Boys & Girls Club

Medical Students Impact Matrics

With its express purpose of empowering school learners to make wise life-choices, The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme was delighted to have four UKZN medical students tutoring the Grade 12 learners at Amaoti 3 Combined. Working together with the school’s Principal, Mrs Maphumulo, and Physical Science teacher, Mr Majiya, the four university students, (Gift Machabe, Ayanda Nkosi, Sinethemba Mgolombane and Siyethemba Zwane) gave sixteen hours of Maths and Science coaching to the Amaoti learners on Saturday mornings. During this time, the medical students also facilitated an HIV/AIDS awareness workshop. Thanking them, Mr Majiya said, “Our students owe much of their success in their exams to your input”.

The Domino Foundation Life Skills programme reaches primary school children in the early teenage years in the Amaoti community. We believe that behaviour change is best effected through long-term relationships with learners in the formative phase of their lives. We impact a number of schools and reach children between the ages of 6 and 17 years. Our vision is to empower learners to make wise life choices, instilling in them a sense of self-worth and purpose and offering them hope for the future.

The Life Skills Programme comprises a four year HIV/AIDS prevention programme which runs at primary schools as part of the Life Orientation lesson. The project goal is to impact the lives of children who are vulnerable and under threat of HIV/AIDS. Work is done with children from 9-13 years assisting with their physical, cognitive, emotional and relational support and development.

The Domino Foundation Life Skills programme is dependent on both corporate and individual financial donors, on non-financial donors and on volunteers. If you would like more information, please contact Leigh-Ann Stevens (leigh-ann@domino.org.za) or 0315639605

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Stories from the classroom: 4th Quarter 2016

When young people feel a sense of self-worth and purpose they’re more empowered to make wise life choices. Our Life Skills workers have seen this belief come to life time and time again; the valuable lessons they teach bearing fruit in the lives of the young learners they teach.

This year the learners from the four schools in Amaoti have particularly loved being exposed to new places, activities, and experiences through the Life Skills programme. The creative energies of the Girls Club have been ignited through beading, crafting and making. Some young ladies also visited COGS church for a morning of leadership training. And a few boys were taken a Leadership Camp where they were taught valuable life skills and had time to enjoy the outdoors. They were chosen for the trip to help them see life outside of the allure of underage drug and alcohol abuse. It was a jam-packed action adventure weekend and the boys left profoundly influenced and inspired.

Our youth workers continue to be equipped through regular trainings to tackle the challenges of teaching young learners faced with navigating being a teenager and are facing tough circumstances. We’re also incredibly lucky to have a handful of UNISA social work students placed with us during the year. They assist the youth workers with one-one-one counseling sessions and facilitate therapeutic groups for learners facing real challenges of sexual abuse, a terrible reality for many, as well as focus groups for those young learners who had lost parents and friends to HIV / AIDS.

This past quarter we also took the time to honour the four schools’ teachers by inviting them to a screening of Freedom Writers, a movie based on a true story of a teacher who was able to transform the lives of a classroom of at-risk students. It’s a movie promoting a message of empowerment, tolerance, and innovative teaching. There was clapping, smiles and tears.

Thank you to every donor for your support. Your donations enable us to steadily build into the lives of these young learners, which although challenging is both a privilege and an honour.

 

Girls club outing to Springfield swimming pool

The Girls Club outing to Springfield swimming pool.

Leadership camp with some boys from the Amaoti schools.

Leadership camp with some boys from the Amaoti schools.

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Stories from the classroom: 3rd Quarter 2016

As a teenager, it’s crucial to continually hear words of affirmation. Phrases like: you’re special, irreplaceable and unique. A large part of the Domino Foundation’s Life Skills lessons cover these values that help build self-esteem and raise leaders.

Recently, the Grade 6 girls from Zakele Primary School were treated to an uplifting day called “Fire and Grace” at COGS Church. This gentle time on a Saturday morning was an opportunity for learners to hear encouraging words, enjoy some fun sessions learning etiquette and enjoy some tea and scones.

A big thanks to Cox Yeats Attorneys for generously donating Subz Washable Pads and panties to the Grade 6 Girls at Zakele Primary School. They welcomed twenty learners into their Umhlanaga Ridge offices to enjoy some delicious treats and listen to a talk on adolescence led by a Domino Foundation Life Skills mentor. Cox Yeats Attorneys also shared their own career journey with the learners, introducing new careers and inspiring the learners to think beyond high school. Not only was the afternoon a wonderful time of sisterhood and bonding but it was a valuable opportunity to answer any misconceptions surrounding becoming a woman.

