durban

Dignity, Justice, Hope and Purpose

26 years after the establishment of a democratic South Africa, with its lofty ideals scripted in the constitution and marked as one of the world’s finest, many of the country’s citizens find themselves far from having those ‘theoretical suggestions’ as a stark concrete reality in their lives.

Nonetheless, there is every reason under the sun for us to celebrate National Human Rights Day again on Monday 21 March 2022. The Christian perspective, which undergirds The Domino Foundation and it’s eight programmes, is that each and every South African is made in the image and likeness of God. 

Natalie Ogden, the foundation’s Social Justice Co-ordinator, is adamant when she says: “Domino’s mission is to see all people living with dignity, justice, hope and purpose. These convictions align with the constitution’s affirmation of:

  1. equality before the law for all,
  2. that every one has an inherent dignity to be respected and protected, and
  3. that everyone has an inalienable right to life.”

Natalie elaborated that, two of Domino’s Programmes, address the core critical human rights issues:

  1. The Domino Fairhaven’s Babies’ Home, where the youngest and most vulnerable of our fellow citizens (babies and children) are rescued from abandonment, nurtured and loved until they are either reunited with their biological families or are adopted into what are called their new “forever” families;
  2. The Red Light Anti Human Trafficking Programme sees survivors of human-trafficking reached out to, rescued, restored and released into new lives, where the brokenness of their former lives is gone and wholeness opens a wonderful future for them.

She underlined that the basic dignity of every one of Domino’s 13,500 beneficiaries is affirmed in whatever the foundation’s response to their plight may be. The highest form of love is agape love which Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 13:8:  “Love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres”.

This Monday, our community as a whole and Domino in particular needs to respond to the call to collective action to see that what our constitution declares does become the reality experienced by all our fellow citizens.

 

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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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Clearing the way through Computer Complexities

For many for whom pen on paper is the most formalised way of communication they know, the avalanche of tech terms in the world of computers is simply (or not so simply) daunting. The ten ladies from the staff of The Domino Foundation who are in the middle of their three-month adventure into the world of querty boards, UBs and mouses (surely that should be mice?), are on a journey into IT-savvy. The computer-literacy course, which is being facilitated by The Clothing Bank, and was developed in collaboration with non-profit training and skills organisation, Enza Empowering Women, includes an introduction to computers, MS Office skills, email and internet.  Jane Naude of The Clothing Bank’s Umbilo Road, Berea-based Durban offices says, “It is critical for everyone to have computer skill. They open so many opportunities and make effective communication possible in today’s technology-centric world.  We are working in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Number 5 which aims at women and girls being empowered to take control of their lives by giving them skills to compete in the job market. With computer skills in hand, they also gain a sense of confidence that they have a worthwhile contribution to make to their families and to their communities”.

Zanele  Nzimakwe, who leads Domino’s ECD team, is one of four on the course from her own team, with the others being members of the Nutrition and Life Skills team and the Babies’ Home programme’s staff. She commented that her ability to use her laptop was previously very basic. ”Now, I understand so much more of what I can do with this machine…I feel free! And, when things go wrong, I don’t have to run to our IT man for help!”

At the end of the course, the bevy of eager computer-literate ladies will receive certificates proving they are ready to launch into the world of spread-sheets, search-engine navigation, word-processing, and computer security and privacy.

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Feeding in Famine and for the Future

It is more than a quarter of a century since Nelson Mandela’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo. On that auspicious occasion, he articulated his vision for a nation where the children should be “… no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by the disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance…” Twenty seven years on and that vision is far from being realised in this country. South Africa’s under-five population carries significant marks of malnutrition. As of 2016, more than one in four under-fives showed evidence of stunting and one in eight children in the same age bracket could be categorised as overweight…and the culprit is poor nutrition.

The “hunger, disease and ignorance” Mandela spoke of are often almost inevitable bedfellows in many of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and schools in South Africa’s less affluent communities and research has shown that there is a direct link between poor nutrition and poor educational outcomes. The University of Cape Town’s 2018 South African Child Gauge reported that six million South African children were living below the poverty line. Children in these circumstances are without reliable access to food, let alone to the right sort of food to ensure healthy development of their ability to learn and to reach their full potential as adults. A guaranteed meal at school is a strong incentive for children from financially-challenged homes to go to school.

