The Social Responsibility programme aims to reach out to others less fortunate than ourselves and with a particular focus (not exclusively) on children.
The main activity currently is providing weekly food parcels through MASIBUMBANE MISSION (a Hilton Methodist Church initiative) in Mpophomeni. These are made up on Monday afternoons by a faithful group of people and the parcels distributed to families living with HIV/AIDS.
We are also involved in NEVER NEVER LAND CRECHE which is situated near Cedara. Different groups of people belonging to Ascension and other organizations assist Never Never Land in various ways. Zandile Khoza runs the school and also mentors a group of young people living in the community.
These activities are made possible by the Kupugani Fund which was set up some years ago with a generous donation at the time of the closure of the Kupugani organization. Any donations received from the congregation are added to the Kupugani Fund and used for food parcels, NNL assistance, and general appeals which come in from time to time such as assisting a student with no financial means to register at university.
Another important initiative is the Bonginkosi Self-Help Ministry Project in Sweetwaters. Below is a detailed look at this ministry as provided by one of our church members who are involved in the project:
BONGINKOSI SELF HELP PROJECT
For pictures of the Bonginkosi Ministry work view our Gallery
- Who are we?
We are a group of Christians mainly from the Anglican Church in Hilton (KZN) as well as Zulu Nuns from Edendale (KZN Midlands) meeting with local folk (mainly adult Zulu people) +- 200.
- Where are we located?
This group operates in Sweetwaters KZN – a very impoverished semi rural area of the KZN Midlands.
- What do we do?
- Together as a Group, we explore ways to create more sustainable, dignified and Christlike lives. For over 26 years we have embarked on various projects such as handmade crochet wool blankets, crochet hats from waste plastic bags, candle making, hand sewing embroidery using silks sent by girl guides from the UK, machine sewing, in particular quilts from scraps, school uniforms and clothes for the family, agricultural projects with donated seed and brick making.
- The focus of the morning is a Church service with particular emphasis on bible teaching. Also we have had educations projects – learning to read, improvement of English & life skills. Allied with that has been a sightedness project to subsidise glasses for those who have poor eye sight and subsidising Zulu bibles for the literate folk.
- We have also helped subsidise Phungu Luthu toilets (Air Ventilated Pit Latrines) for project members who have been chosen by the Project Committee as the most needy – disabled, very old, very poor etc. One of the members has been empowered to build Phungu Luthus and now runs this as a successful business.
- We subsidise school fees (2 children per member).
- We are involved in helping the local Day care Centre / Preschool with teacher training, educational aids and toys and classroom equipment – we ‘twinned’ the crèche with a local independent school and facilitate interaction with the two groups.
- We have attempted modules of health training especially in the area of Aids, Cholera, nutrition and gastro enteritis using various aids such as video, medical experts, playacting, social workers etc.
- We have a ‘program’ of visiting the sick at home or in hospital and praying with the bereaved after the many deaths which occur amongst our members. We also help with transport to hospitals and aids hospices where necessary.
- Finally we distribute the food and goods donated by Harvest Ministry.
- Why do we do it?
We do it because God says in Isaiah ‘Who shall I send and who will go?’ – the answer from us was ‘Here I am Lord send me.’ We live in an unequal land where millions suffer. We have to respond and we feel called to go in the power of the Holy Spirit and do whatever He calls us to do in His power. Over these past 26+ years we look back and realise it has been a huge privilege to have been entrusted with this project – to God be the Glory.
Bonginkosi Mtolo was born with two thin useless legs. When we met him as a young boy he was dragging himself around in the dust around his hut. He is illegitimate, has a ‘step father’ who abused him and has never been to school. We discovered he had no birth certificate so we set about the long task of proving that he existed. He was 18 by the time we achieved this (in the old SA +- 1990). He now is able to draw a disability pension and has real standing in his family. We also found him 2 wheelchairs, 1 at home and 1 at the Church so he doesn’t drag himself around anymore. We subsidised a specially built toilet (Phungu Luthu) for him at home so he could wheel himself in to the toilet by himself for the first time. We take him in the truck to our meetings and he is a helper with the distribution and selling of basic food stuffs (at cost) from the back of the project truck. He is now a grown man with some measure of social and personal respect in Sweetwaters.
