HOPE TRADERS

A quote I once read said this “leaders are dealers in hope.”

Well, what follows is the result of about two years’ meetings with community workers –  that there makes them leaders in themselves. Ladies who faithfully and diligently go into the poorest of communities to encourage and uplift people who are in dire poverty.  The contrasts in our communities are vast, and the outlaying communities from our cities are the worst off financially and materially –  yet so rich in community life.

In an endeavour to develop community crafting skills as a means to alleviate poverty these women have been meeting to seek out a practical plan or model for entrepreneurship.
The following writing is perhaps but one version of an expected final document that can capture the concept of   caring through community entrepreneurship.

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THE  HOPE  TRADERS  CO-OPERATIVE
–    Traders in Hope   –

Hope gives a future.

When the Non Profit Organisations came together through Durban’s Soul Action Network, a vision began to birth to capture entrepreneurship as a way to aid the alleviation of poverty among clients of their organisations. In 2012 the Hope Christmas Market saw the light of day and has since become a very successful annual event, complementing an entrepreneurial mind-set for community development.

Emerging from this initiative was a gathering of community workers who formed an Entrepreneurial Development Focus Group, who have been meeting for the past two years to establish a realistic and practical plan for entrepreneurial development for the local crafting communities.

The Hope Traders Co-Operative  writing is but one draft, that may take the task forward, through the following prospect.

To develop and promote  community entreprenuership, –  and advance Durban’s profile as a favourite tourism destination, – by establishing an unique retail space where creative displays of local craftsmanship  will attract visitors and revenue from the international and South African tourist industry, – and expose creative Crafters and their stories, to a global market, and Durban as a caring city.

Vision:

  • Create an unique tourist attraction for prospective visitors and investors to the city.
  • Establish an unique retail space to showcase local Crafters and their products.
  • Connect the consumer and producer through use of story/multimedia/experience.
  • Promote Entrepreneurship through creative collaboration in Durban and wider communities.

Mission:

  • To identify, celebrate and nurture the creative potential within communities.
  • To attract revenue from the tourist and local trade toward sustainable living for Crafters and their communities.
  • To facilitate opportunities for entrepreneurial and community development.
  • To act as a catalyst to integrate cultures.
  • To weave community caring into the fabric of the Durban society, and its city image.
  • To encourage and educate the South African public to buy local South African products.

Conclusion:

In South Africa we live in a society where the “resources” of its various members have the potential to – and yet do not always – address various forms of cognitive, physical, social and emotional poverty. (Phil Bowyer, Soul Action Durban)

If,  with the tools of our rich diverse cultures, community caring, crafting skills and imagination, we can harness a personal work ethic, through Entrepreneurship, there is no reason we cannot take on the mind-set of … “from poverty to progress“,  and contribute to an emerging informal economic pillar for a prosperous South Africa – that benefits all.

Durban’s best.
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LOOKING FOR … KINDNESS

 

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Philosophically speaking : I was reminded today of what progress means.
It is  Think, Expect and Do – or conception, pregnancy, birth.   In other words  the seed, the gestation and then the manifestation. This hopefully followed by growth –  which can take on its own directions and distractions. And in between each phase there is time, and plenty of it, and that only because of the grace of God.
This may well be the pathway of development and progress, which can be applied to many levels of life, not only social development or the faith life.   What is required is Patience.
But that is not what I am looking for today.  I am putting out onto the Blogosphere the challenge for Kindness through:  The Kids of Africa Campaign.

However, console yourself and keep this formula in mind when you consider your unfulfilled dreams, unfinished tasks, or purely if you are a procrastinator of note,  take heart you now may have the excuse, the pattern, or  even the reason for the delay !

I have said all that to say this….these are the thoughts I was entertaining for not forging ahead with my writing project on The Fruit Basket.  A random writing series of “LOOKING FOR  ….” the virtues of the good life found in Galatians 5:22.    So today I resume my search, but with an edge of practicality, and being an unashamed opportunist, want to include it in the challenge  of the Kids of Africa  Campaign,  with the hope that it will unleash a flood of  kindness to and from all kinds of communities.
Here is the challenge – creating caring communities through kindness and crafting.

     THE  KIDS  OF  AFRICA  CAMPAIGN
Africa is a rich continent, not only in minerals, but in humanity too.   To draw on this wealth we need to mine, not only the gold and silver, but also the huge deposits of goodness and kindness lying within our own hearts.
Join this simple campaign for Kindness by knitting a beanie or two…or three, for the Kids of Africa.

