Category Archives: Orphans

Update on care for the needy in the Waterberg, South Africa

Sister Grace monitoring the development of a baby

The Board of The Waterberg Trust met this week to review projects being supported in the Waterberg region of South Africa.

One of the Trustees, who had just returned from a visit, was able to report that Sister Grace has been busy looking after people’s health and welfare in schools and the wider community. One of her objectives is to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, which take girls out of school and entrench poverty.

The Knitting Club have been busy producing the most beautiful blankets, hats and shawls, providing comfort for the very young and very old in the Waterberg. Sister Grace distributes these while making home visits when she can check that patients are taking their medication and have enough to eat.

Care for the elderly

Thanks to our supporters’ kind donations, The Waterberg Trust continues to work in partnership with St John’s Church ‘Acts of Mercy’ initiative to help those in need through the pandemic.

Sister Grace distributing hand-knitted blankets

Volunteers help purchase and pack food parcels for about fifty individuals within family groups.

Food parcels donated to the needy in the Waterberg

These are collected from outside the local super market by friends or relatives of the needy. Local farmers donate food.

Food for the school nutrition project is being supplemented with vegetables grown in school veggie gardens by the Environmental Clubs.

Food parcels being collected

TWT has set up a ‘Dignity Dreams Club’ to raise funds to purchase eco-packs of washable sanitary pads for every girl entering secondary education. This is an important, low-cost initiative that gives girls confidence and means they do not miss lessons. Some were taking absence from school for five days a month.

Sister Grace explains how to care for washable sanitary pads.

The pads come with a book for teachers and are distributed with a structured sex-education talk about puberty. TWT is aiming to provide 400 packs a year at a cost of £15 each. The pads are carefully made by Dignity Dreams, a non-profit organization in Pretoria who provide work for the disadvantaged. They last four years. If you would like to help by making a small donation, please click here

For a full list of projects supported by TWT, please click here.

Handmade blanket and hat

Acts of Mercy bearing fruit in the Waterberg

Sister Grace revisited existing beneficiaries this September and October, identifying those needing help and support in the Waterberg region.

OUR FORMER PATIENT THANKED THOSE WHO HELPED HIM OFF THE STREETS AND SENT HIM TO HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT. THERE’S A GREAT IMPROVEMENT! HE IS NOW STABLE AND BACK AT WORK. SISTER GRACE MONITORS HIS ADHERENCE AND PROVIDES ONGOING COUNSELING.

A total of 50 beneficiaries received food parcels this month. Sister Grace says, “I make sure there’s no overcrowding at the supermarket as per Covid-19 regulations.”

VOLUNTEERS HELP TO PACK FOOD PARCELS

Some beneficiaries send family members or friends to collect food parcels on their behalf.

 FOOD PARCELS BEING PURCHASED AND PACKED AT A LOCAL SUPERMARKET

PROGRESS: Good relationships with stakeholders such as the South African Police, the local Government Clinic and the Department of Social Development, enable members of the community to be referred effectively and receive the help they need. It’s good to receive timely feedback after interventions so progress can be monitored.

A HOMELESS MAN BEING PROVIDED WITH CLOTHES AND FOOD ON DAILY BASIS. POLICE WERE INFORMED AND THEY TOOK HIM TO THE HOSPITAL FOR MENTAL ASSESSMENT

Some families received food parcels from political leaders during campaign events. Others were promised employment and short term contracts in areas such as road maintenance. This will ensure many families have an income to provide for their families.

School meals

Many learners have access to daily meals at various schools and are occupied with their studies.

