volunteer

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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English student spends time giving back to the community!

The gentle English accent might fool you, but Theo is fluent in Afrikaans. In fact, he and his family speak nothing else when they are ‘home alone’ in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, north of London. His surname is the giveaway: the Bredell family hails from Bethlehem in the Free State and moved to the UK in 2009. Theo did all of his schooling in England and has been accepted to study medicine at St Andrew’s University later this year. Fellow congregants at the local church in Sharnbrook are South Africans and it was through the wife’s parents, Morningside residents, Gary and Sandy van Vuuren, on a visit to see their family, that Theo came to hear about The Domino Foundation. The aspiring medico was planning a trip to visit family in South Africa and was invited to stay with the van Vuurens in Durban. There Theo met Shaun Tait, Domino’s CEO, who suggested the young Englishman spend time as a volunteer with the foundation.

He has landed himself a heavy schedule working with several of the programmes at Domino, taking part in many aspects of Domino’s work: sandwich-making; food deliveries; preparation of hygiene kits and emergency relief hampers; data-capture and even visiting the Babies’ Home to spend time with the infants and toddlers! “Perhaps this is where my ambition to become a doctor is showing?” he said. “I want a career with a dynamic balance of academic challenges and helping people from every walk of life. Interacting with these little people and seeing their response when someone takes an interest in them really has gladdened my heart.” Theo joined Domino’s Disaster Relief Unit in a trip to Jozini to distribute hygiene supplies to local communities. Commented Cathy Whittle, DRU’s team leader: “Theo’s participation in this distribution was greatly appreciated by the team and by the beneficiaries.”

When asked whether there might be an ongoing Domino/Sharbrook connection, Theo enthusiastically said: “I really hope there will be!” The van Vuurens echoed that: “Theo has been a delight and his heart to make a difference in people’s live is very evident!” said Sandy. A report-back is on his schedule when he is back home and he said he will definitely be recommending The Domino Foundation as an excellent and rewarding organisation to do voluntary work with.

Esther Madikane, who manages Domino’s volunteer programme said: “We have had a number of international volunteers spend time with us. They always go home deeply impacted by what they see and do here and are always our greatest ambassadors.” She invites anyone, either local or from overseas, who is interested in volunteering with the foundation, to contact her on 031 563 9605 volunteer@domino.org.za.

Caption: English volunteer, Theo Bredell with Domino’s Volunteer Co-Ordinator Esther Madikane.

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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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Who is The Domino Foundation? #KnowYourNPO

Who exactly is The Domino Foundation and what do they do?

So the Recycle Swop Shop joined The Domino Foundation last year and continues to operate within impoverished communities in the Western Cape.

But who exactly is The Domino Foundation and what do they do?

The Domino Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a desire to see individuals and communities within South Africa living in dignity, justice, hope and purpose. Through acts of mercy, contending for justice and empowering lives, The Domino Foundation works to see individuals and communities transformed.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to take a deeper look at The Domino Foundation and help YOU to #KnowYourNPO now that we (The Recycle Swop Shop) are a part of the #DominoEffect.

We will look at:

  • WHAT does The Domino Foundation do?
  • WHY the name?
  • HOW do we do it? and
  • Ways to SUPPORT us as part of The Domino Foundation.

“Essentially, at the core of who we are, is a collective of like-minded individuals who are inspired, motivated and encouraged to see the world changed.”

So keep checking on Facebook this week and follow the hashtag #KnowYourNPO for more!

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#KnowYourNPO Recycle Swop Shop

#KnowYourNPO SwopShop

How much do you really know about The Domino Foundation Recycle Swop Shop?

Having recently joined The Domino Foundation, we thought it would provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the work of the Recycle Swop Shop. Over the past few months, Domino has been running a #KnowYourNPO campaign which examines each of The Domino Foundation’s seven community transformation programmes.

Over a four week period, we take some time to focus on exactly (1) WHAT the programme is, (2) WHY we do it and show you (3) HOW the programme is implemented. We also share some exciting ways for you to engage with and throw your weight behind these initiatives to multiply the good work we are doing. Our aim of this campaign is to share with the world the work we are involved in and hope that individuals gain a greater understanding and the ‘bigger picture’ of the expansive work we do.

This October & November, our #KnowYourNPO campaign will focus on The Domino Foundation’s Recycle Swop Shop programme, operating in the Western Cape, shedding light on WHAT it is, WHY we do it, HOW we do it and WAYS for you TO SUPPORT it!

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Medical Students Impact Matrics

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

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

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

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

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Recycle Swop Shop Programme update – 3rd Quarter

The Recycle Swop Shop Programme was officially launched as part of The Domino Foundation when Executive Chairman Richard Mun-Gavin travelled to Cape Town to present to the Life Changers community the Foundation in all its seven programmes. Between January and mid-September this year, the Swop Shop’s three sites have seen a total of 23812kg of recyclables brought in. The Swop Shop operation at Wesbank No. 1 Primary School has been suspended because of security concerns.

