Earlier this week, I got to visit a few of our NGO partners who are based in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. It’s always so encouraging to meet the people who NGOs are serving – it reminds you why you’re doing what you do.
In Mpophomeni, situated 15 kilometers from Howick, I met a number of great people involved with the running of Ethembeni. While the organisation started out as a means of bringing hope to community members with illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, it has since grown. The heart of the organisation remains bringing hope, but they now also focus on equipping the young community members with the skills to succeed in life, through mentoring and after school homework clubs. They also have a thriving kids club – I’ve never seen little people so attentive while listening to a teacher!
We’re excited to be partnering with them for another NGO project on Different.org, where they’ll be raising funds for their incredible support and mentoring programme for teens.
iThemba Projects works in Sweetwaters (Mpumuza), which is close to Pietermaritzberg. The organisation’s philosophy is to partner with the community to tackle issues such as economic inequality, racism, poor education, and a lack of role models and opportunities through education, mentoring, job creation and good nutrition.
I visited their community centre which is currently being built using an eco-friendly building technique, and got to learn more about their innovative Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilitator training strategy, which includes rewarding participating facilitators with supplies to enhance their ECD centres when they meet certain teaching objectives. The model is hugely relational, with participants receiving mentoring, equipping and encouragement from more experienced ECD facilitators.
We’ll also be partnering with iThemba Projects for another Different.org project to fundraise for their Asidlale project, which covers the costs for the mentoring of five ECD centres (crechès) for a period of one year.