Helping hands make good neighbours

In difficult times many people suffer great hardships, are often alone and without aid. Many do not know how, or to whom, they should reach out.

Sophy Mosebetsi is one of those people who found herself alone and in a difficult situation in April 2019 when her adult daughter passed away, leaving Sophy to care for her three grandchildren (aged sixteen, six and four). Fortunately for this grandmother, her neighbour, Brenda Naholo, Programme Manager for Carryou Ministry’s Drop-in Centre in Elandsvlei, is someone who truly cares for her community.

The caring neighbour, Brenda Naholo, sixteen year-old Thapelo and Grandmother, Sophy Mosebetsi

When Brenda became aware of her Sophy’s plight, she arranged with Carryou to have food parcels delivered to their home on a monthly basis. As living costs mounted, Brenda decided to approach the Carryou Board members for assistance. Board Member, Pamela Maphoto, offered to donate R500 a month to help with Sophy’s expenses that include toiletries, electricity, school fees, uniforms and transport.

Six-year old Ofentse and her four-year old brother, Sfiso

The two younger children Ofentse (six) and Sfiso (four) attend school close to home, but sixteen-year-old Thapelo’s school is relatively far from home so the transport costs add to the burden of making ends meet. Thapelo, currently in Grade 9, helps his grandmother as best as he can and hopes to become a police officer once he finishes his schooling.

Sophy is always very grateful for the assistance she receives, but continues to struggle with the daily challenges of raising three children in a small house and trying to feed and clothe them. Having a caring neighbour like Brenda and an organisation like Carryou Ministry to help lighten the burden, makes life a little easier and Sophy manages to wipe away her tears when Brenda stops by.

If you are able to help Sophy Mosebetsi and her family, please contact Brenda Naholo at Carryou Ministry on WhatsApp/Cell 073 330 6765 or email brendan@carryouministry.co.za

A Grandmother’s Love

10 September 2021

The story of Aria Soke is sadly one that is all too common in South Africa.

This elderly grandmother is in the unfortunate position of having to try and raise and care for her seven grandchildren. When her daughter passed away in April 2020 she left behind nine children. Two stay with other relatives and Aria is doing her best to provide for the remaining seven, aged between 4 and 16 years.

For many months Aria had to care for her grandchildren without any assistance. That was until June this year when the community workers at Carryou Ministry heard about her plight.

Carryou has been able to assist with monthly deliveries of food and toiletries which has made an enormous difference, because seven extra mouths to feed is no easy task, especially when those mouths are attached to growing bodies.

“I am so grateful to Carryou, I would be lost without them,” says Aria.

The reason Carryou Ministry is able to assist is because of donations received from Sue Heywood and friends from the United States, who regularly provide funding for orphans under Carryou’s care. This support means a lot to the organisation in these tough times.

Currently, one of the biggest challenges faced by Aria and her grandchildren is finding adequate bedding.

“I stay in a small house so there is not much room for the children to sleep and we need mattresses for the young ones,” explains Aria.

Despite their circumstances, most of the children are healthy, but Aria worries about the youngest, who often has chest problems. This family faces challenges every day, but they soldier on, hoping for a brighter tomorrow.

If you are able to help Aria and her grandchildren with donations of one or more mattresses or financial assistance towards mattresses, school uniforms and groceries, please contact Brenda Naholo at Carryou Ministry on WhatsApp/Cell 073 330 6765 or email elandsvleidic.manager@gmail.com

Kids from Toekomsrus Drop In Centre once again receiving nutritious hot meals from Carryou Ministry. Watch the joy on their faces in the YouTube video

31 August 2021

26 August 2021

Meet our people:

Treven Hendricks

Carryou Ministry is proud to introduce the organisation’s new Executive Manager, Treven Hendricks.

Treven is originally from Cape Town where he qualified as a mechanical engineer. However, engineering was not his only passion, as he was also studying theology on a part time basis. He spent over ten years working with the church in youth leadership and as a volunteer with the YMCA in the Western Cape where he was involved with a juvenile and child wellness programmes.

