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Jabulani Project Newsletter

Issue 3, Winter 2015/16

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Welcome to our third issue, which looks back at what we have achieved over the past half year and forward to the next few months.

None of what we are able to do would be possible without the incredible generosity of our supporters. Very special thanks to Jabulani Ahoy, which raised an impressive amount of sponsorship money from Ray Duffy’s climb up the Skye Ridge, and Frances Benton, who continues to raise a substantial amount of money for us each year.

Thanks also to Rabbi Rose, the Reverend Scott McKenna and the congregation of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, for their donations to Bobbi Bear and the building of a house for an orphan; and to the Jabulani Warriors, led by Jacky Burnett and Carole Scanlon, who raised enough money to build a house for a very disadvantaged family in Umlazi.

Finally, thanks to those who hosted choir members during Dloko choir visit, and to many others who continue to support us, through sponsoring a young person or in other ways (many of whom do not wish to be named).

Recent Achievements

Support


We have continued to support disadvantaged young people to study at universities and other institutions. One of those who received support has qualified as an Estimator with Lithotech; another, through his success at Isibani Business School and IT College, is about to start an ICT Academy. We have paid the cost of university and college registration fees, driving licenses and matric exams. We have also facilitated the production of a CD by Sandile from the Dloko Choir. And in crisis situations, we have also provided support for food and other emergency relief.


NPO in South Africa

The main thrust of the work of the Jabulani NPO over the last few months has been to build houses for those without accommodation, and to repair houses that have been severely damaged by excessive rainfall. This includes a new house for Goodman and repairs to Andile’s, Mle’s house and Nonkululeko’s house. These are all young people who give back to the project through volunteering, which encapsulates the core values of reciprocity and empowerment that form the cornerstones of the Jabulani philosophy.
The NPO has also assisted Nokuthula, a young woman formerly of Zwelibanzi High School, with the supply of electricity to a container that will allow her to make a living selling cooked food to the learners at Mziwamandla. In return she has gifted her grandmother’s garden to Jabulani so that we can grow vegetables to give to the various soup kitchens we support. Another excellent example of Jabulani's core values at work.
 

Bright's House

Bright, or (to use his Zulu name) Nhlakanipho Mnyandu, is a former learner from Dloko. His story is tragic but sadly not untypical. He lost both his parents when he was nine years old and has single-handedly brought up his three sisters in appalling conditions. When the most recent group of volunteers from Scotland visited his house they were incredibly moved, and committed themselves on their return to raise enough money to rebuild the house for this needy family. 
So an enormous thank you to Jacky, Carole, Lisa, Rachael and Amy for the tremendous work they did through ceilidhs and other fundraising activities to achieve this goal. The £3,600 they raised will build a beautiful new house and more. Thanks, also, to Avela Mabhena who was in Scotland at the invitation of Lisa Gray, for his wonderful role in highlighting the plight of his good friend. Unfortunately  Avela’s situation is not much better but the group is committed to more fundraising.
 

Thula's Visit


Menzi Thula Khumbuza, a former volunteer with the SISCO street kids project and a friend of Jabulani, visited Edinburgh in February last year courtesy of Alex Wallace, who tries to bring someone over each year.
Thula completed a computer course, achieving the highest ever grades recorded at the centre, did odd jobs for friends, had a fun time (he will be particularly remembered at the Bongo Club) and met up with a number of SA emigrés.

He absorbed the new culture with ease, extended his stay to six months by “accidentally” putting his passport in the washing machine, and has now returned to Durban where he has new career aspirations, new qualifications and a desire to work for Jabulani.

Dloko School Choir

Assembly Rooms, August 2015

 
Some reflections by Mary Pirie
 
The visit
The Dloko School choir had a second very successful appearance at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2015, exciting and charming the crowds who saw them at the Assembly Rooms with their vibrant performances. The choir had moved forward musically in the year since their last visit, with a wider repertory and more variety among the groups singing. The concert was joyous and the audience loved every performance.

As has become their usual practice, the choir also treated the citizens of Edinburgh and tourists to street performances, several a day, and brought shoppers to a halt as they sang and moved in their unique rhythms and harmonies. They brought the spirit of Jabulani ('bringer of happiness') and the vibrant Zulu culture of their township to Edinburgh, its visitors and Gillespie's High School. Jabulani provided huge support with the choir's visit in 2014, and a number of Gillespie's families hosted choir members as valued guests and treating them to well-earned hospitality and kindness. At a personal level, individual members of the choir experienced the best of Scottish family life and generosity.

