Newsletters

March Newsletter 2015

Introduction

We are into the third month of the year and are experiencing new beginnings in many forms, including our new offices and new address (see the story below). Also on this theme, we are concluding a two year contract with the Office of the KZN Premier, which means that seven of our staff members will leave us in accordance with the terms of their employment contracts. I am sad about this and would like to thank them for their commitment and dedicated hard work over the past two years. This will also be a new beginning for them as they will find jobs at other NGOs. They were fresh from University when they started at Zimele in 2013 and we have built their capacity to be excellent facilitators, good in reporting and understanding community development – we have even built their driving skills – a vital skill to be employable! It is also a new beginning for the women in the various communities where Zimele’s programme has been rolled out as they will take on the role performed in the past by Zimele personnel. They will now be responsible for maintaining their groups and receiving support from Zimele at a distance and only on request.

In the light of shrinking donor funding, we are rethinking what we do, and oh boy, we are good at building self-reliance – it is what we have taught others to do since we started in 2007! If donor money permits, we will continue with our work in four or five districts. I also want Zimele to move from being dependent on donor funding to being a social service enterprise, earning part of our income. We will have our Social Investment Certificate soon and this will give us the opportunity to fundraise directly from South African businesses.

This month we begin work on contract by FinSavy, to provide training in financial literacy to more than 300 staff of a major manufacturing company in Durban. This new avenue is yet another new beginning…it is all very exciting and challenging for us all.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director

For further information visit the Zimele Website Continue reading

February Newsletter 2015

Introduction

In today’s world we are all on the go, rushing and busy all the time. This is true of our Zimele programme co-ordinators – and also our programme beneficiaries, who have developed their own capacity so efficiently that their time is now precious. We decided that we had to find a way to streamline our lives and plan how to operate cohesively so that we didn’t work against each other, trying to set up meetings with our beneficiaries in the rural areas at conflicting times, becoming an irritant rather than a helping hand. Accordingly, we arranged a workshop with a facilitator to show us all how to develop action plans and co-ordinate our movements so that we could work as an effective Zimele Community unit rather than disparate elements. We have also set up a regular weekly meeting to catch up with each other at the Zimele offices, and a longer get-together on a monthly basis. We hope this will go a long way to professionalising Zimele’s work processes and operational systems. I am so impressed with the enthusiastic ‘buy-in’ to this ‘upgrade’ of our systems from all our team members.
Read more here…

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director

For further information visit the Zimele Website Continue reading

January Newsletter 2015

Introduction

The previous year was a busy one. We saw the continued roll out of the Zimele programme across all eleven Districts of KwaZulu-Natal, and the formation of our first ever federation, the “Intuthuko yo Mama” Federation, that was celebrated on 29 August 2014 at Swayimane. Now, at the start of another year, the ninth since the founding of Zimele in 2007, we wonder what this exciting new year will hold for us. Challenges aplenty we are certain, and plenty of hard work. But as the saying goes, ‘the only time that success comes before work is in the dictionary’…wise words indeed! I look forward to witnessing the further triumphs of our empowered Zimele beneficiaries, and seeing what wonderful changes they can enact in their own lives and the lives of their communities. I also look forward to meeting and sharing the news about Zimele with you through this newsletter and on our website, but even better – in person, when you come to visit us. Our guests from overseas are always such an inspiration to us because they see what we do with fresh eyes and through their delight at what we are doing, they fire us up with fresh excitement. Wishing everyone in the Zimele Community family a happy, successful and positive 2015.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director

For more information visit the Zimele Website Continue reading

December Newsletter 2014

Introduction

The 2014 PACSA Food Price Barometer is a research document that makes terrifying reading. PACSA (Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action) reports on a society in crisis. It is against this backdrop that the work of Zimele takes place here in South Africa. The report states: “A significant number (45.2%) of our households are female-headed. Female-headed households are typically the most vulnerable sector of our society, women being the lowest paid and shouldering the highest burden of care. Almost half of all people of working age are unemployed, many having given up hope of ever finding a job.” It continues, “Food is not the first expense which households pay but typically one of the last because food is one of the few expenses which households are able to control. The 2014 PACSA Food Price Barometer has shown that as economic pressures increase on households and certain foods became unaffordable, households substitute those foods for cheaper products. These cheaper products have now become unaffordable leaving households with no further choices but hunger.” Please read this document, it will open your eyes to how our country’s impoverished communities simply cannot survive without assistance, as we enter this time of feasting and plenty…PACSA document.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director

