community

Stories from the crèche: 3rd Quarter 2016

We dream of seeing active learning taking place in crèches around South Africa, where Early Childhood Development centers are not just a baby-sitting service but a place for young children to learn, develop and grow.

For the past three years, we’ve been working tirelessly into 23 crèches in Amaoti through empowering ECD center educators and owners with essential education and enterprise skills. There have been great successes and as we prepare to slowly step away from them we look back at the programme through the eyes of our ECD mentors.

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“Firstly, I would like to say it is a privilege and honour to serve the Amaoti community through ECD. Working with little ones gives me the reason to serve God to the fullest. Through The Domino Foundation I’m now a qualified ECD educator with ECD NQF level 4 and am able to assist and mentor ECD teachers in the community to implement active learning in their ECD centers. I have seen a lot of improvement in the crèches we’re working with, with some being registered with the Department of Social Welfare, some in the process of registering. For all the crèches we’re working with I see active learning taking place.”

Zanele Gumede

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“ECD in Amaoti has been a very exciting experience for me. It has shown me the potential I have to influence the people around me to take education seriously from a young age. There has been transformation in the teachers and it has improved the children’s skills and learning abilities. Active learning now takes place in many of the crèches and teachers are passionate about teaching learners and developing them in all areas.

In the last year, there have been some exciting developments. Two of our crèches have undergone registration and are well on their way to registration – which has been one of our main objectives. One of the crèches also had a challenge where they had to close down due to another day care operating nearby causing many learners to leave. By God’s grace they decided to operate in a different area and have managed to continue working in their church building and now have a larger amount of school learners.”

Nauleen Luthuli

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To continue positively impacting the ECD programme we’re looking for these items:

  • learning resources for ages between 0-6 years (skipping ropes, puzzles, play dough, stencils, big lego blocks)
  • bright, funky material for our bean bag project (squares of 16cm x 16cm can even pre-cut)
  • Stationary (fat kokis, crayons, powder paints, colouring books/ pages, paper, chalk)
  • scrap paper collections (children can draw on the back of them)
  • nappies, wet wipes, toilet paper
  • cleaning materials to wash floors, tables/chairs, dishes etc.
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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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#KnowYourNPO #Domino

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If you’ve ever wondered what the Domino Foundation actually does… here’s your chance to #KnowYourNPO! This quarter we’re unpacking what the Domino Foundation does on a larger scale.

#1: We are a group of like-minded individuals that believe in the power of a changed life. We have a range of community outreach programmes that focus on the individual, to empower, uplift and transform their lives so they too can impact the nation and others around them. We currently impact the lives of just over 4000 individuals every single day, ranging from 0 to 18 years of age.

#2: We seek to assist and empower the neediest in communities to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. Our dream is to equip individuals physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively and spiritually to enable purpose-filled lives.

#3: We manage focused interventions and initiatives operating into the spaces of education, nutrition, injustice, child support and business development. So depending on your company’s CSR policy and specific area of impact, we have a diverse offering across multiple geographic locations to suit your needs with the ultimate goal being the same: to empower, uplift and transform our communities.

#4: We believe that for effective social change to take place within communities, we need to work effectively in three key areas. Namely social charity, social justice and social entrepreneurship to holistically transform communities.

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#5: Over the years we have witnessed changed lives, changing other lives and we’ve termed this #TheDominoEffect. As we have impacted, uplifted and transformed an individual’s life, they have gone and transformed their immediate family’s lives, and they have gone on to impact and transform their community’s lives and so a beautiful ripple effect, or #DominoEffect of changed lives takes shape. We believe that you change a community, by changing an individual!

#6: We rely on support from a host of like-minded businesses, individuals, partner organisations, schools, churches, international supporters & activists and sporting enthusiasts. So if you know of any, start your own #DominoEffect and share the love!

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#7: We couldn’t do what we do without an AMAZING team. These people LOVE doing what they do and what nothing more than to uplift, encourage, support and transform people’s lives. Dedicated, inspired, driven and fun, our teams are truly the best around!

#8: Ways to support ALL

There are SO many ways for EVERYONE to get involved. Whether you’re in school, a group of interested staff members, corporate’s looking to satisfy your #BEE scorecard or simply an individual with a heart for others, there is space for YOU to join the #DominoEffect.

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#9: Our support process is super simple. SUPPORT > RECEIVE DOCUMENTATION > FEEL GOOD. Repeat!

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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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There’s so many ways to support Domino!

Did you know that you can support the Domino Foundation through a number of loyalty programmes?

Paint Experts Rewards Programme Paint Expert has a loyalty card whereby a certain percentage of your sale is discounted and redirected into a charity of your choice. The Domino Foundation is one of the charities and receives a voucher to use at Paint Expert during the year.

Litres for Education Litres For Education is an innovative initiative that offers the everyday South African an opportunity to support their local school, charity or community project on the amount of fuel purchased monthly. By supporting your local donor LFE service station you will be supporting your chosen beneficiary every time you fill up. Fill in the online form to become a LFE member and choose the Domino Foundation as a beneficiary. Every time you fill up a the preferred service station (map online) 10c per litre of your fuel purchase goes to the Domino Foundation.

MySchool The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising programme is one of South Africa’s biggest community programmes and allows cardholders to make a difference to a worthy cause without it costing you a cent! The Domino Foundation is on the loyalty programme which means every time you swipe your care at a number of retailers, a percentage of your sale comes to us! You can also check out our donte page that has a range of easy and safe options to donate to the Domino Foundation including once-off-transfers, a debit order system and a sms line.

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