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The intention is to create caring communities through Crafting – whether it be knitting or crocheting.  Communities, especially the Women, the Young ones, the Amazing Gogos (Grandmothers) and all those in between, crafting for the Kids and teaching Kids to craft for the Elderly and Disabled in their communities  –   perhaps even grow veggie gardens too, to blend in with the Care Africa movement project.
Begin by knitting beanies, preferably in red,  but any colour will do, and then distributing them in  your own local community.
If you want, you may send a photo of yourself and your community to this email
clyle.sa@gmail.com   –   and it will be posted on the  Blog just to show that Africa cares.
This is an initiative against poverty, a campaign for kindness, and for communities to progress.

BEANIE  PATTERN 
With Double Knitting wool, and size 4 mm or 4.5mm knitting needles
Cast on 90  stitches for the Kids beanie.
First Row Rib :  Kl, P2,  to end of row
Second Row   :   P2, K1,  to end of row
Change to no.  4.5mm or 5 mm knitting needle and
Continue until work measures 24 centimeters.

Shape Top of Beanie
Next Row  :  P1  (K1,  P2 together)  –  repeat to end.
Next Row  :  Purl.
Next Row  :  K 2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl to end
Next Row  :  K2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl two together to end.
Leave a length, and break yarn.
Thread twice through remaining stitches.
Draw up tightly and fasten off.
Stitch back seam neatly together.

Adult size Beanie :   Cast on 100 stitches
Rib until work measures 30 cms.
Continue to shape top.

Enjoy creating … and teach others to be kind through crafting. 
Blessed are those who consider the poor.   Psalm 41:1

07032011036.jpg                                                                         Happy  crafting !

Care Africa

Green Africa map

Life is made up of small things.
Everything you do matters.

Africa is a big continent.  It is a block of land that captures you.  Whether you are in the north or in the south of it it will lay claim to a corner of your heart.   I have heard of South Africans who leave Africa for more appealing shores, but often, very often have the yearning to come home again.   Its challenges, its diversities and its humanities, is like a magnet that draws all kinds of human emotions from the heart that has at its roots the most scary and at the same time the most amazing appeal.   Or perhaps, for me, its just home.
Famous words of Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa : “I am an African”
brings with it many connotations, because Africa has many connotations – anybody can be anybody in Africa.  Its diversity creates space for this, yet it also creates fragmentation, for diversity does not necessarily mean unity.   The trick is to bring diversity into a patchwork for unity.   I am not an African.  But I am a South African.  A white South African, does that make me an African ?

Nevertheless, Africa is a place for expression.  Africa will find you out !  There is room for everyone, for every kind under the sun in Africa – the good, the very good, the bad and the very bad, the place where humanity is at war with itself, and mirrors that for the world to see and to watch.

Love it or hate it Africa is the place that calls for attention.  And at the same time offers opportunity to express that humanity one way or another.

Many years ago now, I came across MAF and signed up for their newsletter.  What is MAF ?
An extract from their 2015 Annual  Report sums it up consicely .
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is an international Christian organisation bringing help and hope to some of the poorest and most remote communities in the world….
We work with hundred of missions, churches, local groups, relief & development organisations and national government agencies.   Together we deliver practical medical and spiritual care in places with the deepest human needs ” – Prof. Polla Roux.

Furthermore to this is a very brief snippet of its history, supplied by the MAF office in South Africa:
In 1945 Murray Kendon, a New Zealander flying with the RAF Coastal Command during World War 2, wondered if the power and versatility of aircraft would only be used for conflict and carnage.   After realizing this dream was indeed God-given, he accepted the challenge and Mission Aviation Fellowship was born.
In 1970 David and Beryl Luke developed the MAF SA programme in the Transkei and it then moved to Johannesburg in the late ’70s.   In 2011 MAF saw the need to develop a programme in South Africa and the Flying for Life project was developed.
We currently work in the Vhembe District in Limpopo, taking in missionaries, churches, medical professionals and other organisations to help sustainably uplift the community.
Looking ahead, we are wanting to expand our eye doctor clinic to an additional hospital,
and extend into other provinces in South Africa. “

 

Care Africa Purple Bags
The Care Africa project is a small random project that encourages people to “grow a garden in your yard,  grow a garden in your heart”,  and encourages growing vegetables for food, and reading the Bible for growing the soul.   Both very necessary for human growth and sustainability – social development in an wholistic sense.
Recently I met up with Maxine Holman from MAFSA, and could give her two care bags to grow the concept of Care Africa.
Big or little deeds of kindness, whether a Flying Mission or a packet of spinach seeds, can make a difference in Africa.

I reckon poverty’s first priority is to combat hunger, and the growing of vegetables whether in a car tyre, an individual yard, or a community garden, will go a long way to addressing hunger, so prevalent in Africa today.  

In today’s shaky economic climate it makes sense to save cents by growing your own vegetable garden  – and together with reading the Word of God everyday you will begin to create a healthy, survival, sustainable and a good life.