For further information visit the Zimele Website Continue reading

November Newsletter 2014

Welcome to our November issue: it has been a year since we launched our first newsletter and we are delighted in the way that it has become a mouthpiece for Zimele and an invaluable medium to update you on what we are doing. In October’s issue, I described the Donate a Doll campaign which was so successful last year, with over 300 dolls being made and donated to vulnerable children. These toys give children something to love and are usually their first ever gift and personal item of value. As of yet I have not received any responses from South African donors and would urge them to take part in this innovative and heart-warming campaign. However, there is so far a single request for 70 dolls which has just been received from a visitor, Scott Haumersen (Wegner CPAs) from the USA who had come to see what we do. People have said how this is such a good idea but so far there is very little enthusiasm for this wonderful project. I am sincerely hoping that this is simply because people are overloaded with demands on their time and energy. Please, please, help us to help these little ones. Tell others and spread the word, because by working together we can transform the lives of these children for the better, as well as generating income for the crafters who make the dolls. It really takes so little from us….For details, please contact me at director@zimelecommunity.co.za

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

October Newsletter 2014

This month is the start of the countdown to Christmas, which is just a few months away: a frightening thought that another year has almost gone by in a flurry of activity! With Christmas in mind, I would like to launch our heartwarming Donate a Doll project for 2014. We started this campaign last year, whereby our crafters sew beautiful dolls (complete with dresses and ‘bloomers’ and earrings for the ladies, and dapper shorts and shirts for the male dolls). These dolls are then bought by our donors, who donate them to orphaned boys and girls in child-headed households across our KwaZulu-Natal province. Finally, a portion of the donor’s funds are allocated to Zimele’s Orphan Children’s Education Fund to go towards the cost of school uniforms for needy children. Most of these children have never received a gift and they seldom have any toys, let alone a special doll that looks like them that they can take everywhere and cherish as their own. To date we have proudly seen 300 of these dolls being made and shared with our children – please help us to share the gift of a doll with many more children this year. Perhaps spread the news and maximise your impact by asking your local churches, schools, families and friends, reading groups and book clubs etc to become involved. For details, please contact me at director@zimelecommunity.co.za.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

September Newsletter 2014

To me, heritage and culture are closely interwoven concepts, so when we South Africans celebrate Heritage Day on 24 September, I would like everyone involved with Zimele to perhaps take a minute or two to think about the diversity of cultures that surround us, no matter where in the world we are, and how much we can learn from our interaction with each other. For me, since establishing Zimele in 2007, I have treasured the opportunity my work presents for me to meet and connect with so many women of a totally different culture and way of life. I no longer take for granted my electricity supply, my indoor plumbing and hot and cold water, the tarred roads and streetlights outside my home. These are luxuries that most of the Zimele beneficiaries can only dream of. I have learned, through knowing these women, how to be tolerant, to be patient, to treat anyone and everyone with respect and dignity, no matter where they come from, who they are or how they look. This something I have learned from these women of Africa, and it is a lesson we should all learn. Most important of all, I have learned how to listen, how to hold my tongue and actually listen, without always having to have my opinions or thoughts vocalised and valued by others. So while we are acknowledging the cultural diversity and heritage of our country, let us also consider the positive impact we can have on each other, as we are all united in our diversity through our shared humanity.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