Treven moved to Johannesburg in 1997 and began a long working relationship with the South African Young Men’s Christian Association (SA YMCA). Before he was appointed as Secretary General of the SA YMCA, he was the Chair of the Cape Flats YMCA in Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town; served as the Chair of the Western Cape Regional Council of YMCA’s and was a member of the National Executive Committee of the YMCA in South Africa.  With over 34 branches in South Africa, the YMCA needed someone who could implement the vision of the National Board in the local branches themselves.

The organisation later changed the designation from Secretary General to National Director where Treven’s responsibilities included the implementation YMCA Board decisions and projects across the SADC region.

 “The Boards are often made up of volunteers and are full of visionaries,” he says. “The hard part is moving from the vision to carrying out the project at management level, and then getting the workers themselves to understand and carry out the programme to help the people who need it most.”

It was during one of these seminars where Treven was explaining how to strengthen operations of a Board of Directors that he met Carryou’s General Manager, Reverend Lawrence Mabaso. The relationship with Reverend Mabaso developed over time as Treven continued to develop strategies -like a five-year Strategic Focus Programme for Carryou. Seeing the good work Treven was doing, the Carryou Ministry Board of Directors eventually asked him to join them in order to benefit from his strategic vision.

After a lengthy, transparent and vigorous interview process the Carryou Board appointed Treven Hendricks as its Executive Manager in August 2021.

 

“Some of my main goals as Executive Manager are to implement the Board’s vision and to increase the scope of each programme,” says Treven. “Everything we are doing now we must keep on doing, but on a bigger scale.”

In addition, he wants to develop capacity at Carryou at all levels and expand the organisation. One of the keys to this expansion is to partner with organisations with similar goals and values to Carryou.

“There must be continuous development, not only of the organisation, but of the staff members themselves. We can only grow Carryou if we ourselves grow”, says Treven.

As with all NGOs, increasing funding on a sustainable basis is one of the main challenges Treven is faced with. He would like to see some of the projects bring in a return on investment. With many projects funded directly by donors, it is sometimes difficult to meet the operating costs of an organisation like Carryou. This is why sustainable income generation from projects like the Vleikop farm are key to the future and growth of Carryou.

“I am confident that with all of us pulling together we can expand our operations in all directions,” he says.

With someone as experienced and dedicated as Treven Hendricks this looks like it could well become a real possibility. In his personal time Treven loves spending time with his two boys form a previous marriage, and he also plays the guitar in a band.

The Tzu Chi Story – Another helping hand from afar

3 August 2021

Carryou Ministry is proud to announce the beginning of a new partnership.

In May 2021 Carryou heard about an outreach programme launched in South Africa by The Tzu Chi Foundation, a Taiwanese international humanitarian and non-governmental organization. The programme consists of providing food parcels and other aid to certified NGO’s for distribution to the poor and needy.

Founded in 1966 in Hualien Taiwan (Republic of China) the Tzu Chi Foundation has made a massive difference around the World. With operations covering everything from hospitals, colleges and disaster relief, this foundation is one of the largest and most recognised humanitarian NGO’s on the planet.

After being briefed by the representatives of Tzu Chi in Chamdor Krugersdorp, Carryou applied to become a recipient for their South African programme. The Foundation was really impressed with the Elandsvlei Drop in Centre, a well-managed and organised facility, and is exactly the type of partner the Foundation is looking for.

“We are hoping this becomes an ongoing relationship, between us and the Tzu Chi foundation,” says Carryou’s Lesiba Mmethi.

For its part the Tzu Chi Foundation donated 300 hundred food parcels as part of their Winter relief programme.

“When you look at the scale and professionalism of the distribution, this gives us hope that Elandsvlei will soon be distributing clothing and other items to the needy people of Randfontein,” says Lesiba.

 

 

The 300 food parcels were gratefully received by the vulnerable residents in the area. With the country still grappling with the effects of Covid 19 and the resulting lockdown, there are many hungry mouths to feed, but with an international organization the size of the Tzu Chi Foundation in their corner, there is no limit to the good work Carryou can accomplish. With a staff as dedicated and organized as Carryou, this aid can make a big difference in uplifting the community.