The Domino Foundation Recycle Swop Shop Programme is dependent on both corporate and individual financial donors, on non-financial donors and on volunteers. Samantha will welcome any enquiries at adminct@domino.org.za

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Teaching the Toddlers

Early in 2017, Liezel Rabey moved to KZN from Gauteng with her family. She contacted The Domino Foundation, wanting to be involved in some aspect of the foundation’s activities. Liezel, an educational psychologist, has a passion for seeing toddlers established on a firm grounding for the school years ahead of them. She has been running an informal play school at The Domino Foundation’s Babies’ Homes since then three times a week, with two other ladies, Amanda Pet and Kerrie Tomlinson, having taken up the challenge to increase that to a fourth day each week. Music, art and dance lessons are great fun and develop the little people’s co-ordination and imagination. Their fine motor skills are strengthened through puzzles, play dough and threading. Every second week, the children are seeing their worlds enlarged with visits to exciting places like Animal Farm, the Mitchell Park Zoo, Ushaka, the Port Natal Maritime Museum where the toddlers had a wonderful time exploring the steam tug and the minesweeper, King Shaka and Virginia airports, the Trampoline and Bird Parks. Liezel has set up a veggie garden where the children take part in the planting, watering, weeding. Here they are admiring the very healthy broccoli in the garden.

The vision of the Babies’ Homes Programme is to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for abandoned babies and toddlers before their being adopted into a loving family unit.

While the children are in our homes, we ensure that they have 24 hour care in a holistically safe environment which caters to their physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs. Our desire is to provide as stable a home-life for these little people as we can so that their transition into their adoptive families is as easy as possible.

We have items which we need on an ongoing basis to enable us to keep functioning effectively. We gratefully receive donations of any of the items on the following list:

 

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Project 10 arrives on Durban’s shores

For the past few months, we’ve been lucky enough to have a group of motivated volunteers with us from Israel. In the short space of time that Project 10 has been volunteering here, they’ve already managed to run a maths camp for Amaoti high school learners, prepared meals for the feeding programme and learnt some isiZulu through isiZulu classes run by our very own Sifiso (Life Skills mentor).

Through international volunteer groups, The Domino Foundation is able to exchange knowledge, expose our beneficiaries to different cultures and build international ties – all extremely valuable experiences for us. Shani Silove, South African Project Director of Project 10, shared her thoughts on their Durban experience and what it means to be an international volunteer.


What is the vision and purpose of Project 10 and how is this implemented?

Our vision is to empower young Jewish adults to give their time and skills to create sustainable projects in developing and vulnerable communities around the world. We aim to offer young Jewish adults from across the globe the opportunity to explore what it means to be an activist and to meet and be inspired by local people doing amazing work on the ground. In order to promote sustainability and strengthen local communities, we initiate projects in the three fields of informal education, public health and agriculture.

Why have Project 10 decided to come to Durban?

Durban is the first urban centre and is located close to a small Jewish community who were very enthusiastic to have Project Ten in Durban. Additionally, the Victor Daitz Foundation is major contributor to our programme and they were keen for us to work with local communities in KwaZulu-Natal.

Are South Africa and your home country similar? 

Yes, both countries have a long and complex history, which affects current social, economic and political structures. Both countries are also different from their neighbouring countries and have the potential to grow and develop in unique and exciting ways.

What have been some of the team’s defining moments during their Durban experience?

Seeing people their own age who are living on the street and are using substances such as glue as a way of coping with their life circumstances. It has given them a lot of perspective as to how lucky they are in their lives with loving families and all their basic needs met.

What lessons have your team learnt?

They’ve learnt not to judge a book by its cover and that sometimes it takes time to really see things as they are.

How has the Maths camp been going?

The Maths camp has been fantastic. We have a good team who are working well together, the kids are having fun and thanks to the generous donation of Domino we are able to feed the children too. It has been great to give the children an enriching experience together with the maths skills. For example, teaching measurements by measuring the map of Africa and learning about their own country while gaining maths skills.

What advice would you want to share with other volunteer groups?

To be open minded and to realise that many things you see are different from what you are used to but some things are always the same. All children, no matter where you are in the world, want to have fun, want to learn and they want to be loved.

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With the Festive Season upon us, Yuval Ezbal (right) and Amit Sosman (left) wished their isiZulu teacher, Siphiso Hlongwa, “UKhisimusi omuhle!”, the local good wishes for Christmas. He returned the greeting with “Chanuka sameach!” to mark the upcoming Jewish Festival of Lights. Amit and Yuval are in South Africa as part of the first group of volunteers with Project TEN, an apolitical international programme that operates centres in Mexico, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda, drawing volunteers from all over the world. The programme combines volunteer work with local communities and service-learning in the fields of international development, culture and identity. Project TEN is involved with a number of the programmes of The Domino Foundation where Siphiso is a facilitator in the Life Skills programme. The Foundation is a non-profit organisation that creates essential structures geared towards supporting programmes that are meeting the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs of individuals and communities in KZN and the Western Cape through mercy, justice and empowerment.

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Why should we sign all this paperwork when we’re only here to help?

This question often pops up when volunteers decide to volunteer at The Domino Foundation… Why should we sign all this paperwork when we’re only here to help?

We love it when volunteers are willing to pour their time, talents and treasures into the Domino Foundation. It’s thanks to the generosity of others that our programmes can continue running. However, our first priority always lies with our beneficiaries. So in order to protect them and protect the integrity of our programmes we have a few policies in place.

  • Every volunteer is required to sign an Indemnity Form.
  • Babies’ Home volunteers are required to sign and submit a ‘Form 30’ which is an inquiry form that is sent to Department of Social Development (DSD) to verify if an individual is on the ‘offenders’ section of the register. If they are in the ‘offenders’ section they are not allowed to “work with or have access to children”. All our Babies Home staff submits these yearly.
  • Babies’ Home volunteers will also notice that we have a strict photography policy as we want to ensure the children under our care, as well as the eventual adoptive parents, are not exploited in any way and that their privacy is closely guarded. With a few simple guidelines, outlined before any visit, children and volunteers are protected and everyone can enjoy time together.

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