Food parcels for the needy in the Waterberg in October 2021

Sister Grace says, “As lockdown restrictions have been reduced, many people are back at work.” However, there is still need in the community. She has been using ‘Acts of Mercy’ funds to help a number of teenage orphans who are in school:

TEENAGE MUM WITH A MONTH OLD BABY RECEIVED FOOD PARCEL AND WASHING POWDER. AN ORPHAN, SHE LIVES WITH HER ELDERLY GRANNY
School shoes and a belt
ORPHANED LEARNER RECEIVED PAIR OF SOCKS AND SHIRT FOR SCHOOL

PROGRESS:

  • Job opportunities are being offered for longer periods.
  • Some community members were offered free skills development in hairdressing so that they can find employment or run their own hair salons
  • Teenage girls from surrounding Schools were blessed with disposable sanitary pads donated by Horizon Horseback clients who also gave R500 cash towards Acts of Mercy.
PADS DONATED BY HORIZON HORSEBACK CLIENTS WERE DISTRIBUTED TO 150 GIRLS

The Waterberg Trust is raising funds to equip all schoolgirls in the Waterberg with sustainable eco-sanitary pads, as you can read here, but these disposables are a welcome stop-gap.

Even the smallest gift will help Sister Grace continue her work helping the needy in the Waterberg. If you would like to make a donation, please click here for contact details. Funds are very carefully spent and are hugely appreciated.

FOOD PURCHASED FOR THE NEEDY IN SEPTEMBER 2021

                

Can you join the Dignity Dreams Club?

School nurse Sister Grace distributing packs of Dignity Dreams washable sanitary pads for schoolgirls

Could you change a schoolgirl’s future?

Did you know that the majority of secondary school girls in the Waterberg can miss a week’s education every month? Can you imagine what this means to their future life chances?

The reason? They lack sanitary protection. You can change this. For just £15 a girl will receive 6 re-suable Dignitary Dreams sanitary pads with two pairs of pants that will last them for 5 years. This is an educational  game-changer, ending shame and improving self-esteem for vulnerable teenagers.

It’s simple, it makes an immediate difference, and has a lifelong benefit.

Can you help?

The Waterberg Trust aims to provide all girls in secondary schools of the Waterberg with an eco-friendly pack of Dignity Dreams reusable sanitary protection.

Please join the Dignity Dreams Club and commit to an annual donation of £15 (or more) in order to provide a girl with sanitary protection.

Click here for our page on ways of making a donation

Sister Grace using a book on how to use the pads

Students are given a talk on puberty and how to use the pads before they are distributed. It is a good opportunity for them to ask questions and learn how to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

The NGO Dignity Dreams issue a book for teachers to use, helping them to give engaging talks on puberty and the female reproductive system in line with the curriculum. There is also an instruction leaflet in in pack.

The book commissioned by Dignity Dreams for teachers to use when distributing the pads

There are six pads in each pack, designed for washing with Sunlight soap in cold water, rinsed in salty water and dried in hot sun. They are made by outworkers for Dignity Dreams, which is a not-for-profit employment scheme running in Pretoria. In effect, you’d be supporting two charities at once.

Sister Grace showing pupils how the washable pads work

The girls like the design of the pink and green stripped underpants that come in the packs. One pad is equivalent to 144 disposable pads. They say they are both helpful and durable.

Another class of secondary schoolgirls received a pack of re-useable pads

The Waterberg Trust first distributed Dignity Dreams pads in January 2019 thanks to sponsorship from TWT donors and Environmental Impact Management Services who kindly brought a speaker up from Pretoria. You can read about how we equipped 210 girls here.

Speaker Verita Shikwambana from Dignity Dreams

Secondary schools in the Waterberg have an annual intake of 460 girls. This year, we have managed to equip 145 girls entering one of the schools. We need another 315 packs as soon as possible. If you could help with a few it would be hugely appreciated. The girls and their parents are truly grateful.

The total number of girls in the secondary schools of the Waterberg is 948. To help them all we need to purchase another 593 pads. At a cost of £15 for a pack (+courier charges) our aim is to raise £8,895 for this project.

A note of thanks from one of the students

Food parcel distribution continues as the Delta variant keeps the Waterberg in Lockdown

Preparing food parcels for seventy-four needy people in the Waterberg

Sister Grace reports, ‘It has been a challenging time.’ Tighter Lockdown regulations were imposed on South Africa in June 2021 to reduce the risk of Corvid 19 spreading, however the vulnerable and terminally ill continue to need special care and support.

