collaboration

Common Hearts Alleviate Suffering

The relationship between Durban’s Jewish community and the Domino Foundation has been nurtured over many years.  For several years, a faithful band of ladies from the Union of Jewish Women gathered each week in the foundation’s kitchens to assemble a small mountain of peanut butter sandwiches for its Nutrition Programme.

In 2016, the trans-global network for 25 to 35-year-old Jewish volunteers working in local communities, partnered with Domino to establish its first South African centre. After the devastation the raging flood waters wreaked in April and May this year, the KZN Jewish community once again rallied to the call.  “The KZN Jewish community truly appreciates the outstanding work which the Domino Foundation does within the greater community and we look forward to continuing our journey in making a difference for those who are less fortunate,” said Susan Abro, President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies KwaZulu-Natal Council, where she handed over the funds raised by the community to the Domino Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation at the Durban Jewish Club, near North Beach earlier this month.

The Durban Jewish Club is the heart and home of the KZN Jewish community, and also houses the Durban Holocaust and Genocide Centre, where thousands of KZN school children receive free education about the Holocaust and various genocides each year. In addition The Domino Foundation was selected as an agent e working alongside Susan Abro, who is a partner of Afrika Tikkun for their Reviving Township Economy Campaign, to revive businesses affected by the civil unrest of July 2021 in KZN and Gauteng and by the recent floods, one business at a time.

Domino’s Donor Relations Ambassador’ Tarin Stevenson, described how the funds donated would be used. “The immediate needs of many affected by the floods have been met. We are now looking at how we can come alongside those tackling the rebuilding process. Obviously, a significant portion of this rebuilding is in the area of physical infrastructure…homes, schools and businesses have been destroyed. We would like to start with those ECD Centres in our fold so that children can be learning in a safe and dry environment.”

 

Unity commands a blessing

Cindy Norcott founder of of the Robin Hood Foundation, Liezel Patterson – secretary of the Jewish Club, Susan Abro (centre), President of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies KwaZulu-Natal Council, with The Domino Foundation’s  CEO, Shaun Tait, and Donor Relations Manager, Tarin Stevenson at the handing-over of the Jewish community’s donation of R54 000 each to the two NPOs.

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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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Looking back | Flying forward

REFLECTING ON 2021

Musing on the year that the world has just left behind, Domino CEO, Shaun Tait, described the past twelve months as “a wild ride.” Balancing all the vital elements of Domino’s work – cash flow, emergency relief, staff and beneficiaries’ welfare, among others – had been a challenge. The journey through 2021 had seen the contingencies thrown out by the ever changing Covid protocols and then the devastating civil unrest in July 2021, adding a disproportionate level of uncertainty through KZN and Gauteng.

But, the demands of the unexpected and unprecedented landscape saw far greater collaboration and partnerships with other Non Profit Organisations, which enabled Domino to punch far above its weight. “We found that we had much greater reach and impact working together. Each organisation bringing its own strengths to the collective effort, and so we could achieve more than if we had tried to reach out on our own, in order to help so many people in desperate need.” Shaun said, that the NPO had realised that it is undoubtedly true that “Domino wins, when its partners win”. It was very clear through 2021 that, through partnering with other strategic NPO’s and working closely with each other, there was elimination of needless duplication and wastage, and many more beneficiaries were helped to move out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness, into dignity and hopefullness.

Throughout 2021 we engaged with over 230 organisations from across KZN to co-ordinate and provide support in the most efficient way, to thousands of beneficiates across the province. From a beneficiary point of view, the table and graph below shows the expansion of our programme, tracking back from 2014 through to 2021. We noticed steady, incremental increases between 2016 – 2019, with higher growth from 2020 onwards, which was maintained and expanded on in 2021.

Figures in brackets count indirect beneficiaries i.e. Additional household members supported), Domino focuses on counting only direct beneficiaries for totals supported (e.g. If a food hamper can support 4 HH (household) members, we will record this as 1 beneficiary and make a note of the additional 3 in brackets.

 

 

From a Volunteer perspective, we had a 58% increase in volunteerism in 2021, when compared to 2020. If we track our volunteers over time, although we are still below 2019 figures, we are gradually recovering from the lockdowns that prevented people from engaging directly with our programmes and in 2022, we are aiming to surpass 2019.

 

 

Lastly, looking at our pre-audited financial results, the trend of decreased community development spending continued into 2021 as donors shifted funding towards Nutrition, Humanitarian Aid and Business Relief (largely due to the riots in July 2021).

Our goal for 2022 is to increase support of our Social Justice programmes (Abandoned Babies Home & Red Light Anti-Human-Trafficking) as well as going to drive the importance of quality education.

All in all, 2021 was an exceptional year, wrapping up a 2 year ‘wild ride’, which, thanks to our partners, donors and volunteers, provides an incredible spring board into 2022.

RE-VISIONING 2022 – 2025

During the annual Domino Visioning Week, which took place at the start of 2022, the team revisited the challenge of what its mission in the year ahead should look like. The trajectory which had been established the previous year was one which Shaun described as one of “building and muscling”.  Significant growth had happened despite, and maybe because of, the enormous challenges faced and all the programmes had been expanded and Domino’s reach significantly extended. None of this has been taken for granted and it is acknowledged that it would not have been possible without the crucial role donors, sponsors and partners played. The ‘stronger together’ mantra remains vital in 2022 as Domino moves forward to its long-term goal of doubling its impact by 2025.

