Clouds and Silver Linings

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Clouds and Silver Linings

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our staff, children and communities we serve
are experiencing both hardships and blessings

The Clouds

The Curve Is Increasing

South Africa’s 56 million people are sheltering at home like the rest of the world, though the nationwide lockdown was lifted May 1. The country is reporting the highest number of cases on the continent, according to the World Health Organization: 8,895 cases and 178 death as of May 9. The number of cases and deaths has continuously increased since the first case was reported on March 5.

During the lockdown, our staff — teachers, a cook, a nurse, and 7 home visitors — cannot work (though 25:40 continues to pay their regular salaries). Our children cannot go to school and there is no online school in the rural areas. They cannot come to our three aftercare sites for a hot meal and activities. Our staff cannot progress with their home visits identifying those in need.
Domestic violence — already a huge problem in South Africa — is on the rise. Please pray for the very vulnerable women and children.

Lockdown Effects

The preschool and aftercare site in Canzibe is closed.

No Water at Coram Deo

Keeping the children inside at Coram Deo Place of Safety during lock-down has been a challenge. The home is big enough but of course the children love to play outside. The surrounding area experienced a period recently in which they had no water because of infrastructure issues. In late April the water tanks at the home were close to empty. So the older boys did venture out then to get some at a nearby well.
We are still searching for a Christian couple to come live in the home and serve as house parents.

The Silver Linings

Emergency Food Parcels

Non-profit organizations in South Africa were given a little more freedom during the lockdown to conduct essential services. Kholiswa Masiso, 25:40’s education manager, and Zama Mtebele, who oversees the Nomadolo aftercare and conducts home visits, were able to survey the Canzibe community and identify the neediest families.

25:40 partnered with Spargs Spring Street Supermart in Mthatha, which delivered food parcels that were distributed to 20 of the neediest families in late April. (See video at top left).
One of the twenty recipients is Mama Msongelwa, shown at left. Her children attend the 25:40 Canzibe aftercare program. She is very faithful to attend parent meetings. To supplement her income, she makes bricks and sells them in the community so that she can pay the school fees for her children. She was so grateful to receive a food parcel as she could not sell bricks during the lockdown.
Your donations and our partnership with Spargs made this happen, as well as the hard work of Kholiswa, Zama, Zimasa and other 25:40 staff. 25:40 South Africa raised funds to duplicate this effort in Port Alfred, where 25:40’s Tata Nono Lose oversees a preschool, aftercare and home visits.
Last week, our faithful partner The Lunchbox Fund delivered 91 emergency food parcels for distribution to the children in our preschool and aftercare sites. We will supplement these food parcels (at left) with vegetables.

A Phased Reopening Plan

As the lockdown is easing a bit in South Africa, our staff is busy preparing how to plan a carefully phased reopening.
We will resume some home visits and make sure they are done with correct social distancing, by all staff to children’s homes to deliver :
  1. age-appropriate teaching packs for the pre-school kids. This is to be repeated weekly until schools re-open.
  2. a printed isiXhosa card with COVID 19 info and safety measures
  3. a short isiXhosa gospel presentation on the back of the card.
  4. Determine the commitment of parent/s or caretakers to plant a square meter vegetable garden.
  5. Staff deliberately ask people to pray for them at these home visits.

Food gardening initiative

Our core staff will initiate a food garden at the Canzibe center and train those in the community wanting to work in the garden. Kholiswa and three of our aftercare graduates – Kwanele, Raymond and Thabile — will oversee and help maintain the garden. This initiative will help during COVID-19 but also as we return to normal, supplement the food we serve in the preschool and aftercare.

A Phased Reopening Plan

During the April 2020 lockdown people from across South Africa united to sing a blessing over our nation. The heart of this is to bless you – to give you hope and peace!