You can watch President Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on 15th June 221 here:

CHALLENGES encountered in Vaalwater in July 2021:

  • Our Community has seen an increase in substance and drug addiction amongst the youth. Boys below the age of 20 have been found injecting drugs using the same syringe and needles. They looked violent. (The Police were informed and are currently monitoring the situation)
  • Increase in community theft has been reported
  • Some children have never been to school and keep wandering around, begging money.
Sister Grace is supporting chronically ill patients by collecting their medication from the local government clinic, providing homebased care and ongoing adherence counselling.
  • Essential food supplies prices went up in July due to violent attacks in some parts of South Africa, which resulted in stock shortages.
  • Some beneficiaries have become dependent on receiving food parcels and do not want to work nor do piece jobs to earn income
  • Gender based violence occurs in some families due to lack of income and employment
  • Orphaned children lack parental care and support
  • Social gatherings and alcohol sales continue without adhering to Corvid 19 protocols

Providing essentials for a teenage mother who had just had a cesarean section

Sister Grace has been able to visit the needy and supply relevant needs.

PROGRESS:

  • Some members of the community have been offered short-term employment within the town and surrounding lodges
  • School children are back at school and able to access meals from the feeding scheme program
  • The Social Relief Grant has been extended to help the unemployed to provide for their families
  • The Department of Social Development continues to provide food parcels to those registered in their system.
Providing baby clothes for a schoolgirl expecting a baby

The Waterberg Trust aims to fill the gap by helping vulnerable people without papers who Social Services can not help.

Sister Grace helping an unschooled boy who is sent out to beg

Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust reports that, ‘Substance abuse is becoming a serious problem. We will have to work on a local solution, but that is easier said than done!’


The knitting Club is busy knitting blankets, shawls and jerseys, donated to those in need. The granny who received this shawl is 101 years old.

There are many different ways in which you could help or become involved. If you would like to find out how you can make a donation to The Waterberg Trust, please click here

Some families come to collect food parcels. Volunteers dropped off others

We will continue to provide food parcels and donated items to those in need, conducting routine assessments, home visits and health education. 

Sister Grace works with the local clinic, the South African Police, Social Development, local churches and community leaders to ensure TWT is well informed and the needy can access support.

A beneficiary collecting her food parcel from outside the supper market

SUPPORTING LETHABO KID’S CLUB 2015-2021

Lethabo Kid’s Club – a place of fun, food and life lessons has been closed due to Covid Lockdown. They usually come running every Wednesday – 300 to 700 children each week.  It is their special day where they know they ‘belong’. Lethabo means ‘happiness’.

The Waterberg Trust has been supporting Lethabo Kid’s Club’s ‘Back to School’ project since 2015. The aim is to ensure every child is registered to go to school at the beginning of the school year in January by whipping up enthusiasm and ensuring they are equipped with school uniform.

The foundation also aims to:

  1. Teach the children about Jesus, and that He loves them
  2. Provide good nourishing food to supplement sometimes meager diets.

Exciting Bible Stories that teach ‘Jesus loves you’ and life lessons are taught by the older youth and young adults.

Yummy peanut butter and jam sandwiches and fresh farm milk satisfy their hungry tummies. Many may not have had anything to eat all day and this is after school. Eager hands and anxious faces reach out for food.

Special days during the year are ‘Sausage Roll Day’ where each child gets his own sausage roll, yogurt and cool drink. These are lovingly prepared by the local Academy who love participating in this gift to the children. At Christmastime, we give each child a t-shirt, bright and colorful with a special logo on it, such as, “Jesus loves you”, “My best friend is Jesus”, and “Jesus is my Good Shepherd” Psalm 23, and a little lamb. All year, we see older and new t-shirts around the community and at Kid’s Club.

Our biggest project the past few years has been buying school clothes. With so many children in need, we specify ‘one’ thing each – most need shoes or a new school bag. This is so important to them as they are often mocked by other children if their shoes are broken or their shirts are too small or torn. If we determine that a child has a greater need, we buy the whole kit for him. This huge project is sponsored by The Waterberg Trust (TWT) with much love.