Carryou Ministry is proud and thankful that this foundation has reached out and made the burden of caring for the needy and vulnerable just a little easier. It’s something we all hope to build on.   

29 July 2021

Meet our people:

Reverend Lawrence Mabaso

Reverend Lawrence Mabaso (68), is a gentle man. He speaks quietly and few people can remember an occasion when he raised his voice. But don’t let that fool you, he is a man on a mission to help South Africa’s most vulnerable people and has dedicated 50 years of his life to achieving that goal.    

As general manager at Carryou Ministry, Reverend Mabaso has hundreds of people who count on him for more than just their daily bread. Growing up in Soweto, he had a difficult upbringing.  

“My father enjoyed socialising and drinking which left my mother somewhat disorganised, so, in truth, in my formative years I did not have any adult role models,” he says. “I had to find my own ways.”   

Like so many other disaffected youngsters in South Africa, Lawrence could just as easily have fallen through the cracks, were it not for the fact he came into contact with Siza Molebatsi, leader of Youth Alive in Soweto, as well as anti-Apartheid activist, Reverend Frank Chikane.

“Reverend Chikane became my mentor and role model,” says Lawrence. “Every Friday he preached at Orlando High School, where I was a pupil. He lived nearby and I spent many hours talking to him and when I was 20, I became a Christian.”

Full Time Ministry

In 1975 Lawrence was awarded a four-year scholarship to attend a theological college.

 “I looked forward to entering the full-time ministry when I completed the course,” he says, “but life has a way of setting its own direction. When I graduated my father was not working and I had no option but to find a job, so I could support my parents.”

Starting at the bottom Lawrence Mabaso rose high in the corporate world, yet he never lost his desire to become a full time pastor. Nor did he lose his passion for helping those around him.

“I became something of a thorn in my employer’s flesh,” he says, “as I got involved with the trade union and ended up recruiting around 140 staff members.”

But rather than fire him, the insurance company realised that a man with his ability to influence people, was wasted in an administrative position.

“They figured I would be good at sales and I eventually became a Professional Consultant, selling pension schemes and insurance investments, to companies,” says Lawrence.

A few years later he was head-hunted by a large banking group and then later by another bank.

“I never stopped working as an Associate Pastor,” he says, “and still had an ever-increasing desire go into the ministry full-time. So, when the bank started a programme of retrenchments, I took a package and left.”  

It was then that Reverend Mabaso would be given the opportunity to fulfil his calling, when he was approached to manage Carryou Ministry. “This is the best job I have ever had,” he says. “Here I can make an enormous contribution to God’s work.

“When I see what we do in informal settlements, I know we are role models and could be changing kid’s lives in the same way Siza Molebatsi and Frank Chikane changed mine. And who knows what contribution those youngsters may make to our country in the future.”  

Reverend Lawrence Mabaso has made a huge impact on the community of Randfontein. Not only is he responsible for day to day operations, he has also played a big part in training the next generation of dedicated staff members.      

Things have been by no means easy for him at Carryou. Challenges seem to multiply as the years go by, but the immovable faith of Reverend Lawrence Mabaso has seen the staff through even the darkest periods. Married for 26 years, with two grown up children, he enjoys spending his free time with his family and reading business books.

Over the last 21 years Lawrence has witnessed the Elandsvlei and Toekomsrus Drop In centres distribute tons of food to needy families; seen Carryou Ministry sell cold drinks to thirsty attendees of the Randfontein Show and a small piece of vacant ground transformed into a successful farm that feeds the community.

Thousands of children have benefited in some way or another from the calm, gentle manner in which Reverend Lawrence Mabaso has managed Carryou Ministry and there can be no doubt this part of the world is undeniably a better place because of this quiet servant.

Lodrico’s Story

Can you help?

16 July 2021

Few people can succeed in life without help, and one young man who desperately needs some is Lodrico Tivani.