The Domino Foundation’s programmes have some 13,566 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are either in pre-primary or primary education. With two of its programmes focusing on Life Skills and Literacy, a third on Early Childhood Development and a fourth on Nutrition, it was inevitable that the teams involved would be keen to develop their interrelationship. Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition programme says: “Our vision is fill the feeding gap and to make ECD Centres so attractive that parents want to send their children to school. We aim to add value to the existing government feeding schemes, allowing children to receive two meals a day. Our dream is of communities where no child is too hungry to concentrate and learn.” Emphasising the Nutrition programme’s specific Christian mandate, she added: “We feed those in our community who are going hungry through a crisis or circumstances beyond their control. In doing so, we enhance learning through meeting children’s physical need for health and balanced nutrition.”

The Nutrition programme’s Crèche Feeding Project provides nutritious meals to children at crèches every week day and encourages their attendance and helps them achieve developmental milestones. The School Sandwich Project has sandwiches delivered to school children who would otherwise have no lunch, providing the learners with ‘food for thought’. This augments the government feeding scheme to ensure that children who may only have a single meal at home get an additional meal designed to promote cognitive development and including carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables.

Monitoring and evaluation have been crucial to ensure that the Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme remains relevant and effective for consistent impact. Before the Covid crisis burst on South Africa’s marginalised communities, the closely linked areas of nutrition and hygiene had been a focus of Cathy’s teams, with extensive crèche owner training on the subject. Each crèche owner and child was weighed and measured. BMIs were calculated with bi-annual follow-ups scheduled. “The highlighting of obesity and stunting issues gives a clear picture on needed interventions. Our one kitchen averages 80,000 meals each month consisting of a highly nutritious porridge, daily-prepared and delivered soup or dried soup ingredients for crèches to prepare themselves. We aim to have more crèches preparing their own soup, creating space for new crèches to join the programme and pass through the three year graduation phase,” explained Cathy.

That was all before the challenge Domino faces on an ongoing basis was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Lockdown. Cathy elaborated: “Since 27 March, most of these children have not been to school at all and so could have missed out on that vital daily meal.” Cathy pointed out that not only had extreme hunger become an even greater threat in those communities but so had the negative educational effects of malnutrition.

The Domino Foundation’s Disaster Relief Unit, also led by Cathy, moved into action at the start of Lockdown to meet the basic needs of these young learners and their families. As part of KZN Response, a partnership of five NPOs (Disaster Relief, the Red Cross, Zoe Life, CityHope and Nation Changers), Cathy’s team set about collecting, packing and distributing “Hope Hampers” in and around Durban and beyond. The hampers included basic hygiene items and crucial non-perishable foodstuffs, enough to sustain a family of four for three weeks. Eventually, the equivalent of one million four hundred thousand meals were distributed. “The making of the thousands of sandwiches had to stop but feeding these vulnerable children could not,” declared Cathy. “Individuals, churches, community groups and corporates came on board and bands of masked volunteers made themselves available every day to see thousands of 20 litre buckets packed and loaded.”

At the end of the initial period of hard lockdown on 30 April, the principals of four schools in the Amaoti community in North Durban were consulted and lists of 1,500 vulnerable families drawn up. These were contacted and came to the relevant schools in small ‘socially distanced” groups at specified times to receive relief food parcels.

The days of Lockdown will eventually come to an end, but Cathy and her teams are fully aware that it will not be a matter of ‘back to business-as-usual’. Nutrition is a dynamic, changing programme and the pandemic and its fallout have dramatically changed the landscape. Cathy noted, “Through collaboration with like-minded NPO’s, corporates and individuals, we will continue to streamline our efforts into the relief space, growing and assisting with education in our resilience and preparedness, particularly in the light of the way this pandemic has challenged our abilities, time, resources and partnerships.”

Shaun Tait, CEO of The Domino Foundation, commented how adaptability and agility has characterised the way in which the teams of the various programmes have responded over the past months: “Contingencies and emergency situations have demanded that we pivot and change direction quickly and efficiently to be an answer in present crises and also to remain true to our long-term vision.”

Cathy is always keen to share more on this vital work and welcomes groups, companies and individuals who would like to be part of this ongoing programme to feed the most vulnerable in their time of need to contact her feeding@domino.org.za  or 031 563 9605)

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When in need, ask a woman!

Each year, South Africa marks Women’s Month in August and remembers the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 to protest the extension of Pass Laws to women.

The Domino Foundation is largely staffed by women, unrelenting in their determination to see the vulnerable in our communities shown mercy, the marginalised empowered and those with no voice finding justice.