Hard-wearing school shoes costing under £10 a pair

Assisting high school matriculants with tertiary studies is a natural outgrowth of Kid’s Club.  Most of these students have grown up in Lethabo Kid’s Club and now are looking forward to getting their futures established. Our organization for this is The Kholofelo Association, ‘Giving Hope to Youth” –  a registered NPO in South Africa. Students are assisted with school fees, accommodation, food and transport where necessary. We’re seeing wonderful growth in them as young adults studying diligently and preparing for jobs as chefs, in tourism, electrical engineering, child care, office management and IT studies. While their courses are not on a university level, they do give a ‘step up’ in qualifying for a job. With only a High School Matric and no experience, they otherwise find themselves without hope.

We’ve spent more than 20 years giving and loving children and youth! Now we see many as young adults with jobs. They always come back to their ‘roots’ at Lethabo Kid’s Club. There is still that sense of ‘belonging’.

We are confident that the children and youth are being taught life lessons which will stay with them all their lives. Will you join us in changing lives! There are a number of different ways you can donate here

News on Food Parcel Distribution in the Waterberg for families in need

Thirty families in need of support in the Waterberg are being visited to ensure they have enough food and essential supplies. Education on basic hygiene measures is also offered. We are helping two child-headed families, some who are chronically ill, a man badly bitten by a dog, women with small children left with no means of support, an old woman with no ID card and many other needy cases.

120 individuals benefited in November and 94 in December 2020

TWT aims to support those who do not receive any social grant money, who are unemployed with no source of income or support, and are in urgent need of help. Those already on the Social Development system have been handed over to a social worker who has provided 18 families with food parcels donated by Shambala Game Reserve.

Nurse Grace works with Choppies supermarket and volunteers from St John’s Church who help to pack food parcels and deliver them to the elderly and those who can’t reach the supermarket due health issues.

We have been able to help those in crisis: thieves broke into one man’s house, stealing all his groceries whilst he was at a funeral. Another man had a fire at his house and needed clothes for his six children.

If you would like to make a donation to The Waterberg Trust Covid-19 Appeal to assist the needy, please click here.

A WIDOW AND HER DAUGHTER BOTH COME FROM LESOTHO HAVE NO ID BOOKS . THE DAUGHTER HAS NEW BORN BABY.  AFTER LOSING HER HUSBAND IN AUGUST 2020, HER INLAWS TOOK THE FURNITURE AND LEFT THEM WITH NO SUPPORT OR FOOD.

Progress!
School children attending school benefit from the feeding scheme program
Those receiving grants are able to buy essential supplies for the family.

Some people are back at work while others now sell produce at the local market
Job opportunities for local community members in various sectors are emerging.

SCHOOL UNIFORM was bought for a boy from a dysfunctional family who now has counseling.
Current Challenges:
Increase in food prices.
Some families arrive late or find it difficult to collect the food.
Four children below the age of 10 are being neglected by their mother due alcohol. The issue has been handed over to social development for intervention.
5 families were abusing social grants. The cases were reported to the social worker.
Some people are becoming dependent on food parcels and do not want to work.

House break-ins and stealing within the community is worrisome with young boys involved in stealing from their parents.
Huge families are unable to feed their dependents.
Re-opening of taverns contributes to insecurity and unnecessary expenditure. This results in many drunken people leaving no food for their family.

Poor living conditions in informal settlements with poor sanitation and no water. Youth hang around quiet streets where they smoke, drink alcohol and abuse substances.
Cases of  gender-based violence resulting in physical injury and assault needed to be reported to the Police station.
One men was severely injured and needed to be taken to hospital.
Teenage pregnancies remain a challenge.

4th Food Parcel distribution in the Waterberg to help families cope during the Covid-19 Lockdown crisis

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Preparing food parcels for struggling families in the Waterberg

Since Covid-19 shut down the South African tourist industry in March, The Waterberg Trust has partnered with St John’s Church at 24 Rivers to make up food parcels for those needing help.