Life is made up of small things.   What you do matters.

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Grow a garden in your yard,  Grow a garden in your heart,  and so join the Care Africa project.
 Start today, and let CareSA know how your gardens grow.   Grow well, eat well, share well
Happy gardening !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People Who Care

I have just spent the last two days in the sea of humanity.  It was rather intense, youthful, noisy, to the extent of being loud, colourful, fashionable statements with trendy “weaves” of the young aspiring women.  There was a sprinkle of White, Coloured and Indian Diversity, all draped in care and laced with humility –  all very vibrant, like only South Africans can be.   It was a privilege to be part of this event,  KWNCSOC – the Kwa Zulu Natal Civil Society Organisation Coalition safely birthed after a two and a half year interim period of formation.

The KWNCSOC is a network that draws the caring  society of Kwa Zulu Natal together in a coailtion  e.g the Non Profit Organisations, and others in Mercy Ministries who work  to bring some relief to poor and broken communities.  These are the caring angels of the peoples, the unsung passionate heroes of our societies, and, not duly recognised, as the semi invisible arm of the social development work of the government.
What made this event, so vibrant was the percentage of young adults that attended the occasion.  I sensed such a passion (and maybe it came from a place of survival !) yet there was an underlying caution, an alertness, a community intelligence, not to be drawn in and swayed by the flavours of the day. Present too were the donors of projects, and social drivers, all necessary for progress ? – or exploitations for other agendas ? But such is the way of politics.  But their polite caution, the listening ear, the hearing heart gave me a hope, for I do believe it is people and not  finance that will make the biggest difference to South Africa’s future.

Durban’s beautiful Botanical Gardens.

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The conference came together in a community hall situated at the entrance of the beautiful Durban Botanical Gardens – which I call the Green Cathedral. It is made magnificent with its three hundred year old tress planted in a vastness of green, with lawns and flowers and shrubs of every kind.  It is worth a visit, to linger and to soak up its splendour!  It is one of my most favourite places to be.

The organisers of the conference, the Democracy Development Program,  had arranged the chairs in little circles of five, where intense discussion could take place, where identities were revealed, hearts could be shared, and dreams could be told.
I listened, and heard mainly of the obstacles toward progress, but then also the aspirations and longing for a better life and a better future.

The Care Africa Movement.

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  A Care Garden envelope of spinach seeds to grow food in your yard for a promise from  you to read the Word of God to grow food for your soul.  

I, too could  share my dreams of a Care Africa Movement, where there are Care Gardens in the hearts of people, and a vegetable garden in their yards.   Hunger – or more positively Food Production is the pivotal place of poverty alleviation, it can also be a starting point for social development and entrepreneurship in Africa.  I shared my dream and gave a few seed envelopes to those who would receive them, and hope that they will join the movement, and send me photos of their gardens, to put on my blog for you to see.
Growth is a learning process whether you are growing your soul, or growing your food.
But basically, on different levels, it is the same.  There is the soil, (the heart) and then there is the seed  (the Word of God) that is sown.  Necessary is the nurturing, the watering, the weeding, and good nutrition (teaching) for good results.   After many months (or years) comes the harvest, the product, the bearing of fruit –  (or the character !)   Good seed will produce good results.  Finally comes the joy of achievement, and the sharing of what is good, the tasting of what is good, and the knowing  that God is good !

May the Care Africa Movement be a growing process for those who join in, and bear good results, for the soul, and for food for poverty alleviation.   Plant your Care gardens today – and make a difference in your life and in your community – and email me a photo to share with other.

Eat well,   Grow well,  Share well.

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A FOCUS ON ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT

A Focus on Entrepreneurial Development
Common sense begs us to have a road map when we embark on a journey.  The future is a path we all must tread.  To read some insights and signposts along the way may be helpful for the journey. With our world, under a financial cloud, which can reveal our insecurities and traditions of old, we need to realize that the world is in a state of flux. Change is inevitable and is happening! Steve Rose on his blog has written an excellent article called The Transition to Entrepreneurial  Life , from a philosophical and new millennium point of view. He highlights, what he calls, Modern Liberalism in which moral and traditional boundaries have been moved.  This poses serious new challenges both on our moral and financial frontiers. Change is happening!  What would he say, I wonder, about South Africa, if he understood its extreme complexities.   His blog deserves a read for it is food for thought, as we focus on Entrepreneurship, and the future.    steverroseblog[dot]com

I have written a simple article on Entrepreneurship, which introduces CareSA Designs, my entrepreneur enterprise to this subject.  See some of the CareSA Designs below.

Click  on    http://caresafoundation.wordpress.com/caresa-designs/  to view more of my designs.  I would appreciate your comments on these.