In the time of Lockdown, the severely disrupted school calendar has meant several of the Foundation’s eight programmes have not been able to operate at regular full capacity, yet programmes like the Disaster Relief Unit and Nutrition programme, have gone into overdrive, collecting donations, packing and distributing the equivalent of over one a half million meals to many of Domino’s 13,000 beneficiaries and others through collaboration with city partners, churches and NGO’s. Karen Brokensha, Domino’s Marketing Storyteller, says, “The extraordinary times we find ourselves in have called for extraordinary agility in our female tribe. With extra time and capacity on their hands, due to the disruption in some of their programmes, we have been able to step into unfamiliar spaces to work together to meet the endless needs.

The feminine contingent at the Durban North based foundation have taken much of their lead from Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition and Disaster Response Unit as she coordinates the distribution Relief Aid to reach those in need. Recently nominated by News 24 as an “Everyday Hero”, Cathy has lavishly praised the teamwork which is seeing vital paperwork done, Monitoring and Evaluation continuing, the 64 crèches on Domino’s ECD programme being made Covid-ready for when the children can and do return, and the endless administrative business is being attended as a united effort. “Possibly it comes quite naturally as we women are multi-taskers by nature of our roles as working moms. The ladies are thinking smart and stepping into the gaps without being asked. This really is teamwork at its best!”

Caption

Some of the ladies of the Domino team whose hands have made the job much lighter left to right:

Happiness Zulu; Zikhona Diya; Zanele Nzimakwe and Gloria Nyawuza.

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Mandela Day – Power Hour Options

We know some people like heavy lifting and to feel physically connected to the project! So in line with all COVID-19 Public Health & Hygiene Regulations (we know them very well after packing 20,048 Hampers over the past 3 months ) added to Domino’s signature agility, we have various #MandelaDay2020 options to suit your needs and budgets:

  1. Want to do a workout on site? We would love you and your team (strictly 5 peeps at time for an hour max) to help us pack and stack more Hope Hampers. It’s a R3,500 donation from your CSI/SED budget, and we will set up the packing grid here at Domino in Durban North on Friday 17 July 2020 only. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za to book your time slot and send her your company details for invoicing. Watch our COVID-19 Workout video for inspiration of what you can expect and please don’t be a “Lazy Llama”!
  2. Prefer to workout off site? Ok perfect, you can come and collect a stack of 10 x COVID-19 Branded Buckets from us at the Domino Offices in Durban North and make a donation of R500. Then you and your team need to fill them at your offices/homes/churches with the 10 x Standarised Items (to the value of approx R300 each) Post a little video and tag us with you hard at work having fun packing. Please return the filled buckets all sanitised and sealed to our offices by Friday 31 July 2020. Email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za and she will send you all the details of how to fill your buckets
  3. Make-up Dignity Bags for girls? Gather your friends and make up pretty and practical Toiletry Bags (Uzwelo do some beautiful recycled options) for teenage girls who on our Literacy and Life School Programmes. Fill them with the following seven basic Toiletry Items, add a handwritten card of encouragement and then drop them at the Domino Offices by Friday 31 July 2020. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za if you would like to bring joy & dignity to these girls.
  4. We need nappies for Africa – We care for 6 orphaned and vulnerable babies in our Babies Home and are always in need of nappies – Huggies/Pampers in sizes 2, 3 and 4 please. We can also use nappies to support little children in our partnering Early Childhood Development Centres. So, please pop a bundle of nappies, sensitive wet wipes and Vaseline (not perfumed) into your shopping trolley and drive by and drop off at Domino Offices in Durban North by Friday 31 July 2020. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za to let her know you would like to do that!
  5. Did their school & sports shoes shrink in lockdown? If that happened to your kids, and you now have pairs of pre-loved school and sports shoes in great condition to give to community friends in need, please ask and encourage your classmates to bring them to school and drop at Domino Offices in Durban North on Friday 17 July 2020, or we can send our drivers to come and collect them all together. Please email Lisa Doyle on admin@domino.org.za with your school details and shoe collection contact person

Thank you so much #MandelaDay2020 #EachOneReachOne

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Mandela Day – Online Activations

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

We realise and respect that many of you might want to do something for Mandela Day this year but would prefer to do it from the comfort of your own offices or homes. So herewith some simple and super fun options:

  1. Could you zap a R67 gift to us? Thank you Zap away and please challenge 6 – 7 friends to do the same! Can we make it easier? WhatsApp us on 083 777 5633 and we will send you the mobile Zapper link to forward on …
  2. Are you an avid Zwift racing cyclist? Yay then please cycle in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020. It is R50 per entry and you can seriously chase that leader board!!
  3. Or are you more of a #WeekendWarrior type cyclist, where it’s about the coffee and the connecting and the great open road? Great, then please get your cycling crew and sign up to participate in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020 It is also R50 per entry and you can race your mates along the beach, bush or berg …
  4. Are you artistic and wildly creative? Could you draw a picture, do a painting, create a doodle or take a series of photographs? Anything to do with hope. Then you can auction it off to your friends and family online, tag us in your “online exhibition”, share your story and donate the proceeds to us!
  5. Do you act, create drama, write poetry or sing? Could you add your voice to a video about the importance of education, justice and nutrition? You could share it on your social media channels and tag The Domino Foundation to create greater awareness of the importance of the #DominoEffect – #fromcradletocareer giving #dignity #hope and #justice
  6. How about challenging your friends overseas to any of the above options? We have PayPal especially for those that love Africa, her sunshine, Shwe Shwe, the big 5 and our beloved Madiba!
  7. Could you continue to raise awareness and support of our Hope Vouchers please? R410 is just a click away and brings freedom of choice and dignified relief aid

THANK YOU AND GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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AGM 2020 Notice

Dear Domino Foundation Members, Partners and Donors,
 
I trust that you are holding up during these unusual days of the COVID-19 virus and the resultant lockdown. I am pleased to report that The Domino Foundation has been able to add considerable weight to the eThekwini Disaster Management efforts over the past 10 weeks and it is a privilege to be a fellow member of this great organisation.
 
It is our responsibility as the Board of Members of The Domino Foundation to hold an Annual General Meeting within six months of our financial year-end, which is 31 December each year. As a Board, we have explored multiple scenarios as to the possibility of holding an AGM during the ‘national lockdown’ we all currently face, and after presenting our options to legal counsel, it is our opinion that it would be best to defer our AGM for the 2019 year to a date (to be set) when all Members, Partners and Donors, have the possibility of attending in person.
 
This will mean that we have not fulfilled the technical responsibility for holding an AGM within six months of our year-end, however, we believe the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in force us to defer beyond the six months allowed. We will, however, be sending our Annual Report in due course.
 
The reason we have opted to defer the date for the AGM is due to the fact that we value all of The Domino Foundation Members and our desire is that everyone of us should have the opportunity to attend the meeting, which may not be possible should we hold it via electronic/digital medium. Should it be foreseeable, by October, that it will not be possible to meet in person in 2020, we will revert to holding a virtual AGM in the last quarter of the year.
 
We trust that you will support the Board in this matter and we look forward to seeing you all at the AGM when we are able to meet in person. 
 
Kind regards,
Richard Mun-Gavin on behalf of The Domino Foundation Board

Should you require further information please kindly contact us on admin@domino.org.za

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The BIG picture

We thought it would be super helpful to put all our programmes into a one page “big picture format” for you, to make it easy to identify with our common values and purpose and how each programme interconnects with the other.

The aim is to reduce vulnerability step by step in a beneficiary’s life creating a positive #DominoEffect from Cradle to Career, an beyond!

There are three additional safety net interventions for added support of Human Rights, Disaster Management and protecting the Environment.

We hope this inspires you, as your impact plays it part in this story!

The Domino Programme Infograph

The interconnected #DominoEffect reducing vulnerability from Cradle to Career with additional Safety Net interventions in support!

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It’s a full baby home

Precious Thabete our Crisis Parent shared these insights and updates on what has been taking place in the transition home over the first few months of 2020.

“We are so happy to share the news that there were two separate adoptions in December 2019, which made way for us to take in two more special little people who both came to the baby home on the same day Monday 23 December 2019 and we really thank God for adding them to our Domino family”

Our home is alive with the sound of children healing and being cared for in a safe and loving environment. Precious, her team of caregivers, volunteers and community service learners (Pre COVID-19 lockdown!) continue to love these gorgeous kiddies who have been abandoned, given up for adoption or removed from their families for their own safety.

It has also been amazing to have the Domino Early Childhood Development Team come and empower the caregivers on how to run their mini morning teaching sessions for the two older boys so that active learning can take place!

“And whilst there have been no other adoptions this year, we were so excited to have a family from London pop in and visit us in February with their little girl and she seems to be so happy and doing so well!”

We continue to pray for our partners at Durban Child Welfare and Department of Social Development who assist us to place and care for vulnerable children in distress.

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