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Volunteers helping to prepare food parcels that provide needy families with basics

The project is overseen by NET’s nurse, Grace Ismail, who is sponsored by TWT. She has continued to meet with volunteers from the church, once a month, to purchase food from Chequers supermarket in Vaalwater, where it can be collected by the recipients.

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Nurse Grace supervising the distribution of food parcels in the Waterberg

By following up this distribution with home visits, Grace ensures that funds raised by The Waterberg Trust’s Covid-19 Appeal, and kind donations made locally, go to families who are struggling, including a teenage mum with twins and those unemployed due to Lockdown.

If you would like to help by making a donation – please click here

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The report for August states:

All previous beneficiaries have been visited. We found some have been able to return to work, others have received social relief grants, and some have been given retrenchment packages. New beneficiaries have been identified and assessed to confirm their status.

FOOD PARCEL DONATIONS:

Shambala Game Reserve, a local donor, requested a list of beneficiaries that needed food parcels.  This list was given to social workers for re-assessment. Beneficiaries with no passport or South African identification book could not be assisted due to lack documentation. From the list of 20 beneficiaries, social workers distributed to 8 families. We assisted the rest.

CHALLENGES:

  • The Department of Social Development does not provide food parcels for people without identification as they need to register beneficiaries in their system.
  • Some families abuse social grant money intended for buying food, using it for gambling and alcohol purchases instead.
  • Child-headed households without parents lack proper care and social support. 
  • Dysfunctional families who neglect their children often provide little or no support.
  • Loss of employment and lack of income to support a family.
  • Gender-based violence continues in many households leading to physical injury and damage to property.
  • School children can be seen on the streets of the township at inappropriate times. Some abuse alcohol and drugs instead of studying at home.
  • Some beneficiaries returned to work, but did not notify us as they still want to receive food parcels. This is why reassessment of each family needs to be conducted regularly.

PROGRESS:

Stakeholders have been helpful in supporting the community with food, clothing and shelter for the less privileged. These include the Social Development Services, private organizations (eg Shambala Game Reserve), individuals and religious or faith-based groups within the community. This is encouraging as we can work together. 

Schools have reopened and many learners have access to food provided by the school’s feeding scheme programme to ensure pupils get a meal and are able to concentrate in class.

FUTURE PLANS:

We will continue to distribute food parcels from the supermarket as it is convenient and a central point for beneficiaries.

We will continue liaising with stakeholders to avoid duplication of food parcel distribution.

We will continue to visit homes and families as required.

Groceries included in food parcels to help families cope during Lockdown

Covid-19 Appeal

Covid 19 Appeal for Waterberg Families 2

Easter 2020

Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust based in the Waterberg

Dr Peter Farrant, who works with The Waterberg Trust

Visiting Lethabo Kid’s Club in Leseding

TWT rider with Letabo Kids Club

TWT Riders were able to visit Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding, which has been run for the last sixteen years by Marilyn Cook – seen here in purple.

Finding out about the Back to School project

As it was the weekend before Easter we handed out Easter eggs as a treat. The youth who help on the project organised games and dancing for the children with vibrant music.

The children normally receive a glass of fresh milk and a peanut butter sandwich when they come to the club for stories and other activities each Wednesday.

Letabo Kids Club uniform

The Waterberg Trust is supporting a ‘Back to School’ project here, which has been working well and ensures all the children are equipped for the new school year in January.

Letabo Kids ClubThe state provide schooling but require each child arrive dressed in uniform, bringing a school bag equipped with stationary. Some families battle to find the money for this.

Letabo Kids club school bag

Lethabo Kids Club help by providing one item of clothing for each child. They first ask the children’s guardians to complete a form confirming they need assistance. So far, more than eighty children have been aided but the need is ever present. Some children have lost their parents and are being brought up by grannys, aunties or older siblings.

If you would like to make a donation to this project, please click here for The Waterberg Trust Justgiving.com page labelling your gift ‘Letabo Kids Club’.

Marilyn Cook with some of the kids