Concrete steps must be taken this year towards the targets of the:

  • elimination of abandonment and
  • zero hunger and malnourishment
  • eradication of bondage, slavery and exploitation, and
  • provision of quality education for all and
  • access to decent employment for all in South Africa

Shaun emphasised that Domino is committed to working with communities to build a resilience into those communities and the ability to withstand and navigate the fallout disasters bring. Vulnerable people need to be supported as they are empowered to throw off a victim mentality and find they have the capacity to rise above their circumstances. “We want to push ahead with our vision to ‘Add One’ in every area of Domino’s activities as we embark on our “+1 CAMPAIGN” one more donor, one more volunteer, one more beneficiary, one more partner. That’s the way we will see this year being a vital step in moving towards having twice our present impact by 2025.”

Currently, as we sit and forecast income and efforts in 2022, we have secured commitment from existing partners to the value of R7.3M (which we are trusting and praying that these partners can fulfil these commitments and are also extremely thankful for their pledged support) The outstanding funding required. for the rest of the year, across all programmes, sits at a further R5.1M needed in 2022.

“Domino wins, when its partners win” Shaun Tait, CEO, The Domino Foundation

We will be sharing more programme secific goals for 2022 in the coming weeks as the teams hit the ground, ready to ‘build muscle’, continue with acts of mercy, fight for justice and see more people living with dignity, justice, hope and purpose.

*These totals are pre-audit figures and may change slightly once our audit is complete. Our audits are currently underway and these figures will be updated when complete.

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Collaborate & Prepare

The second and third quarter of 2020 can best be described as COVID chaos, a kaleidoscope of mass donations and regional distributions, days/nights and weekends. Every 24 hours passed in a flurry of receipts, delivery notes, invoices and beneficiary lists. The phones rang off the hook and the emails and Facebook post requests poured in.

The JOCC (Joint Operations Command Centre) became our second homes and daily Zoom calls with the KZN Disaster Response Team was vital shot of directional sanity.

Here is a link to the stats – the beneficiary numbers, areas and impact which is a powerful account for our collaborative efforts

This manic pace, soon eased into a steady flow of logistics and check lists, improved communication, shared workloads, WhatsApp Groups, LEANS and churches working together, new collaborations and more hands and feet on deck to help as more of the other programme staff came back onsite to work.

We strategized who needed what and who was in fact was presenting as the “most vulnerable” including the “new vulnerable”. This helped us update our beneficiary lists and to assist/ create sustainable impact into those that most need food relief and support.

It is an ongoing programme that is slowing down as people settle into a new ‘normal’ and various stakeholders, churches and corporates play their parts more proactively in Alert Level 1 of Lockdown. We have moved into a phase of ‘Preparedness’ for the Summer Rains and potential Shack Fires that normally take place in the final quarter of each year 

Cath Whittle also heads up The Domino Disaster Response Unit and was nominated as a News 24 Every Day Hero

WARNING !

The pandemic is far from over and we are constantly looking to build long term sustainable partnerships for Disaster Relief and Response, with a particular emphasis on PREPARATION to avoid ‘known and the more predictable’ disasters …

Is that you/your company or your church? Then please connect with our Donor Relations Team – Karen Brokensha or Tarin Stevenson on ways to partner in this space.

https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/everyday-hero-catherine-whittle-not-afraid-to-get-her-hands-dirt-to-help-kzns-vulnerable-20200717?fbclid=IwAR1PKWMa79HVy68qj7PRjTFN9MGcWcDZwYYLasGNg1FJxJf0zmzWpO7Ag6o
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Thinking out of the Box …

Berea-based NPO, the AtomGate Foundation, (an outreach arm of Morningside IT solutions and services company, AtomGate), has once again linked up with the Domino Foundation Nutrition programme in Amanzimtoti. A bakkie-load of flip-top plastic containers to be used as lunch boxes was donated for distribution to Domino’s beneficiary partnering primary schools, high schools and a community centre where the Nutrition Programme operates. CEO of AtomGate, Kevin Meredith, and founder of the AtomGate Foundation commented, “We have previously joined forces with Domino helping make sandwiches. Now, we felt that the schoolchildren receiving Domino’s sandwiches needed containers to put the sandwiches in.” As a deacon in Kingsway Church International, Amanzimtoti, Kevin has been par of the Domino Toti kitchen since 2016.

Cheryl Dann, who leads Domino’s Toti operations, said, “We distributed this generous donation to our beneficiaries who opted for big waves of gratitude as their smiley faces were hidden by masks!” Cheryl expressed her sincere appreciation to AtomGate saying, “Support from local business partners like AtomGate, which is a real community player, adds such value and joy to our work. We would love to connect with other local companies who want to partner with us to bring hope and really make a difference in our beneficiaries’ lives. Please contact me on feedingtoti@domino.org.za.”

Caption Domino’s Purity Ngcongo with Kusakusa Primary School Grade 7 pupils Nomthandazo Khumalo (left) and Msizi Hlongwa and some of the lunch boxes donated by the AtomGate Foundation.                                                                                      

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