Free State and moved to the UK in 2009. Theo did all of his schooling in England and has been accepted to study medicine at St Andrew’s University later this year. Fellow congregants at the local church in Sharnbrook are South Africans and it was through the wife’s parents, Morningside residents, Gary and Sandy van Vuuren, on a visit to see their family, that Theo came to hear about The Domino Foundation. The aspiring medico was planning a trip to visit family in South Africa and was invited to stay with the van Vuurens in Durban. There Theo met Shaun Tait, Domino’s CEO, who suggested the young Englishman spend time as a volunteer with the foundation.

He has landed himself a heavy schedule working with several of the programmes at Domino, taking part in many aspects of Domino’s work: sandwich-making; food deliveries; preparation of hygiene kits and emergency relief hampers; data-capture and even visiting the Babies’ Home to spend time with the infants and toddlers! “Perhaps this is where my ambition to become a doctor is showing?” he said. “I want a career with a dynamic balance of academic challenges and helping people from every walk of life. Interacting with these little people and seeing their response when someone takes an interest in them really has gladdened my heart.” Theo joined Domino’s Disaster Relief Unit in a trip to Jozini to distribute hygiene supplies to local communities. Commented Cathy Whittle, DRU’s team leader: “Theo’s participation in this distribution was greatly appreciated by the team and by the beneficiaries.”

When asked whether there might be an ongoing Domino/Sharbrook connection, Theo enthusiastically said: “I really hope there will be!” The van Vuurens echoed that: “Theo has been a delight and his heart to make a difference in people’s live is very evident!” said Sandy. A report-back is on his schedule when he is back home and he said he will definitely be recommending The Domino Foundation as an excellent and rewarding organisation to do voluntary work with.

Esther Madikane, who manages Domino’s volunteer programme said: “We have had a number of international volunteers spend time with us. They always go home deeply impacted by what they see and do here and are always our greatest ambassadors.” She invites anyone, either local or from overseas, who is interested in volunteering with the foundation, to contact her on 031 563 9605 volunteer@domino.org.za.

Caption: English volunteer, Theo Bredell with Domino’s Volunteer Co-Ordinator Esther Madikane.

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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 from Toti

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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The lens of 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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Seeing a brighter future

A line in Art Garfunkel’s song of the late 70s, “Bright Eyes” has the line, “There’s a fog along the horizon”. For some children, blurred vision is something they accept as’ normal’. Durban non-profit organization, Bright Eyes, is dedicated to the care, education and support of visually-challenged children from birth to 4 years. Says Managing Director, Carron……., “We want to help clear the ‘fog’ hampering so many little people’s early learning. Our interventions prevent low-vision-associated developmental delays in young children”.

As 80% of visually impaired learners’ families are not able to pay for the assistance given, Bright Eyes offer their services to those who need help, no matter their financial abilities. The Domino Foundation works with over 60 ECD centres where few of the parents would be able to afford treatment of any visual challenges detected in their children. The two NPOs have come together to implement a programme of testing every learner in the centres to detect common vision problems affecting children such as myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism (distorted vision) in addition to other sight-related conditions. Usually, these problems are easily corrected if identified early.

Zanele Nzimakwe, leader of Domino’s ECD team, commented, “If we can identify which children are having problems with seeing, we can work with Bright Eyes to ensure the learners’ visual impairments do not hinder their education.” Carron agreed: “Vision is a critical factor in a child’s education, whether reading and writing, seeing the board clearly or taking part in recreational activities. Untreated, the problem could easily mean the child falls behind and won’t catch up.”

Carron described what the roll-out of Bright Eyes’ screening the children will entail: “Over the course of three months, we will visit 6o ECD centres. If we detect a problem, we will work together with the centre and the learner’s parents to put a corrective plan of action in place”. She explained that follow-up will be done and support given to increase the children’s possibilities of truly bright, fully balanced futures.

Zanele said she would welcome enquiries from other groups who would like to offer their assistance in ensuring the young learners are put on a firm educational foundation. She can be contacted on 031 563 9605/ecd@domino.org.za.

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Found an abandoned baby?

How to respond if you find an abandoned baby …

Call the South African Police Services promptly and make yourself available to provide an affidavit on your observations.

Remain with the baby until the police come in order to ensure that the baby is safe and protected from the elements.

If necessary, the Emergency Rescue Services could be called to attend to the child’s health needs.

Take note of the following information:-

  • Time of finding the baby
  • Place where baby was found
  • Child’s appearance and condition e.g. health, cleanliness, emotional state of being
  • Child’s clothing – What was child wearing? Was the child wrapped up?
  • Was there a bag or any possessions left with the baby e.g. clothing, nappies, baby formula, water or baby food
  • Any identifying details e.g. the Child’s Road to Health Booklet, any letters, documents or information regarding the mother or family and their addresses or contact details?

It is important to note that your own observations surrounding the abandonment is critical in assisting in the investigation into the child’s circumstances and may be helpful in the process of identifying and/or locating the mother or other family members.

Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.” – Nelson Mandela

Information supplied from Child Welfare Durban and District (Nonprofit Organisation (002-259 NPO), PBO Ref. No. 18/11/13/1145 A Community Chest Member) www.cwdd.org.za

Tel: (031) 312 9313 Fax: (Admin): (031) 312 3147

Address: 20 Clarence Road, Durban 4001, P O Box 47569 Greyville 4023

Board Members – R. Pillay – President; D. Msomi – Vice President, M Naidu – Hon. Treasurer. Members: P Ram, J Murray, S Naidoo, D Shukla, H Grobbelaar.

What to do with an abandoned baby – CWDD

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Art of Giving Campaign

Off the back of our 16th AGM, publishing the Annual Report for 2019 online and then sharing our Quarter 2 and 3 of 2020 – Domino Updates (see other blogs), we have launched our “Art of Giving” Campaign in these final 6 weeks of 2020.

The intention is that it will ignite the passion and purpose within YOU, empower you to respond wisely and responsibly for sustainability’s sake over this period and into 2021, as well as share love with those in your networks to do the same!

Over the next month and a half we will share Social Media posts and Blog articles with meaningful community centric resources like:

In turn you can play your part in the #DominoEffect

  • Share this page with your friends to increase our online awareness so they can get our news too … Sign up with admin@domino.org.za
  • Tell people you know about The Domino Foundation and the work we do so they can engage too
  • Click here for the 7 super simple donation options (Credit Card, Zapper, EFT/Cash Deposit, Debit Order, Pay Pal, Bequest Codicil or donations in kind) make giving easy for everyone
  • If we get a R100 a month from each person reading this page would be amazing or refer us to your corporate CSI Business/Foundation Funding Division
  • Trust these meaningful ways will inspire hope and joy in your heart. Please follow us online and #StayConnected

Share your happiness …

In the spirit of the ART of giving – this beautiful painting is called “Happiness” and was painted by the talented local Durban artist Tonya Seiler. She has donated this exuberant art piece to us as a Fundraiser for our Babies Home and Early Childhood Development Programme.

So if you would like to assist us to run an online auction please contact our Marketing Storyteller Karen Brokensha

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Nutrition in North Durban

Our primary goal is to ‘nourish the hungry learners in our partnering schools, churches and crèches and supplement nutritional well-being of learners where the government are not/unable to feed vulnerable children!’

Main mission

  1. Provide nutrition with measurable metrics in schools;
  2. Mobilise the churches to support our food/relief efforts with compassion, prayer and care;
  3. Educate beneficiaries on the health risks of Covid-19;
  4. Distribute nutritional and sustainable food hampers in collaboration with KZN Council of Churches and their LEANS, to vulnerable families in need to reduce hunger and alleviate the chaos in the crisis to create hope, whilst the government channels found their feet to respond.


  1. Continued with our sandwich feeding in primary schools as well as JAM porridge and Soup making/deliveries from the Brookdale kitchen, to the Amaoti, Mzinyathi, Waterloo and CBD.
  2. Continued measuring and weighing each child, trained crèche owners on nutrition and continued the huge task of assessing each crèche; facility, meal plan, programme and cooking facilities, with a view to assist with an action plan for the next 2 years.
  3. As COVID became a stark reality for all, we presented a strategy to the KZN Council of Churches on a way for the church to get involved and activated into smaller clusters, working in team to identify the most vulnerable and to assist with discrete distribution.
  4. Facilitated COVID training workshops with all our staff and crèches, before initial lockdown took place.
  5. Mobilized the Domino/Anthem property into a pack station and distribution hub and converted the Vox Coal offices into a JOCC (Joint Operations Command Centre).


  1. Space to store and collect food. As the enormity of the pandemic became apparent, Anthem Church Leadership was agile and generous giving the Domino Nutrition and Disaster Response Team permission to use the property as a Disaster Response Hub. We used the Church Auditorium, Coffee Shop, Training Rooms, Kitchens, Car Park and every other available floor space to store, pack and stack food and non-perishable food items.
  • Manpower. The hard lockdown resulted in a desperate shortage of staff as the team were mandated to remain at home. Core team of Cathy Whittle (Programme Leader), Shaun Tait (CEO), Mdu Vato and Alfred Madikizela (Drivers) created a formidable Disaster Response Team in addition to a small group of 10 local university students, who volunteered their brawn and energy to help pack 1,000s of buckets, working late into the nights assisting with distribution and logistics. In addition, Lindo Khoza of Lindbong Community Development joined the team as a Community Facilitator on the ground, negotiating and facilitating the distribution of food hampers with school leaders, local chiefs and ward councilors.
  • Security. Large amounts of food needed to be delivered after hours in the dark, to ensure the safety of the teams and community recipients.
  • Lack of heaving duty/pallet lifting/transport equipment. As the demand for food security grew so the need for quantities was super-sized (yes think Super-Link Trucks11), without an in house pallet jack and fork lift – unpacking donations was a back breaking and challenging. Big thanks to Fresh Flava for sponsoring a forklift for our massive Solidarity Fund delivery.

This is Cathy Whittle who heads up Nutrition in North Durban

Opportunities to stay engaged … Feast or Famine for the future?

Hungry to help?

Thank you that is amazing, please liaise with with our Donor Relations Team Karen Brokensha or Tarin Stevenson to help nourish for good! You can also call them on 031 563 9605

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