Lessons in Resilience for Jabulani

The choir and Jabulani also learned something more profound this time round. The lesson was one of resilience, of coping with harsh economic reality and disappointment. Last year the visit of the choir was wholly and generously funded by Andrew Paterson of the Iris Initiative, at a cost of more than £30,000.This mainly centred round transport costs to fly the big group to Edinburgh and home again. This year the sponsor decided that it would benefit the choir if they funded the transport as a loan and that money that the choir raised would repay the loan. Part of the deal was that only the sponsor charity would be mentioned in publicity, bringing the sponsor's ‘brand identity’ to the fore rather than that of Jabulani. A lesson in the importance of publicity in the world of economics and commerce!

The choir responded by shaking their buckets and singing everywhere they might earn some contributions to pay off their debt. The concert revenues paid into the fund too. Despite their efforts, though, there remained a shortfall, and there was no excess to take back to their community which had benefited the year before. Inevitably there was disappointment about that both in the community and the choir, and giving rise to questions about whether it had had something to do with the choir’s performance or lack of efforts. Of course that was not the case; if anything the choir had worked even harder. But this time they gained their experience mostly at their own expense, rather than that of the sponsor. It is unlikely they could afford to do it next year, unless a new solution can be found.

However, the choir did make £3,000 from the CDs that were sold by Jabulani, and an additional £1,800 was donated from a fundraiser organised by Moira McFarlane at Spoon. This money has been ring-fenced for the future of the choir members, allowing them to return with a substantial amount of money for Umlazi school projects and bursaries. 

And the lessons for Jabulani as a whole?

Lessons in self-funding are hard learned. The generosity of Jabulani in helping people - both from Scotland and from South Africa - to develop and grow, to survive and thrive, is admirable and core to Jabulani's work. With ongoing support this should remain the principal aim of the charity long into the future. For us all, though, there is another issue to consider, namely how we use the project to build confidence and skills in our Durban and Umlazi communities in the longer term, enabling them to become stronger and more able to sustain their wonderful work. This needs to include networking among those who are part of the team in Durban and Umlazi so they can help each other, and looking at means of creating small revenue streams locally, to ensure longer-term sustainability of the good work. Volunteers will still raise funds and personally contribute to projects in the townships, but how, for example, can local people take over some of the building work that is such a powerful contribution to homeless and disadvantaged people in Umlazi? What is needed in terms of skills, planning and financial structure  to make this possible and leave a legacy of self-help after Scottish volunteers leave? How can we develop skilled managers on the ground? Are we too dependent still on key individuals? How do we broaden the base?

The Dloko choir has taught us much about what fantastic things can be achieved when someone like Nelson, the musical director, drives the talent in Dloko school. The joy of voices, of movement, of musicality is such a lesson to us in Scotland about what is possible. The charity is maturing. There are many things still to achieve using our tried and tested routes and strategies. But the lesson of resilience, of coping with new challenges, is one we need to learn if our projects in Durban and Umlazi are to survive and thrive in the long term.

Hot off the press


Another group of volunteers, led by Alex Wallace and Marie Chetty, headed out to SA on January 20. Volunteers include Margaret Alcorn, former DHT at Castlebrae and CEC staff CPD coordinator; Douglas Young from London, a former college lecturer; and Moira McFarlane, co-owner of Spoon. We are also fortunate to be taking a team from Sun Store Technologies who have invented a solar oven which they will be “battletesting” in South Africa. They are generously leaving one of the ovens to a Jabulani beneficiary (such as Bobbi Bear or the Gogo’s nursery in Kwamashu). Welcome Stirling, Patricia, Peter and Jackie, and thank you Craig Howieson, former Gillespie’s student, who introduced us. Finally, we are taking a Elizabeth, a Clown Doctor who has worked in hospitals in Edinburgh and is a member of Clowns without Borders. She will be working with children who have experienced trauma, such as HIV orphans, and will do a session with the children at Bobbi Bear.

Additional news is that Lisa Gray, Jabulani Trustee and former Biology teacher at JGHS has given up her job to work for Jabulani SA for a year. We are immensely grateful. Lisa is already making a mark and will make this trip so much easier.

The objectives of the current trip are:
  • to work with our NPO on strategic development and develop a succession strategy, so that they can eventually run the Jabulani Project (with support from Scotland).
  • to hold a conference with our nine sister organisations in South Africa to forge better links and skills exchanges, and highlight common purposes and values.
  • to visit our friends in Soweto to try to facilitate trips to the Edinburgh Festival for theatre groups.
  • to create a Jabulani Award in our four main schools (Dloko, Mziwamandla, Ogwini and Zwelibanzi) to replace the John Byrne Award. We are trying to persuade Nelson Makamo, a South African artist, to be the figurehead. It will be a very different award but every bit as exciting as its predecessor.
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