Sihle was orphaned at an early age. His plight was brought to our attention when he was still quite young. He was not wanted by any of his extended family, who were themselves struggling to eke out a living, as none of them had any income. At one time he was reduced to spending most of his time in a chicken coop and was not attending school. His prospects were grim. We arranged with a local school to pay his school fees, bought him a school uniform to replace the tatters he was wearing and provided him with small amounts of food. Sihle managed, against all odds, to pass his matriculation examination. When he came to a church service about a year ago, he told us how grateful he was for our support, and that he was working for a fast food outlet. He was hoping to continue his studies, but did not have the resources to fund additional training. He is trusting in Jesus to direct his life. We are all so encouraged by his tale of victory over desperate odds.
Mabongi was orphaned during 2008 whilst in grade 11 and had to drop out of school in order to care for her two much younger siblings. During this time she fell pregnant and had a healthy little girl in 2009. Last year she was able to attend the church service run by Sarah, who was able to assist her with the school fees and food and clothes for the orphans. Through the encouragement of and counselling by one of the helpers, her marriage to the father of the child was successfully negotiated, and she and her siblings have been absorbed into her new husband’s family. Mabongi continues to thank God for providing for her, the new baby and her siblings.
Aspects of the work
1 Church service with emphasis on bible teaching
2 Assistance with the purchase of Zulu Bibles
3 Transportation of some members to meetings & services
4 Education projects – learning to read, improvement of English & Life Skills
5 Paying of school fees
6 Assistance with the purchase of English and English / Zulu dictionaries
7 Health care education, in particular with HIV / AIDS, Cholera, hygiene, nutrition, gastro enteritis etc
8 Mbubu Creche (day care centre) – assistance with preschool training
9 Mbanjwa Primary School – assistance with educational aids, toys & classroom equipment
10 Visit sick in hospital or at home
11 Praying with the bereaved
12 Assistance with funeral costs
13 Transport sick to hospitals, clinics and AIDS Hospices where necessary
14 Bonginkosi blankets – handmade crocheted blankets
15 Crochet hats from waste plastic packets
16 Hand sewing embroidery
17 Machine sewing, in particular clothes and school uniforms
18 Quilt design and manufacture
19 Agricultural projects using seeds donated
20 Assistance given to building air ventilated pit latrines
21 Assisting with the purchase of spectacles purchases
22 Collection of various goods shipped from overseas to Durban
23 Distribution of overseas donations of various foods e.g. corn meal, dried fruit & soup mix
24 Distribution of overseas donations of wheelchairs, walkers, sewing machines etc.
25 Collection and distribution of bread and other foodstuffs on a weekly basis
26 Distribution of donated clothes and shoes (local and overseas)
27 Distribution of re-usable sanitary pads
28 Selling of basic foodstuffs at cost
29 Assistance with registration of births & obtaining identity documents etc
30 Sourcing of local overseas and local monetary donations – individuals & church
DEVELOPMENTS IN 2014
Earlier this year in Autumn, Roma Pridmore, a faithful and energetic member of our Congregation (Church of the Ascension in Hilton KZN), once again organised the annual “Winter Warmth” project, and the church’s Bonginkosi Project was delighted to be one of the grateful beneficiaries this year. Many beautiful warm items were knitted and other people generously donated cash which was used to buy very reasonably priced winter sweatshirts. As a result we were able to give every member in the Bonginkosi (Sweetwaters) Project a new jersey or sweatshirt and during the bitterly cold winter these were handed out and were welcomed with grateful thanks. Our grateful thanks go to all in the congregation who so kindly contributed to this worthy cause and we acknowledge the love and provision of our God whose Father heart understands the plight of the Poor and Needy.
First Aid Boxes
Some time ago we were told that one of the older Bonginkosi members was in hospital with a “bad finger” and wouldn’t be attending meetings for a while. It transpired that she had cut her finger and without adequate and prompt attention the cut turned septic and eventually she went to hospital for a number of weeks where they eventually amputated part of the finger. We were horrified by that incident and after praying about it decided to see if we could get a very basic medical box together for each family represented on our Bonginkosi Membership List. We were helped by members of our congregation collecting ice cream containers and with medical advice from Sister Gill Watson. In August we finally had the large ice cream containers with the 15 medical items packed to hand out. With the advice of the Bonginkosi Committee and in line with the thinking of the book “Toxic Charity”, we asked each member to contribute R5 towards the cost of the Boxes. We were very fortunate to have Sister Mignon Hitchcock come down to Sweetwaters to give a very comprehensive talk on health issues and correct use of the medicines. This whole project has been most enthusiastically received and we thank God for the way He prompted and provided for its success.
For pictures view our Gallery