2011 Izulu Orphan Projects Christmas Party - Get Involved!
With 38 days to go, I really need to get this letter to all of you. It amazes me how nervous I get every year before I send this email, this is such a commitment that is completely out of my hands. But this will be our 10th party and every year it just keeps getting better and better, and no doubt bigger too! This year we will be catering for 3 000 orphans and carers. I can't believe it myself!
Our numbers at the beginning of the year increased to 512 orphaned families that we support. And this Christmas party is the absolute highlight for these children, and for everyone else involved! What amazes me the most is that all we have right now is 100 small soft toy zebras, which were donated this last weekend from the 2003 Cricket World Cup souvenirs that never sold. And I know by the time of the party, everything always comes together so perfectly. I really want to thank all of you for the life-giving support over the years as there is no ways any of this incredible work could happen without you.
Our party, or parties I should say, will happen over 3 days this year to properly cater for everyone. We will be having 1 000 orphans and carers each day. Over the years we have learnt how to get the most out of these events as it is the time when we really get to see all the children. The main thing we use this party for is to collect all the orphans school reports, that is their ticket to enter the party, and to update all their school information for 2012. There is a big registration process and big admin teams running in the background of the party. There are also food teams, party pack teams, and the super lucky teams that get to hand out the presents to the children! This gives you a good idea of the organization and help that needs to go into these special events. The biggest request that I have is for volunteers on the days.
The more hands we have, the more organized and fun it is for everyone.
This is our one and only fundraiser of the year. There is no other time during the year in-between building orphans houses, getting the orphans into schools and educated, running food programs and building vegetable gardens to spend time raising funds. I use to do it while Chadd was alive but now there is really is just no time. We have survived purely on the kindness of people hearing about us and helping completely out of the kindness of their hearts. I am so eternally grateful! The way people have encouraged us over the last two years has been litterally life-changing for thousands. With the funds left over from the party, we use to buy the uniforms for our orphans at the beginning of the school year, who would otherwise not be going to school. At the beginning of this year we bought uniforms for 472 orphans totaling R160 000.
Our party will be held on the 16th, 17th and 18th of December, a thousand each day. It is a bit later this year but it works well falling on the public holiday and weekend. We have loads of beds here and volunteers are welcomed to stay over. We end up braai-ing, barbecuing, in the evenings and it is very festive as we sort out presents and discuss each days highlights. And I must also mention having to make 6000 hotdogs!
We use the same format every year as it works well:
As i said, we we only have 100 Soft toys and we like to give each child a gift, the only one most of them get the whole year:
|1 - 6||100||100|
|7 - 14||600||600|
Over the last 3 years we have been able to spoil the wonderful grandmothers with a gift. When they get these they act even more delighted then the children as they dance around with thanks :-). We have about 550 carers that we would like to spoil.
We have also learnt to do food packs as they are easier to hand out to the thousands. In it we put 2 hot dogs, a juice and a party pack.
Wow, I'm still a bit nervous. This is such a huge event and there are so few of us here. We really need one and all to come to the party :-) Every one of you makes a huge difference. I have also learnt to save time to include our banking details, thank-you so much:
If anyone has any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me on 083 649 9990. My mother is in Durban and will collect and store anything for me. Her name is Heather and her number is 031-207 4958 or 082 779 3443, thanks mom :-).
From myself and my whole team we want to wish you an amazingly blessed Christmas. Take time to relax and enjoy your families. Every moment we have is precious so make the most of it.
Hello everyone I have heard from many that I should let you all know what his happening on our side. This year has been so incredibly exciting so far. I want to keep this brief as there is a lot to tell you. Firstly, our numbers increased in January to 1222 orphans in 511 homesteads. In December 2010, we ended up having 2200 orphans and carers at our Annual Christmas Party. As always it was such an incredible success and what a wonderful time was had by all involved.
With the left over funds raised we were able to buy uniforms for 469 of our most desperate orphans. Thanks so much to all involved. To let you know in advance, so you can start planning and diarising as you know how much we need all of you, this year’s much anticipated Christmas party will be held over 3 days, namely the 16th, 17th and 18th of December. We will be catering for 3000 in all, 1000 each day. 3000 presents & 6000 hotdogs… HELP!!!! J Now, to this year, Shelley, Chadd’s mom, has joined me fulltime and the extra help has been incredible. She brings with her years of invaluable experience of working with children. Shelley is getting into the 37 rural crèches, primary & high schools that we deal with. It has been on our hearts to build a Early Childhood Development Program as this is such desperate need so we have started putting Jungle Gyms into as many schools as possible. We have completed 3 this year so far. Shelley is training the pre-primary teachers how to teach the children with items found lying around. We know that to make a real difference long term we have to get into the education system and start changing things from there.