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The Girls Club has been busy this past term with a number of fun and educational events including a DIY day making ‘lock boxes from cardboard and gift paper and a Hygiene Day presented by two experts, Kathy (Dental Hygienist) and Thabani (Hair Stylist at Unilever). Kathy was amazing and showed the girls how to really look after their teeth and Thabani wowed everyone on his knowledge about Afro hair and how to care for it. The learners loved their hygiene packs (soap, loofahs, deodorants, shower gels) and toothbrushes and Colgate kits that were handed out too.

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The Life Skills team is always looking for gifts to add to gift bags for the Girls and Boys Club or Life Skills learners. In particular, the Boys Club is looking for soccer balls. If you can donate useful products please email us!

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My 10 little lightbulb moments about volunteering at a non-profit

Annelize Muller shares her journey of volunteering at an NPO and the valuable nuggets of wisdom she’s learned along the way.

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Enlightening. That’s the word that comes to mind when I tell you about my last 5 months. I’m a Product Development Manager at a big corporate and have been in the corporate environment for the past 11 years. A seed was planted in my heart a few years ago of giving back to our South African community, to do something more, be part of the change, share, learn and really understand our people, especially those who are not as privileged as I am. Although in saying privileged I sometimes feel that our poorer communities are much richer in true life value than what we could ever be in our individualised world’s, big offices, nice running cars and comfortable houses.

My company graciously approved my request for a 7 month sabbatical to go and learn about the needs of our communities, understand how a NPO works, how corporate and non-profits can hold hands to create a brighter future and to revive my soul so I can come back and be the best leader I can be.

So I share my 10 lightbulb moments I had in the hope that someone can either learn from them or be able to share their own lightbulb moments that will make for a better South Africa today.

Lightbulb #1: The REAL need vs YOUR need to give:

For anyone who knows Maslow’s Hierarchy, he hit the nail on the head. Our poorer communities’ needs are really really basic. Food and security (safety of a home) are what they need and once that need is consistently filled it will release them to start thinking about things such as education, working etc.

But often we give on the level we’re sitting on. For example, when I joined the Life Skills Girls Club team, where I helped facilitate extra-mural activities for teenage girls, I first organised pilates classes. This was an epic fail because it was not aligned with the REAL need but only with my own.

To put it more in perspective, have you ever had a day at school or work without food? Or calculated a maths sum on an empty stomach?

Lightbulb #2: It can’t be about pity or charity, it’s got to be a win-win

In no way is this point supposed to make you feel guilty for having a nice car and a comfortable house. I have got mine.

My question is, what are the factors that got you where you are today? A good education? Books to read? Parents that were happy to talk about the birds and the bees? If you think back about the little things you take for granted that made you a success, I believe those are the small things that YOU can give to the others if you want to see our whole country succeed. And in doing so you might just learn something mind blowing in return…..

Lightbulb #3: Our country is full of potential – harvest it!

At The Domino Foundation’s AGM we had the privilege of listening to 6 youngsters who came through our life skills programme in Gr4 -7 and who are now in their final year of school. I was totally overwhelmed with their hard work ethic, what beautiful leadership quality they displayed and how much they attributed their success to the Life Skills programme. We have endless amounts of talent in our country that just doesn’t have the opportunity to be nurtured or receive guidance from an adult. It’s unforgivable that we let these beautiful people slip through the cracks

Lightbulb #4: Sustained input = sustained output

Just like your car needs to be continuously filled up with fuel to run at its optimum, it’s very much the same with us as human beings. We need consistent input, environment and care for us to really flourish. The talent I spoke about above has been really guided and molded by our youth workers Jomo, Sifiso, Nonte and Thobile, who are amazing, committed and big-hearted individuals. They’re in these kids lives every single week, having conversations with them on a big brother/sister basis and building trust and the type of relationships that change lives. The once a month visit I made to the school cannot come close to the change these young people are making through continually investing their time and energy. 

Sustained input really gives visible sustained output.

Lightbulb #5: Domino has well trained, capable and experienced staff – so empower them with resources to succeed

For a very long time I’ve been living in my ignorant bubble that success (at a corporate) means that the value I add everywhere is equal. For example, that any NPO would need my skills to succeed. This is NOT TRUE!  I was so pleasantly enlightened when I started working at Domino to see that they have all the right skills for the job, are just as committed and skilled as any corporate animal, but with a different purpose in mind. So if we have the right people in place we should really just give them the resources to execute their purpose exceptionally well.

