Caring for the most vulnerable - the Sponsored Orphans and Needy Families Project:

31 May 2021

There are few people in South Africa in more dire need than orphans and child-headed households. For many of these families there often appears to be little hope. That is why Carryou Ministry has for many years assisted the most-needy households in the Elandsvlei and Toekomsrus areas.

“We help these vulnerable kids in two ways,” says Brenda Naholo Phiri, the project’s co-ordinator. “We are made aware of the neediest residents in the area by referrals from schools, clinics and community caregivers. Each case is carefully evaluated so that food parcels can be distributed where most needed. The money needed for the project is sponsored by long-time US supporter, Sue Heywood as well as the Tuxedo Park School and St Mary’s church in New York State.  “In addition to supplying food parcels, there is also a sponsored education benefit that pays for the education and advancement of vulnerable children and their families,” she continues.

Brenda is justifiably proud of the work and achievements of the project — and the efforts are bearing fruit. A former education scholarship beneficiary has gone on to qualify as a teacher at Mafikeng University and is now educating children in the town of Lichtenburg.

“I hope all our beneficiaries will continue to give back to the community that helped them get ahead,” says Brenda. If each could financially adopt a needy child once they are established that would make me very happy.”

It’s a sentiment Brenda takes seriously — and she has put her money where her mouth is — as she adopted a child from Elandsvlei. “She is now 17 but I began the adoption process when she was eight and became her legal guardian a few years later,” says Brenda. Helped by the educational scheme, this young lady now has a bright future ahead of her.  

But the challenges the project faces are numerous, and for members of child-headed households, overcoming bureaucratic obstacles can be overwhelming. Such is the case of Lodrico Tivani, (18) from Mozambique.

The young man is the eldest sibling in a child-headed household and has just completed his Matric with the help of the Carryou Education sponsorship. It should be a time of hope and looking forward to the future because, armed with a matric certificate, he can look for a job or register to study for a degree at a university.

But red tape has got in the way of his aspirations because he has been unable to finalise his residency permit, and the Department of Education will not issue his Matric Certificate before that is done. And the arrival of Covid-19 has done nothing to speed the process up! 

The pandemic has produced a number of other challenges.
“It has been devastating for the people of Elandsvlei, an already impoverished area,” says Brenda. “Many people lost their jobs on nearby farms, and this has a knock-on effect throughout the community. We will continue to do everything in our power to help the orphans and vulnerable children of the area, but now, more than ever, we need help and support from donors.”

Carryou Ministry 20 years of caring

18 May 2021

Learning while they play

23 April 2021

The Randfontein landfill site can be a dangerous and foreboding place.

Heavy vehicles are constantly moving about as the recycling process takes place.
The area is not an ideal spot for children, but there are many kids at the site whose parents make a living recycling the dumped waste.

“As far back as 2015 Carryou Ministry realized something needed to be done about the lack of early childhood development facilities that the landfill site children faced,” says Ashley Khamisa, Carryou Project Co-ordinator. “There was a dire need for wholesome children’s entertainment and learning.”
With that in mind the Siyathuthuka Children’s Playgroup was established.

Funded by International donor Sue Haywood, and her US-based group of angels, as well as the department of Social Development, the playgroup offers educational play activities to the children who live at the landfill.

 Operating from Monday to Friday, two practitioners guide over a dozen kids, teaching them how to care for their environment while they play in a safe and secure location.

“We always have a theme for the week’s play, and utilize toys that emphasize that theme,” says Ashley. “This structure produces not only theoretical learning and knowledge, but also develops practical skills.”

And not even the advent of Covid-19 could stop the activities of the playgroup.

“The pandemic has made things more difficult and produced a few speed bumps,” says Ashley. “But we were able to adapt. We had to use the kitchen as a playroom because no more than five children could play together. But the team pulled together and made it work.”

So while the children learn about recycling and learn through educational play and activities, their parents can continue working on the landfill, secure in the knowledge that their kids are safe and looked after.  

The project has faced and overcome many challenges over the last six years, but now the Siyathuthuka Children’s Playgroup is looking forward to increasing the number of learners it can enrol in the future – a future that is brighter for the kids of Randfontein’s landfill site.

Filling Hungry Bellies

21 April 2021

The onset of the Covid pandemic has brought increased hardships for many people in Randfontein. The pandemic created an economic downturn which led to increased levels of hunger.  Many homeless people were left with little or no food, and found themselves in dire circumstances.

“Something had to be done,” says Carryou Ministry’s General Manager, Rev. Lawrence Mabaso.

The organisation responded by partnering with local philanthropists, and international donors to start a soup kitchen,

“We were approached by Mrs Fernandez, a generous and concerned local resident who was desperately trying to ensure homeless people in Randfontein got one decent meal a day,” says Lesiba Mmethi, Co-ordinator. “She could not prepare the food and feed them herself, but was able to contribute a monthly amount towards running a soup kitchen.”

It was decided Carryou Ministry, with support from Mrs Fernandez, would create a soup kitchen that would serve a decent meal to the town’s destitute and vulnerable from their premises in Park street, Randfontein.

When word of the project got out, others were keen to help financially. These included one of Carryou’s most ardent and faithful long term supporters, Sue Hayward, who lives in the United States.

“It started small but has grown tremendously,” says Lesiba. “Since January 2021 we’ve been able to feed dozens of people every day. What began with about six people has increased to where we now feed over 30, as word has got out there.”

Hungry people from all over arrive at the soup kitchen between 11am and 1pm on weekdays and are given a meal of bread and soup, or bread and polony.

“It’s a hearty meal that fills their bellies,” says Lesbiba. “For many it is their only food of the day.

“The need is great and likely to continue for a long time and we hope to grow and expand the scheme.”

Covid-19 and Carryou Ministry

14 April 2021

“It’s been a very tough time for everyone,” says Rev. Lawrence Mabaso, Carryou Ministry’s General Manager. “The onset of the Covid pandemic made it difficult to service our beneficiaries.”

But hungry and vulnerable children and their families still had to be fed.

“There was no option but to adapt,” he says. “Level 5 social distancing regulations meant we could not directly service the people. Overnight we were forced to stop serving the 300 hot, cooked meals we produced every week day at our facilities in Elandsvlei and Toekomsrus. So, instead of cooking meals, we quickly had to make up and deliver food parcels.”

Three hundred families now get monthly packages for many it is the only food they have. But the change created its own problems.

“People came to us, but now we have to deliver food to their homes. That is a costly challenge with only one unreliable bakkie,” says Rev. Mabaso. “But the team pushed through, working long shifts and going the extra mile.”

Level 5 restrictions were particularly difficult. Carryou Caregivers are required to regularly visit the children to check on their wellbeing and health, provide counselling services and help with problems encountered at school or in their communities. During the hard lock down this was not possible.

People had to work from home. Many of our field workers often had to try to reach someone with a working cell phone and ask them to pass on messages to the Caregivers and Social Auxiliaries.”

But tough times build tough people and the Carryou team rose to the occasion.

“Everyone rolled up their sleeves, adapted, and did their duty,” he says. “I am immensely proud of them. In addition, the Department of Social Development stood steadfastly by us. The truth is, without them, and the support of our donors in the United States, Carryou would not have survived — nor would our beneficiaries!”

Despite the tough times Lawrence is optimistic about the future. He believes that with the vaccine program under way there will come a time when Carryou gets back to the way it was.

“It is important we start cooking again,” he says. “That will guarantee the kids get the food, and we can be sure they are getting a daily, healthy meal.