The Community Works Program, CWP, that we run has made the world of difference. For those that don’t know, we run this program for COGTA (Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs) through the Zululand Centre for Sustainable Development, where we create employment for the poorest of the poor within our rural communities. Just before Chadd passed at the end of 2009, we had 330 families of which less than 10% had any kind of employment, mainly farm labourers, domestic maids and security guards. Because of CWP, we now have 1000 employees of which most are the carers and orphans who have finished school from our families. We are doing so many different projects as with the CWP, we are able to send some of our adults on training. We have built a blockyard where we are making blocks to build huts for our orphans. This is so exciting as most of our families homes are falling down.
Thanks to the CWP, my office staff has increased. My office staff has increased from just 3 of us at the end of 2009 to now 15! Because of this, we are running projects like building community gardens with irrigation schemes and homestead vegetable gardens using the method of ‘Farming God’s way’, sunflowers for pressing for sunflower oil and caregivers to help those very old grandmothers with young orphans, grandmothers that have had strokes and really sick HIV positive widows with children.
We have been able to branch out to helping the disabled around us too. There is a disabled institute called Jabulani that was left to ruin which we have been fixing up. We have built new water tanks for them, fixed plumbing, painted their buildings, built vegetable gardens and are teaching them how to sew. They use to be the best place in Zululand to buy crafts so we are getting their leatherwork up and running again as they have this amazing shop that has been empty and locked up for the last 8 years.
One of our most exciting projects is run with Bethel Health Builders, American doctors Rick and Anita Gutierrez. They have trained nearly 50 of our workers to be Health Builders who go around the community, from hut to hut, testing and educating on HIV/Aids, Blood Pressure and Diabetes. This is the only HIV education being given and this is the only side of things that will make a definite change to the rate at which people are dying around us causing the ever number of increasing orphans! Our Health Builders are completely mobile setting up little tents as testing stations, anywhere and everywhere, which creates complete privacy.
Thanks to Spar Group, Msizi Africa and Empangeni Milling, we are feeding 600 orphans, 210 families a month. We hand out monthly food parcels starting with our most desperate families based on our categorising system.
And most importantly, our monthly church services are going well. These are such a great time of thanks and celebration. We have also being doing outreaches into the communities with our very own, just like Angus Buchanan, Dave Meintjes. We love you Dave J.
I would really like to thank our faithful donors who support us regularly as without you we would not be able to survive and press on in the work we do in changing the lives of thousands of the poorest people in South Africa: Msizi Africa, Spar Group, Round Table, Tangawizi Motors, Container Ministries, Mr and Mrs W Bohm, Mr Brian Lane, Mathew Brayshaw, Victory Family Church, Christian Family Church Empangeni, Mr & Mrs Hemsworth, Horizon International, Barbara & Craig, Justine Stoop, Mr C Smit, Mr & Mrs Isaiah58, Mrs Adcock, Tim and Zululand Vet. If I have left anyone out, please know how absolutely eternally grateful we are. We are going ahead with our Crisis Support Centres of which we have secured 2 out of our 5 proposed sites. We have started our Ngqamuzane Site and thanks to Round Table and the Master Builders Association, we are hoping to have most of it up by the end of the year. Check out Kate's speech on YouTube to find out more.
Since Chadd has passed, I have been told time and again that the work we are doing here is both unique and at the cutting edge of technology using our orphan family categorising and GPSing system which we have built over the last 9 years. This causes us to help so many thousands with so few of us, both effectively and economically. I am now working towards establishing this system so that others can start replicating this work to try and get on top of this pandemic orphan crisis both in South Africa and throughout Africa. God is so good. Thanks so much to all of you for your time, prayer and support.
The staff of First National Bank in Douglas Saunders Drive, La-Lucia Ridge had an indoor cricket day and raised us R30 000! With this money, they purchased nearly 500 pairs of desperately needed school shoes. We have not been able to buy school shoes this year so many have been going barefoot the whole year so these shoes are more precious to our orphans than gold! FNB have made such a fantastic effort. Our orphans are so grateful! We also received 500 toothbrushes from Colgate that we were able to hand out at the same time as the shoes. We are truly blown away how people are going out for their way to help our children. We find this so encouraging as our orphans are really starting to feel spoilt and that there really are people who care. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for making our work that much easier and rewarding.