August Newsletter 2014

Introduction

On 9 August it is national Women’s Day in South Africa. Rather than being a general acknowledgement of women, this annual public holiday celebrates a specific groundbreaking event in our country’s history. On this day in 1956, thousands of women of all races marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to have their voices heard. Although neither the Prime Minister (JG Strijdom) nor any of his senior staff were there, the women left piles of petitions for their attention. After standing in silence for thirty minutes, the women sang a prayer, ‘Nkosi sikeleli Afrika’ (now our national anthem), and then peacefully dispersed. This mass march proved once and for all that women were capable of arranging a significant political event to ensure that their shared voices would be heard, and that it could be managed with respect and dignity and without violence. It is this quiet yet forceful passion that makes women such a powerful means of change, and especially change for good. It is this energy that we harness when we work with the women of KwaZulu-Natal to transform their lives, and in so doing, transform their communities.

On 29 August 2014, the women of the Self Help Groups of Swayimane will yet again celebrate a groundbreaking event in our country’s history, and that is the official launch of the first Federation of the Self Help Groups in South Africa. This time, it is not a petition for political rights, but a female celebration of understanding and exercising their individual rights. The similarity between the two occasions is the forceful passion of women who want a better life for themselves, their families and their communities. On 29 August, the Self Help Group members in Swayimane will present to Government and other stakeholders their community outreach programmes that focus on health, education, the youth and the elderly. Over the past seven years, the Zimele team has built the capacity of these women to be the agents of change in their own community. All glory to God for guiding us and providing the resources we needed through our partners, donors and volunteers.
Read more about the Women’s Day March here

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

July Newsletter 2014

Introduction

“As a society, we cannot afford to postpone investing in children until they become adults, nor can we wait until they reach school age – a time when it may be too late to intervene. The best evidence supports the policy prescription: invest in the very young and improve basic learning and socialisation skills.” James J. Heckman

“The basic principles of neuroscience indicate that providing supportive conditions for early childhood development is more effective and less costly than attempting to address the consequences of early adversity later.” Jack P. Shonkoff

The most special part of the work that we do must surely be the way that we improve life for the wider communities of KwaZulu-Natal, and especially the most vulnerable of those who live in the towns and villages where we work. Making life better for the youngest residents, the tiny children, is probably one of our most rewarding roles. These children often have mothers who are deceased or away working (or studying), and live with their gogos (grandmothers) or family friends or relatives. These little ones have few if any toys and hardly any stimulation. Many of their care-givers are illiterate and unable to teach even basic reading/learning skills. For these children, our next generation, our beneficiaries have started to create pre-schools and crèches where they are receiving constant informed care and stimulation. We are also training people about ECD or Early Child Development, with some teachers receiving additional training, working towards achieving Further Education and Training Certificates in Early Child Development (level 4). We are proud that twelve crèches in Swayimane have been established, as well as two libraries for pre-school children in Mtubatuba and Swayimane, where the book library is combined with a traveling toy library. Both will benefit pre-schools under Cluster management. Our partners in this wonderful programme are Dorothy Kennett from the USA and her Books for Africa project, and the Rotary Club of Pietermaritzburg. This is leaving a living legacy that will change young lives in ways we can only dream of at this stage.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

June 2014 Newsletter

Introduction

I would like to say a very sincere thank you to everyone who is part of Zimele’s success: our wonderful team, who work so hard, with such passion and dedication; our donors from around the world, who somehow manage to find time in their busy lives to share in our vision and even sometimes travel to our country to see our work in action; a thank you too to the women who are the beneficiaries of Zimele’s various programmes. You might ask why I feel a need to say thank you to people whose lives are being transformed through our efforts, but where would we be if it wasn’t for their trust, their willingness to take a leap of faith and start saving their precious Rands and cents and join with other women in a Self Help Group? I had no idea how my initial concept would grow when I started Zimele in 2007. Now, seven years later, I am amazed at how far we have all come. It is as if we have been guided along our path, as if God has been leading us and preparing our path, opening doors for us so that all we have to do is focus on our work: the opportunities and contacts that will make things happen come right to our door. Sometimes we are not aware that what is brought our way is what we need, but once some time has passed we realise that it was perfect for us. We should embrace our lives with faith and joyous confidence, knowing that we are not walking our route alone.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

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