Lodrico and his three younger brothers are from Gaza province in Mozambique. His Mom came to Johannesburg in search of a better life for her family, but things have not been easy for them.

Yet, despite facing difficult circumstances, Lodrico still managed to complete high school and passed Matric in 2020. However, while his South African-born classmates went on to seek employment, Lodrico faces an almost impossible challenge.

Although he has completed his matric and passed his exams, the Department of Education refuses to issue his Matric certificate until he presents a valid South African study permit. It is the law, and something Lodrico will uphold one day when he becomes a policeman.

But for that to happen Lodrico needs help now!

Carryou Ministry has helped the Tivani family for years at the Elandsvlei Drop-in Centre, and assisted Lodrico in becoming the charming, thoughtful, young man he is today.

“What we need assistance with now, is organising a trip to Mozambique where Lodrico and an assistant from Carryou can collect all the documents he needs,” says Brenda Maholo Phiri, Elandsvlei Drop-in Centre Programme Manager. “It will be a lot of work, as we need to do get medical records, do DNA tests and sort out the multiple documents Lodrico needs to get a study permit so he can get his certificate.”

Adding to the difficulty of such a long and expensive journey is the Covid 19 pandemic. Not only has this slowed down all the bureaucratic processes that need completing, but in addition current Level 4 lockdown regulations prevent travel to and from Gauteng.

When travel is once again permitted, Brenda hopes that with some outside assistance, Lodrico and a Carryou helper can travel to Mozambique and get the situation sorted out.

“Our plan is to not only get documentation for Lodrico but also for his three brothers who are in Grade 9, Grade 7 and Grade 4,” says Brenda. “Carryou would like to spare them the ordeal of being faced with the same challenges as their older brother.”

When he has his Matric certificate Lodrico plans to further his studies and one day become a policeman so he can make a contribution to the community.

If you would like to help Lodrico and his brothers by making a donation towards the accommodation and travel expenses for this urgent trip to Mozambique, please contact
Brenda Maholo Phiri at 011 692 2729 or 073 330 6765 or send an email to elandsvleidic.manager@gmail.com

Vusela Risk Youth Learnership Programme

7 July 2021

On Youth day, 16 June this year, the Carryou Ministry Youth Learnership Programme was made public.

It all began in March this year when 24 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds were given the opportunity to be of service to their communities and at the same time, better their own situations.

The seeds of the learnership programme were sown several years ago, when one of Carryou’s beneficiaries managed to get a job at Vusela Risk Services. She remembered how Carryou had helped her while she was growing up, and approached her employers to start a learnership programme. They eagerly agreed to partner with Carryou Ministry.

“Each learner undergoes a week of training, every month at our facility in Toekomsrus, followed by three weeks of practical work, helping our caregivers” says Lesiba Mmethi, who helps oversee the project.

The students learn the basics of community care while completing their assignments and practical work. They see first-hand the needs of the vulnerable people in Randfontein. In addition, they learn how much a single, dedicated person can achieve and do to help. At the end of the 12-month programme students will be awarded an NQF Level 4 certificate

“I really hope the students will use this programme as a stepping stone towards a career in professional social work,” says Lesiba.

Not only do the delegates get an opportunity to learn and give back to their communities, they are also paid a R3000 per month stipend to help support themselves and their families.

“This is a new initiative and one I hope will continue for years to come, as it has already produced wonderful results,” says Lesiba. “All the stakeholders are very encouraged.”

And not even the raging Covid pandemic has been able to put a dampener on the programme.

“The students are hard at work,” says Lesiba. “Many will hopefully further their studies at Westcol, Randfontein’s local college. Carryou Ministry has a long history of securing bursaries and this learnership programme will encourage others to be of service and to further their studies.”

Adapting to the Covid Epidemic

7 July 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous global impact. All countries have suffered as a result of the virus.

But it is the poorer countries that have been faced with the biggest economic challenges – without the resources to inject cash into struggling sectors, problems that already existed before Covid, have worsened. This is something Carryou Ministry has experienced first-hand as they interact with the most vulnerable members of society on a daily basis. They get to know the needs and worries of the people who have so little in life.

