The V&A Waterfront’s Joy From Africa to the World campaign has evolved far beyond a festive season, becoming more than just Christmas decorations and gifting. Instead, this movement looks to celebrate authentic stories and introduce the public to local communities, artisans and everyday people embodying the true meaning of ubuntu.
Joy From Africa has become a call-to-action for local people to get involved by supporting organisations who are making a difference. Over the next few months in the lead up to the festive season, the campaign will focus on four “chapters” or themes, the first being compassion.
The compassion theme will introduce five communities – NPOs and grass-roots projects that are providing help to those in need. The V&A Waterfront will use their social media platforms to profile the change-makers who are creating impact, and will share the heart-felt, first-hand accounts of how these projects are shaping the lives of others for the better.
Here’s an outline of the five featured compassionate communities:
The Justice Desk
The Justice Desk is an NPO working across Cape Town, and beyond, impacting the lives of more than 1.4-million people in the past eight years. This programme empowers people with knowledge around their human rights and encourages everyday activism that is community-driven.
The Justice Desk’s Mbokodo Club, welcomes 30 girls between the ages of nine and 19 annually – all survivors of rape and gender-based violence. It takes them through a three-year programme of mental health care and trauma counselling, self-defence and fitness, and leadership and empowerment workshops.
“They become well-rounded leaders who are not defined by their rape or the violence experienced,” says Founder Jessica Dewhurst, who sits with a waiting list of over 300 girls wanting to join the Mbokodo Club.
Join the movement and become a mentor @thejusticedesk.
New Crossroads CAN
New Crossroads CAN is a community-based kitchen that Thembisa Jaxa started in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In March 2020, Thembisa, a caterer, started using her supplies (food meant for orders that were no longer able to be fulfilled due to lockdown) to feed members of her community who were in need.
She soon realised that some people were reliant on these meals, so she made more by asking for donations on Facebook. The overwhelmingly positive response to her call-out has allowed her to continue providing food for the people of New Crossroads.
“As much as there’s no money in this kind of work, it heals the soul. There is a huge need for it, and many people bring two dishes to take to others at home. People are unemployed and the youth are roaming the streets. Some lost their jobs when lockdown started and have not been reinstated,” says Thembisa.
Show your support by following the New Crossroads CAN Facebook page.
Deborah Day Care
Deborah Day Care is a children’s initiative that serves the Cape Town community of Parklands and beyond. Inspired by the belief that no child should go to school without proper nutrition, Mary Ogboko and her team have been running the day care centre along with a feeding scheme and transportation service since 2008, for children between the ages of six months and six year.
Deborah Day Care holds a nurturing space for children from 27 families. It ensures that they receive the care needed for good childhood development in a way that takes their physical, mental and spiritual growth into account. Its activities inspire an interest in engaging with the world through sports and field trips.
“Knowing that I’m championing the next generation with love brings joy into my day’s work,” says Mary.
Due to assisting financially stressed parents, Deborah Day Care is behind on its rental. To support this change-making pre-school, please email [email protected].
Despite having five children of their own, Colleen and Andre De Rose have opened up their home to the Bonteheuwel community, giving other people’s children a safe space to come to after school. Their NPO, Unexpected Opportunities, started as a way of feeding those in need over Christmas time.
“We wouldn’t have our own Christmas feast; we would come together as a family and make food for the homeless,” Colleen explains of their humble beginnings.
This turned into feeding more people, weekly, making 100-litre pots of food at a time, which then evolved into holiday programmes for more than 250 children, and excursions to Cape Town’s museums.
Now, Unexpected Opportunities’ after-school programme, which takes place in Colleen and Andre’s front and back yard, with a group of 15 young volunteer facilitators, gives local working parents the peace of mind that their children are being helped with their homework and stimulated with fun activities.
Find out more by visiting the Unexpected Opportunities Facebook page.
Lalela is an NPO that provides educational arts for at-risk youth in marginalised communities, to spark creative thinking and awaken the entrepreneurial spirit. It hosts exciting after-school workshops every day, in the hours when children are most vulnerable to the many adversities faced in their communities.
“Through art and creative expression, Lalela provides children with a safe space where they can believe in themselves, understand their self-worth and know that they have the power to change their lives and their communities,” says Senior Programme Manager Firdous Hendricks. “Kids who once wanted to be gangsters are now successful young people who have learned critical problem-solving skills and gained tools for self-awareness.”
Lalela’s activities include educational games, meditation, music, art and more.
Find out more @lalelaproject.
Each story of these five compassionate communities showcased by the V&A Waterfront is accompanied by specially commissioned illustrations done by local creatives; Nick Ntuli, Phila Hillie, Phathu Nembilwi, Chloë te Water Naudé and Angelina Wicker.
Joy From Africa aims to celebrate the compassionate work being done to help the people of Cape Town, and will show communicate how others can get involved.
For more information, visit www.joyfromafrica.co.za or follow the hashtag #JoyFromAfrica to be part of the V&A Waterfront’s journey of change and compassion.
Picture: Unsplash / Annie Spratt