At a meeting, called for by Soul Action and Crossroads in Durban, we focused on Entrepreneurial Development.  Some of the complexities that arose, as experienced by some of the Project Leaders who work deep in the Kwa Zulu Natal rural community are :  Cultural traditions.  Communities shackled by a poverty mindset.  Hindering jealousies at signs of progress.  No self-contribution required resulting in lack of ownership of  projects. The different tiers of economic development, and world views.  For there are many “worlds” in this world we call South Africa. These were only some of the topics.

As South Africans we have a tendency to focus on our overwhelming problems. Take the problems and find the solutions” – were words spoken by a global entrepreneur. We may need new approaches, innovations and community creativity to solve our problems. In a world of change there is one constant, the Word of God, the Bible. We will leave an indefinable injustice behind if we do not take the Word of God with us into Social Development. For within its pages lie the sustainability of faith hope love and everything else in between, for the renewing of the mind and for a good future. The Bible is the road map for all ages … no matter how much change happens!

It may take courage to move into the trend of entrepreneurship and the fickle waters of finance.  But if wholeness, social and human development remain the focus, the tug and pull of wealth-creation may just drag poverty into progress. When we leave our “Egypt”  to possess our “promised land” the journey will be hard and long.  Above it all we must remember to give God the glory for His goodness, for it is He who gives power to get wealth.

Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth… Deuteronomy 8:18

Introduction to CareSA

The CareSA Foundation

CareSA has grown from the concept Care South Africa : The Christian Resource Centre for Poverty Alleviation in 2001 to the CareSA Foundation in the coming 2015. The original vision was to encourage Christians to participate in community service through initiated campaigns, – and to seek out a national Christian strategy for poverty alleviation. This vision was housed and honed from CareSA Books, a Christian bookshop on the East Rand in Gauteng in South Africa.

Annual winter campaigns were initiated to appeal to the wider community for blankets and food for the poor, and to create an awareness of poverty in communities.

The Care Bag – a food parcel with vegetable seeds to plant food gardens, to encourage self-help projects.

In 2004 CareSA Foods saw the light of day with a focus on health, and creating income, that complimented the mindset to reach for wholeness in body soul and spirit, fuelled by a CareSA Newsletter to grow a network for health and wealth, as a means to combat poverty. Unfortunately it did not reach its potential., but the concept of a newsletter remained, probably the inception of this blog.

CareSA’s Let’s Talk was a community meeting, to discuss related social and emotional issues in the search for emotional healing, human development and wholeness.

CareSA Craft Project – generated micro incomes from the painting on shopping bags, developed into a sustainable sales project for more than two years.

New concepts began to form. And a CareSA fund for community service was initiated in 2006.

The need to network and find a wider reach saw a name change to CareSA Community Network, with a presence on the Internet., and with a newsletter called CareSA Chronicles to connect with community co-hearts.

1,000 Little Deeds of Kindness – a knitting project, with the knitting of squares to be sewn into blankets and distributed to the vulnerable and the frail in community, was a project that had a ripple effect in community, and endured far beyond expectation.

This campaign was a forerunner for
The Red Beanie Kindness Brigade – that focused on knitting beanies for children in needy areas, usually knitted by the Elderly folk in community.

This project spilled over into Care Lesotho and Care Botswana. Knitted beanies sent, with seeds for vegetable gardens, to contact caring persons in these two countries. So the seeds of a new vision were sown – Care Africa.

As hunger is the pivotal place for poverty alleviation it is necessary to encourage those in need to sustain themselves by planting their own food, and to begin to change the mindset from poverty to progress.

And so the seeds of the new vision began to grow : the Care Africa Movement project through Care Gardens, with the slogan : Plant a care garden in your yard, Plant a care garden in your heart.

CareSA Designs is a personal project, born out of the new trend in poverty alleviation and a developing new South Africa e.g. Entrepreneurship, creating a micro enterprise into a small business, using what is at hand, and what God-given talents are available.

As the new South Africa developed, and a sense of futility began to set in, new concepts with new writings began to form e.g. NEWSAS – the New South African Society, and SOCX, a vision for Social Caring, that are still incubating. blogging may bring constructive comment, and with faith hope and love these visions will grow and become a reality in South Africa, and indeed the African continent.

In 2011 CareSA relocated to Umhlanga in Kwa Zulu Natal, and the time had come to revamp the website, and a name change to that of the CareSA Foundation that incorporates past history and new concepts for a wider field of influence and exposure on the Internet – with a blog.

The website is being revamped, and may contain vision and other concept documents on social and human development in South Africa, when it is ready early in 2015.

The CareSA Foundation remains true to the original vision of community caring, and stands as a witness to the faithfulness of God that initiated this faith adventure from Ephesians 3:20,21   Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

CareSA
28 December 2014