How can we expect them to feed the hungry, educate our country’s kids and care for the needy if we don’t give them the resource to do it? I always thought that just donating money was an easy way out but now I see it (the donation) as an enabler for nonprofits to make the change we don’t have the time or skills to make. ( Lightbulb #4: sustained input = sustained output)

Lightbulb #6: Cost and value are not directly related

This phrase has been floating around for the last few months at The Domino Foundation, about how the price of something simply can’t be equated to what value it brings. For example, one 5 minute conversation (at no Cost to you) can lead to a donation of 100kg’s of soap powder which has a value of 4 months’ worth of clean linen and clothes for our babies in our Babies home.

Or, one 30 second conversation and a person in my network spreading the word (at no cost you or them) can lead to 4 brand new single beds to help out 4 families in need after the floods, which has a value of keeping them off sleeping on a cold damp floor so that they’re able to go to work every day.

So what it costs us to just have conversations and spot opportunities can NEVER translate into the value it can bring to someone else in need. The cost is small but the value is HUGE!

Lightbulb #7: People want to help so give them the opportunity to do so

I’ve been amazed at how gracious all my colleagues at work and my friends have been and how they’ve all given in their own way. Whether it is funding for one of our Girls’ Club sessions or coming to help at Amaoti and pushing aside fears of going into unfamiliar territory – I’ve not once had to beg for the support. Sometimes people just need the opportunity and the giving just overflows.

Lightbulb #8: People need leadership to give sustainably and in the right way.

If the giving is so easy for people then why does it not happen all the time? I now realise that just like anything else, like a personal trainer at gym or a leader of the mom’s group, you still need someone to take up the reigns, give direction and impart knowledge to make sure we give continuously and in the right way. This doesn’t take a huge amount of leadership, skill or cost – just a bit of time, some guts to ask questions and the desire to make a difference. The reward is immeasurable. (See Lightbulb #6: Cost vs Value)

Lightbulb #9: Be connected on both ends

Spending time at Domino was completely different than I originally imagined. I thought I would be out in the field grinding it out but I ended up spending more time in the office sitting in the middle of the NPO cog and listening to conversations and sometimes adding my 2 cents. Hearing the needs inside Domino and being able to respond to relevant opportunities outside Domino to immediately fill their needs helped me understand the organisation so much more. When you have a foot in both worlds magic truly happens. Gold comes from conversations and it’s turned into uplifted lives.

Lightbulb #10: Purpose = drive, motivation, energy, determination, guts & tenacity, which leads to LIFE

I honestly didn’t think I would be going back to my corporate job but I have a new purpose in mind, a new understanding of what opportunity sits within corporate to support NGOs and a salary which can be used to fund and empower these amazing people and the value it can bring to uplift others. I can’t wait to have more conversations, inspire others to think just one step further with what they have, see how corporate can truly support NPO and be a part of a team that I can be proud to say cares about the world and its people. 

Here’s to a lifetime of creating brighter futures!

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Life Skills Effects 4th Quarter 2015

For the Domino Foundation’s Life Skills team 2015 has been a year of expanding minds, equipping hands and exercising bodies.

The Life Skills team teaches primary school learners from a cluster of schools in Amaoti, KwaZulu-Natal. These lessons are vital as they’re a platform for conversation around crucial issues like sense of self, adolescence and dating, something the national curriculum doesn’t cover. Learners have loved having the opportunity to chat through these issues as home isn’t always a place to speak and ask questions. Testament to the impact of these weekly classes the team has witnessed many success stories as learners’ perspectives change.

The Boys and Girls Club have had an action packed year of exciting activities too. These clubs offer fun and stimulating activities for high school learners after the final school bell rings for the day, a time when learners have very little to do. Pilates, a ‘no bake’ bake day and talks on adolescence, sexualy transmitted diseases and HIV Aids were just some favourites from the Girl’s Club. For the Boy’s Club soccer was certainly the standout activity. A big thanks to Vopak for organising regular soccer training and a fun soccer day as well as offering science and maths tutoring for the grade 12’s. They also provided career guidance and helped some learners set up Gmail accounts and taught them how to use the internet.

The Life Skills team asks for prayer for some difficult challenges they’re facing. They no longer have a car, making traveling to schools difficult. The team’s health has also been an area of worry this year. And lastly, prayers for continued innovation and creativity for classes and after school clubs are welcome. With a shift towards lessons on careers the team hopes learners will become inspired to think even bigger and set higher goals for themselves.

These programmes would not have been possible without the generous support from a number of organisations and individuals. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, you have been invaluable to the team and ultimately the learners.

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