It is amazing how God works, a year an a half ago Lou and I were flying from Nairobi Kenya to Nelsprit South Africa. One of my goals in South Africa was to find an organization to work with for our 2010 Globetrotter trip.
I been told by a friend about a group called Hands at Work may be worth checking out. The friend was a new friend who we were doing a home exchange with in White River, he had heard a couple of people talking in his fast food restaurant (Nandos) about the great work Hands at Work was doing in the community.
I had not really set anything up or really didn’t know how to get in touch with H@W but figured maybe I could look them up when we arrived in South Africa. As we boarded the plane in Nairobi I realized my wife and I were not going to be sitting together and I asked the flight attendent if we could move to get beside each other. She told me the plane was full but as we pulled away from the gate, the gentleman beside me volunteered to move once the plane got up in the air.
I struck up a conversation with the man and was almost blown over when I realized that I was sitting beside one of the founders of Hands at Work. We talked the whole trip, sorry darlin you had to sit by yourself on that flight.
Once in White River we were able to set up a meeting with Vivienne at H@W and had an immediate friendship. We talked about doing a project that would have a lasting impact and thought about doing a garden as a Globetrotter project. The biggest problem was that a garden is no good without water. Most of the communities in the are with water is a very scarce resource. So I started thinking about how we could get water into the community when I remembered a local Greensboro boy who had started an organization called Water to Wine in Boone NC (www.watertowine.org) that worked with impoverished areas drilling wells. So I contacted the founder, Doc Hendly and hooked Water to Wine with Hands at Work and YESTERDAY THEY HIT WATER in the Siyathuthuka community! The first bore hole (well) in the community! Now our Globetrotters are headed to Siyathuthuka to plant their first real garden in July.
What started a simple comment in a fast food restaurant in White River South Africa traveled all the way around the world to the Greensboro NC which lead to a chance connection on a plane flying from Nairobi to Johannesburg, which lead me to an organization in Boone NC, which lead to a new well (fresh water) and soon a garden to an impoverished community in South Africa. Gods work is amazing!
Here is some information on Hands at Work and Siyathuthuka -
Hands at Work in Africa – South Africa
Since its initial post-apartheid elections in 1994, South Africa has seen rapid development, especially in the badly-neglected, crime heavy squatter camp areas surrounding the country’s largest cities. Yet rural communities remain heavily underdeveloped, often still lacking clean water, adequate schools and health care. HIV/ AIDS remains a major issue in the country, which holds the largest population, 3.5 million, of HIV-positive people in the world and an alarming number of new orphans each year, with a total of 2.5 million orphans in the country (1.4 million from HIV/AIDS). The country has an unemployment rate of 21.7% but most economic development is significantly localised around four areas: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria/Johannesburg. The unemployment rate of people living in rural communities is much higher.
Hands at Work is serving 13 CBOs( Community Based Organisations) in South Africa. Eight of these communities are located near White River in the municipality of Mbombela (Nelspruit) and are supported by a Service Centre in Clau Clau. The other five communities are located in an area called Bushbuckridge and are supported by a Service Centre in Thulamuhashe.
Hands at Work currently operates in eight countries in Africa, including DRC, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Home visits for orphaned and vulnerable children are the foundation of everything Senzokuhle HBC does. Community volunteers who regularly visit children in their homes build strong relationships and through this relationship support the children physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Because of the relationships the volunteers build these volunteers are also able to accurately assess the reality of each child’s needs and make a plan for how to best intervene and provide care in the child’s life.
There are some very basic items that will make a big difference in the health and safety of the neediest and poorest children: blankets in the cold winter, soap for bathing and cleaning, and a lock for the door. They invite the mobile clinic once a month to administer health to their sick and for immunisation of the children from the community. They train the primary care givers on how to care for their sick and refer some to them local clinics.
In order to address the most essential needs of the 270 orphaned or vulnerable child in this community, Siyathuthuka HBC aims to provide one nutritious meal to each child per day. The volunteers also would like to start a large garden in order to supplement the daily meals and to provide the children with fresh vegetables to take home.
Siyathuthuka HBC would like to build a community care centre where the children can receive a daily meal. Because children have free access to schools but little support, Siyathuthuka HBC aims to meet their basic educational needs by providing stationary, uniforms for the extremely needy, and homework assistance through an afterschool program at the same site. They are also looking to older children in the community that have finished grade 12 to help the younger children with homework in an afterschool program.
How can you help?
The overarching problem with orphaned and vulnerable children is the lack of guidance in their lives. Hands at Work in Africa strives to fill some of the holes the loss of a parent creates, guiding children in the way they should go through regular interactions from community based care workers with the child in their home and outside their home at community care points.
Begin a monthly donation to ensure a child has access to food, education and basic health care all delivered from the loving arms of a local community based volunteer. Help deliver these essential services to a child or a group of children at $15 per month per child. Or for larger donations, fund an urgent project, like the construction of a community school or the drilling of a well. Your contributions will immediately impact Africa’s most vulnerable children.
You can make a difference. To find out more about project possibilities, contact your country representative for Hands at Work, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online at www.handsatwork.org/contribute.