Changing the World One Day at a Time
It has already been two months since the Vodacom Change the World volunteers took up their various positions within their host organisations and all have been hard at work fulfilling the specific objectives which they undertook to deliver during the six-month programme. Here's what they've been up to:
Fiona Budd, fundraiser and marketer at the Sandton SPCA, has had a hectic few weeks formulating and fine-tuning her plans to raise money for the NGO. Under the watchful gaze of a three legged cat called Survivor and a Fox Terrier named Vicky, she has been writing proposals, arranging meetings with potential sponsors, working her marketing magic and setting her plans in motion. To date she has successfully launched SPCA Sandton's blanket appeal along with the Leave Your Paw Print campaign. She also has a number of fundraising events in the pipeline including the premiere of the Jock of the Bushveld movie, a golf day and spring celebrity fundraiser. On top all this she writes regular tweets and Facebook updates about animals that are adopted from and helped by the SPCA.
Funeka Mani, on top of studying and completing assignments toward her diploma in Management Information Systems, has been kept very busy in her role as social worker at SANCA Lowveld. She has been facilitating the host organisation's Children against Drug Abuse (CADA) programme at schools in the area and providing counselling to children infected or affected by social ills such as HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and abuse. In addition to this, she has been setting up a holiday programme to complement SANCA's Teenagers against Drug Abuse programme. If that weren't enough, she has also kicked off another project which will enable 20 needy children to get winter school uniforms.
During his time at Ikamva Labantu retired medical doctor Keith Wimble has been providing healthcare services to the community of Khayelitsha as well as to 1 400 children that the host organisation takes care of. He has also been educating community members about specific healthcare issues, inspecting various facilities, delivering presentations, training staff at the NGO's partner organisations and meeting and forming relationships with healthcare portfolio holders in local government. In addition, he has been helping to get Ikamva Labantu's newly launched Wellness Centre up and running.
Sithabile Mazibuko, with her background in education and dedication to creating awareness around children's rights, has taken up the position of Remedial Educator at the East London Child and Youth Care Centre (ELCYCC). Her first port of call at the Centre was to assess all of the children from grade R to grade 9 to identify learning problems and she began working with teachers to develop programmes that can be used to address these problems. She has also been heavily involved in training the Centre's Child and Youth-care workers on remedial intervention and participating in staff development programmes so that by the time her six month stay comes to an end, she will leave behind a working programme that will benefit future children and young people. Not only is she helping the children and workers at the Centre, but also other children with learning problems in the area through a remedial programme offered by the ELCYCC. These schools have a problem attending to individual learners who have learning problems because of the teacher-pupil ratio and the intense work load they have.
It has been a month of miracles for Santie Kotze and her NGO Opkyk Pathways Therapy and Educational Centre. Two of the facility's patients - an eight year old autistic child named Simo and a 19 year old with Angelman syndrome called Dirco - uttered their first words ever. Also, Kevin, a six year old boy from the community with no expressive speech, who was identified as a result of the Change the World programme began communicating after his second week of therapy at the Centre. Santie has been occupying her time by helping the Centre's children to become more independent through teaching them life skills, creating and handing over communication books to two deaf-mute members of the community and teaching children at the Lagai Roi Nursery and Pre School to use Augmentative and Alternative Communication picture cards.
Julie Hay has had her hands full teaching children AND their teachers at the 1 000 Hills Community Helpers Centre. Over 100 young victims of HIV/Aids, attend the school where they are taught by members of the community who have not had any formal teacher training. Julie has made it her mission to improve the teachers' skills and has already put a number of programmes into practice. She has also shown them how to create educational toys from waste materials. She has also been instrumental in the NGO‘s Winter Warmth campaign and has been appealing for donations of clothing for all at the centre from new born to ninety.
Elna Latchman has a number of ambitious marketing and fundraising plans up her sleeve for the Sizanani Children's Home. In addition to devising a marketing campaign which includes a TV, print and radio commercial and compiling, a quarterly newsletter that will be sent to all donors and planning fundraising events, she has secured sponsorships with the Johannesburg Zoo, the Civic Theatre and Ster Kinekor for entertaining outings for the Home's children. She has been meeting with other NGOs, the SABC, government departments and potential sponsors to discuss an upcoming event which will see many homes that care for disabled people coming together to create awareness about people with disabilities in South Africa.
In the short time she has been with the Waterberg Welfare Society (WWS), Yvonne Eskell Klagsbrun has met with all the team leaders of the host organisation, in order to better understand their needs so that she could formulate her fundraising strategy for the next three years. In just a few days she was able to develop an achievable plan; elements of which she has already begun kicking off. To date she has secured a meeting for WWS staff with the Project Manager of Feed the Minds in the UK and submitted a proposal to the Foundation of Human Rights for a community outreach programme in the township of Leseding. Here the youth will be entertained and educated about HIV/Aids, sex, life skills and their rights as orphans and vulnerable children. She is also looking at ways in which to get the necessary funding to grow the WWS' recording studio and get the right equipment so that it can eventually be developed into a radio station. Yvonne has, together with the South African Lacrosse Project - a non-profit organisation that coordinates the lacrosse programme for at-risk youth and orphans at WWS, been organising a sports event scheduled for 8 July. In between all of this she finds time for finalising and writing proposals and reports, meeting with the team and staff and setting up meetings with potential donors.
Hendrien de Klerk hit the ground running in her role as Volunteer Co-ordinator at Free State Care in Action, visiting and assessing the NGO's many volunteer driven projects spread throughout the Free State and providing training at several of these. She even made history for the NGO by helping to roll out a training program for the more than 1 200 volunteers in the Free State. The significance of this is obvious when one takes into consideration that these 1 200 volunteers are involved with 27 000 people in need throughout the Free State. No matter where her work has taken her within the province, Hendrien is constantly astounded by the good work that the volunteers do.
Matome Mahasha has achieved much in his role as Social Development Coordinator at Business against Crime Northern Cape (formerly known as the Committee for Crime Prevention Northern Cape). Over the past month he has been busy redesigning the NGO's website, devising a Staff Development Programme, helping to collect blankets and warm clothing for street children, assisting in returning these children to their homes and many other activities. He was also heavily involved in organising a soccer tournament, the launch of Business against Crime Northern Cape to the media and the Painting Kimberley Red campaign.
"Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Matome is unable to complete his six month contract and has resigned with effect from the end of June," says Vodacom Executive Director: CSI, Mthobi Tyamzashe. "We, in conjunction with the host organisation, will begin, with urgency, the process of seeking a replacement to further his work."
"Overall, we are very proud of the work done so far by the volunteers. We are certain that if they continue with the same enthusiasm, they will succeed in achieving their goals and inspire others to realise their dreams of making a difference. After all, the whole point of the Change the World initiative is to support the NGO movement with much-needed skills that could otherwise have cost the host organisations a lot of money," concludes Tyamzashe.
The volunteers are keeping the world up to date on their progress and experiences via laptops, mobile phones and pre-paid call time that have been donated by Vodacom. Please visit http://changetheworld.vodacom.co.za/ or www.facebook.com/vodacomchangetheworld to track their progress.
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