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A Blaze Of Floral Art

It was an act of love seven years ago when Angela Altern and friends created a painted blaze of colour in a floral mural along the driveway wall of The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Home. “I had an overwhelming desire to brighten the lives of the little people living in the home until they were either reunited with their biological families or had joined their new adoptive ‘forever’ families.”

Time and the elements have faded the hues of the asters and daisies bedecking the wall. All the children who were then part of the little community on Adelaide Tambo Avenue have moved on, but Angela’s affection for the new clutch of babies and toddlers hasn’t dimmed. Now, as Cultural Coordinator overseeing music, drama and art at Redwood College, La Lucia, she suggested the school’s student outreach committee consider giving new life to the wall as a meaningful way to give back to and engage with the community.

The Redwood high school fans of the world’s most renowned street artist, Banksy, spent a good portion of Valentine’s Day hosing down, scrubbing and priming the 10 metre wall and then set to ‘replanting’. Standing back and admiring their handiwork, heads of the outreach committee, Megan Anamourlis and Kiera van Eden, declared: “We wanted to express love for the small residents at the home on this day linked with love. We think that the wall is a happy, warm welcome to all visitors and a declaration of the love which fills the Babies’ Home.”

Angela, whose four children all attend Redwood College, expressed her gratitude to Mica Durban North and Duram Smart Paints for their generous sponsorship of the paint for the project. House Mother at the home, Precious Thabethe, said that more than 170 children have been part of the ‘family’ over the two decades since its establishment: “Every act of love like this of the Redwood students adds something special to the little ones’ lives.” She encouraged anyone who has a heart for making a difference in children whose start in life has often been very hard to contact Domino on 031 110 0730 or marketing@domino.org.za

Caption: Redwood student, Megan Anamourlis, enjoys watching a small member of the ‘family’ at Domino’s Babies’ Home add a finishing touch to the school’s Cultural Coordinator Angela Altern’s makeup.

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From City Lodge With Love

The ladies who call The Domino Foundation’s Red Light programme’s safe house ‘home’ are human-trafficking survivors who have had little luxury and comfort in their lives. The house is called “Othandweni” meaning ”Place of Love” and unconditional love is a key element in the residents’ journey into wholeness. The world they lived in before were usually marked by ugliness, violence and a general absence of comfort. The generous donation by City Lodge of fluffy towels and other household linen was greeted with huge appreciation. Domino’s justice Co-ordinator, Natal, commented: “We are very focused on restoring the ladies to a place where they know they have intrinsic value as human beings and not as objects to be bought and sold. City Lodge’s donation of quality linen tells them they are special.”

Johna Pillay, Duty Manager at City Lodge, uMhlanga, added: “We have partnered with Domino over the years and have seen the impact they have on the lives of so many marginalised people in our communities. The human-trafficking survivors are possibly among the most marginalised of all, coming from a world of shadows. We hope our donation will tell them we care.”

“Othandweni” is sharing the gift with the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Regional Hospital, Eastern Cape. Natalie explained: “Each time we are blessed with a donation by City Lodge, we use our networking to see who else is in need of linen

For those interested in finding out how they can be part of “Othandweni’s” residents path to restoration can contact Natalie at justice@domino.org.za.

Caption: Mbali, a house mum at Red Light’s safe house, packing City Lodge’s donation of towels into the linen cupboard.

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Train The Trainers

Anele Chita, Grow ECD’s Community Development Co-ordinator in the Durban metropolitan area, hit the new school year strongly with a two-day Train the Trainers workshop with The Domino Foundation’s Early Childhood Development Programme’s Team Leader, Zanele Nzimande and her field workers.

“We equip ECD businesses and organisations with the skills, support and resources to provide 5-star early learning for every child in their care,” he explained. The workshop provided ongoing training in proficiency in the GROW app which has revolutionised the 64 ECD centres partnering with Domino since the app was rolled out in the centres last year. Domino’s Education Co-ordinator, Nicky Walton, described the progress since then: “The app has streamlined the way education happens in these centres, gearing them up significantly on their journey from being merely child-care centres to being effective small businesses where critical preparation for school readiness is the order of the day.” The app is used for daily updating of registers, for its resource centre and library, and a variety of ways of stimulating pupils more effectively as pre-schoolers in preparation for school-readiness.

The multi-purpose app provides paperless administration and enables owners to improve their centres as small businesses, facilitating finance management, parent communication, teacher competency and pupil assessments.

Joining the field workers was Mdu Vato, Domino’s Nutrition Programme Supervisor, who took part because the  ECD owners’ progress in using the app is monitored for their centres to qualify to receive high protein porridge and soup for their pupils’ lunches. He explained: “We are very aware of how good nutrition helps children avoid stunting, wasting and obesity as well as being ‘food for thought’, aiding brain development, concentration in class and effective learning all round.”

At the end of the workshop, Zanele commented: “Evidence shows attendance at pre-school establishes good foundational learning skills which will generally see pupils going further and finishing their school careers well. The GROW app is significantly impacting these centres and we expect to see them attaining increasingly high standards in business and academic achievement.”

If you would like invest and partner with us in the ECD Education space please contact Nicky on education@domino.org.za

Caption: Domino’s Zanele Nzimande and GROW ECD’s Anele Chita at the Train the Trainer Workshop held at the Domino Offices #fromCradletoCareer #jointheDominoEffect

As featured in our Community Newspaper too

https://www.citizen.co.za/north-glen-news/news-headlines/local-news/2024/01/25/durban-north-organisation-grows-early-childhood-development/

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No gift too small

“Both hats fit and they complement each other,” said Karen Brokensha of her twin roles at The Domino Foundation. The sunhat shadows her role as Marketing “Chief Storyteller” as she oversees the brand narrative of the NPO’s seven programmes. Whilst donning the cap as Donor Relations she ensures all their donors are kept informed as to how their funds are making an impact and nurturing those relationships. “In both cases, I am responsible for the various elements so that friends and supporters feel confident and inspired by their parts in what we affectionately refer to as the Domino Effect!

Much as Karen is tasked with sharing the wonderful stories of partnerships between Domino and the big corporates and business, she is intimately aware of the significance of the smaller consistent donations and one-off gifts that reflect the generous hearts of individuals in  community as a whole. “The parable of the widow giving her two mites speaks of a spirit of radical generosity and faithfulness to invest in what God has asked each one of us to do”

Karen described two easy methods for people to pledge their support of Domino’s Cradle to Career work – from the abandoned babies, survivors of human-trafficking, learners needing a high-protein meals in their school day to pre-adolescent youth being mentored to make good lifestyle-decisions, and whole families that have been impacted by the effects of natural and man-made disasters.

“You can sign up as a Direct Debit Donor donating R250 as a monthly contribution (or make a once off Christmas Credit Card donation). Alternatively, subscribe The Domino Foundation as one of your beneficiaries on your MySchool card so that each time you swipe at a local retail partner, we gain a small benefit. Many people know about this incredible My Village initiative but don’t realise you can nominate up to three beneficiaries on each card. That means, even if they are already supporting their children’s schools, they could easily add Domino as a third beneficiary.”

Karen encouraged learners and families to claim their own double portion of blessing by investing in the work of the foundation to make a meaningful difference ahead of the festive season and into 2024! Donate link on www.domino.org.za or contact Karen on 031 110 0730 or marketing@domino.org.za

#twomites #greatandsmall

Caption: Domino’s Karen Brokensha making it easy for community members both great and small to support the NPO’s work through financial giving.

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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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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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