Some amazing progress made 2013-2014 by our passionate young community developers:
Future Leaders are really making a difference and accelerating the development of community based organisations!
I lacked purpose and lived a reckless life. I found pleasure in smoking, excessive drinking and a sense reassurance through what many would consider to be promiscuous behaviour.
One day I was invited to a Life Skills meeting and I decided I had nothing to lose by going but certainly did not expect to gain much. My lack of expectations were quickly discontinued exceedingly and above what I had imagined. Msizi was talking about very simple and practical aspects of life and I was moved. Although he portrayed no condemnation or dictation over his audience, everything he spoke about lead to a place of introspection and self-awareness. I started questioning my behaviour and how it affected my grandmother and my two children.
I then chose to be responsible for the ones I loved and cared for. I was 20 and ready to begin a life of purpose and meaning. After the Life Skills program I was recruited as a Future Leader at NAG and trained to carry out my duties with diligence. The Future leaders program was volunteer based with a symbolic stipend and when my aunt passed away all so suddenly the stipend became our primary source of income and it is how we survive.
When people who know me before I was part of NAG see me they commend my behaviour and how I have taken an inspiring turn. In fact I seem to be the personal adviser for people in my community and an example to many.
We have found Njabulo, the Future Leader assigned to us to be incredibly helpful. Shortly after we signed up with Nag, we were fortunate enough to be assigned a Future Leader that was and currently is being continuously trained by NAG. Soon after he intervened we became officially registered. He then helped us apply for grants so we could have money to keep the crèche running and have sufficient food for the children.
When our Future leader came we were stuck in the process of registering our crèche as an NGO and it had been for a while that we had been trying. He helped us through his understanding of the process and liaised with NAG for accurate information and support, soon after he intervened we became officially registered. He then helped us apply for grants so we could have money to keep the crèche running and have sufficient food for the children. This was a great financial relief for us. Njabulo has helped us better our services as care givers and has drastically increased the quality of our competence as a professional entity through teaching us how to do admin and how to keep track of our staff activity, lesson structures and keeping an effective register. We now make visitors sign in and we keep accurate accounts of our financials. Quite frankly our service quality since we have had our Future Leader is equivalent to the services provided by urban ECD’s (chuckles). Every Monday we look forward to Njabulo’s visit and the kids do too.
We were treated like nothing. If you have no degree they treat you like an animal or something. They don’t teach you or show you what is needed. But NAG felt our story and they listened to us while everyone else said wait.
We started the crèche in 2005. Then we found out that we needed an NPO number and that I needed to go to social welfare to get it. So we did that but every time we went there they gave different reasons why it had not been done. They said they will come to us and we must not fuss. We registered with someone and then when we came back they said: oh that someone is long gone you have to start again. They never visited the crèche even though they said they will come. They said it is too muddy here. One day they called us and said that our registration is there but when we arrived there they looked all over but could not find it. They said it must be a mistake.
Before NAG helped us it had been 7 years that we had been trying to get a NPO number. It was hard because everywhere we knocked they said NPO number. We could not do anything without it. I even met a guy who said he will do the NPO registration for me but I must put 500 rand in to his account. But it was impossible for us to find this money. When we told NAG about what had out problems and that someone offered to do it for us for 500 rand they said: NPO is free this guy is robbing you we will help you. So we finally got our NPO number and we were so excited.
I think they looked at me like a small child. But with NAG behind it was different. I see NAG as the chief executive that they are scared before. Everyone stood up and was like I am going to do the right thing now.
The crèche started in 2004 from a private home in a family’s rondavel. Many teenagers with children were not going to school. So they started to volunteer to look after the children while the mothers were in school. Then as the number of children in the crèche increased we moved to the community sports ground. It was not easy at all to use the buildings there. Then in 2009 after we had submitted an application to the municipality we got a budget for the building for the crèche. But there were so many challenges after that. Years went past contractors came without fully completing.
We reported our challenges to Department of Social Development. Everywhere we went we tried to get some help but we were not welcomed. By my own I went to the municipality and different offices but I could not get any answers. Then I decided to not only go to the NAG meetings but to the NAG office without an appointment to speak to them. I explained how nothing is happening with our building. I said please I need some help. After that I got I call from them saying that they will be in a meeting with some mangers from the municipality and that they will bring up our issue. Then everything happened so quick and fast. So we are here today in this beautiful building through NAG. We are proud of it and our children are proud of it. If we did not get help from NAG we might still be stuck there where it was freezing and we had to move to the corner when it rained.