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Community Outreach Project
By Larissa Du Plooy
“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” Rollo May
A definition of ‘community’ is the friendship between different people or groups, and a sense of having something in common. We as Healing Wings strive to continue to build on this friendship, because we do have a something in common – a mutual goal of a better future.
Our group consists of myself, our female volunteers and a few residents. We have our community group each Wednesday, which started after Nelson Mandela Day, 2017. We firstly wanted to build a relationship of trust, have some fun and build a friendship. We feel at the end of 2017 we achieved this goal and we celebrated with a BIG Christmas party. We were so incredibly blessed, with families from Healing Wings really reaching out and even a few other sponsorships as well.
I want to make use of this moment, to fully explain how incredible the Christmas Party was. We divided the community up into female and male age groups. The little ones each received nappies, wet wipes, baby toys, Purity, baby toothpaste, a baby toothbrush, clothes, shoes, a facecloth, cream, soap and sweeties. As the age group becomes older we replaced nappies with stationary and the baby products with age appropriate products, we also added sanitary products for the older girls. The female and male adults of the community also received gift parcels, filled with necessities and treats, including a few parcels for pregnant community members. Our ladies handmade sock teddies, which were adored by all and one of the little girls could not wait to have hers tied safely to her back. Another special moment was when a little boy started unpacking his parcel – filled with all these things that would make any little boy happy – but he became emotional and ecstatic when he found the toothbrush. He jumped up and embraced the volunteer who gave him the parcel! Our hearts broke of happiness. Again, thank you so much for each person who made this day possible and so special! We braaied and celebrated this new friendship. Belinda and Natasha also brought our horses and even though they were cautious at first, they really enjoyed the rides.
Having now built a trusting friendship, we are excited to go to the next phase. This year we want to focus more on communication. Each session we learn and revise English and SiSwati words, based on the topic of the session. We started the year with looking at different career options, we want to continue to motivate them to work hard at school and encourage them to have dreams. For February we have focused on a farmer – Umlimi. We start small with each career and develop the topic further. For example, with our farmer topic, each child received a seed placed safely in cotton wool which they must take care of; they have to bring it back as homework (we encourage homework to be done with a star chart); and this week we will also start with our community garden. The garden is one of our bigger goals. We want to start small and help them look after the garden, every month we will add another vegetable to the garden and continue to teach them how to upkeep and take care of it. By developing set skills, a fully functional veggie garden can be maintained.
For 2018 there will be a few bigger and long-term objectives that we want to achieve:
- With medical careers, we want medical professionals to come out to our community session, to explain healthy habits, taking care of your teeth etc. – we are currently contacting the government to see if a mobile clinic is available.
- We want to build a Lapa next to our garden with cement chairs and a cement table. We can then continue our sessions, even if it rains. We can also later use this setting for other skill development opportunities, for example the chef career day.
- We want to see if we can get a rucksack sponsor, filled with stationary and gift vouchers for school shoes for Christmas.
We are dreaming big! There are a few other dreams and ideas, but please keep an eye out on our Healing Wings page and Instagram account. You are also more than welcome to contact us if you have ideas or just notes of guidance.