The arrival of Covid has made it much more difficult to provide the same level of help and care that Carryou always did in pre-pandemic days. In practical terms the pandemic has had the following effects on the programmes run by Carryou Ministry:

  • At both the Elandsvlei and Toekomsrus facilities Carryou used to be able to distribute cooked meals for well over 300 families a month. Now they have to rely on monthly food parcel deliveries, but are only able to cater for 150 families a month due to the increased cost of packaged individual items. As such, it is often only every second month that a family can receive help.

  • Children are no longer allowed to come to the centre in large numbers and staff members have taken to visiting the children at their homes.

  • With staff numbers reduced for social distancing, less counselling aid is available. Staff members have been divided into two teams and take turns coming to work.

  • The Early Childhood Development (ECD) project is temporarily closed as Carryou cannot adhere to Covid-19 regulations due to lack of funding.

  • At the Vleikop farm most of the goods grown on the farm were sent to the feeding schemes, with these schemes suspended there is less demand for the food and less funding for growing new crops.

In spite of the challenges, the Carryou team remains hopeful and tries to maintain a positive attitude. Stephen Nqalkane, the farmer at Vleikop, summed it up best when he said: “When Spring comes and the rain falls we will have a much greener world”.

As South Africa battles through the third Covid wave things look bleak, but for the dedicated staff at Carryou Ministry, when the numbers drop, a green Spring is just around the corner. That’s when the hard work of helping the community can really get into gear.  

29 June 2021

Chicken manure and lime needed to feed hungry kids!

With so many children in the area going to bed hungry, Carryou Ministry was determined to do all it could to help the situation.

In 2015 the Vleikop Farm was established to provide home-grown food to the Carryou soup kitchens and feeding schemes.

After renting some land with a home on it, the Carryou team soon got to work. Tunnels were built and a wind-pump set up. Luckily Carryou had the perfect man to run the farm.

Stephen Nqalkane 62 is someone who is truly passionate about and who loves farming. Aged 55 at the time, Stephen had always wanted to get his hands into the soil. Over the last six years there have been many ups and downs but the Vleikop farm is definitely a success story.  But it has and a remains an uphill battle with constant challenges.

“We need wind to pump water, so when we don’t have it we have no water. Rain is always best as it helps reduce acidity in the soil. When we have good rains then all I have to worry about is the soil and weeds” says Stephen.

The soil in the area is very tired, after years of mining much of it is acidic and lacking in nutrients.

“ I desperately need to get chicken manure before the spring growing season. I also need lime to bring down the acidity.” says Stephen. “I can’t grow anything until the soil is ready, this is our main challenge.”

But as is the case with most NGOs money is a constant problem. “We just don’t have the cash to buy chicken manure and lime,” says Stephen.

Each new season requires an input of cash and labour, Stephen is always willing to supply the labour. By his own admission he loves farming and goes to bed every night tired, yet satisfied. “With a little bit of help so I can give the soil the nutrients it needs, we will be able to produce bumper crops to help the needy,” he says.

But despite the challenges the Carryou Ministry Vleikop farm has been a lifesaver for countless people over the years. “Spinach is the best crop to grow. Not only is it nutritious, but it grows all year round even in difficult soil,” Stephen says.

He also grows beetroot, carrots and other vegetables. In preceding years, the crops grown would go to the feeding scheme kitchens run by Carryou, but with the onset of Covid things have changed. People now get pre-packed food parcels as the kitchens are no longer able to cook meals due to social distancing measures.

 “I hope things improve and that I can help the community whilst doing what I love,” says Stephen.

It’s heavy work and finding volunteers is hard in these difficult times, but Stephen is full of hope. “You’d be amazed at how much we can produce in this tunnel. If the soil is right and the rains are good, we can feed many families.”

If you can help with chicken manure or lime, please contact our offices on 011 693 – 2729 or send a mail to lesibammethi@gmail.com

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.