Mission to South Africa
Mom Batha/Orphans feedback
Dear family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ I cannot believe that it has been almost 7 months since we first met Mom Batha and the orphans she feeds! So much has happened in these past few months and we would like to give you all feedback on developments. Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to say a big, warm and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who has helped support Mom Batha and the kids in some way, whether it be financially, donating goods, giving of your time, or simply just praying – all of this has helped to substantially better the lives of every child under Mom Batha’s care. What started out as a “Christmas party project” has turned into something so much more, and bigger than we could ever comprehend. Since we spread the word about Mom Batha and the orphans in October last year, Aletheia has received financial donations in excess of R60 000 (Roughly 3500 pounds/6000 US Dollars)! Through your generosity we have been able to support Siyathuthuka (Mom Batha’s centre) in the following ways: - In December we hosted a Christmas party where we bought gifts for over 100 children. Roughly R8000 (450 Pounds/800 Dollars) was spent on the party. We divided the gifts into age categories. The toddlers received age appropriate toys, the older children received toys as well as sports goods: eg. soccer balls for the boys and dolls for the girls. The teenagers received an item of clothing and toiletries. Woolworths (A major food and clothing chain in South Africa) provided all the food for the party, as well as additional gifts for each child. I get very emotional when I think back to that day, the smiles on their faces and the absolute delight in their eyes – up until that day I can promise you those children had never experienced anything like that before - and neither had I. - We bought a new two plate portable stove top for Mom Batha, as she had been cooking maize meal (A traditional South African food type – almost like porridge) for all these children on a very old stove top with only one top working. It was Mom Batha’s personal stove top, which she would carry to and from the centre each day. A second hand fridge was donated, which has been very welcome for storing fresh produce. - With financial donations we were able to have electricity installed, at a cost of R7000 (400 Pounds/700 Dollars). This included numerous lights and plug points in both the rooms. Previously Mom Batha was running an extension cord from the Chief of the hostel’s home in order to cook food. There were no lights, so when it became dark it was almost impossible to do anything. - As mentioned before, the children have been making use of a bucket, half filled with water in the corner of the kitchen, as the centre does not have a toilet. Neither are there any taps (ie. running water) in the building. A fantastic group of ladies managed to raise R16 500 (970 Pounds/1650 US Dollars) of the R22 200 (1300 Pounds/2200 US Dollars) needed for a bathroom to be built onto the centre. The balance of R5700 (330 Pounds/570 Dollars) will be paid out of donations received. This includes 3 toilets and a basin. Building started this past Friday 16 May, and should be completed by the end of this week. We will take lots of photos throughout construction and will post them on our Facebook page. - Siyathuthuka operates out of two rooms adjacent to a main hall. The two rooms have separate entrances, one is used as a kitchen, the other as the day care centre. The chief of the hostel has allowed Mom Batha to use the one room exclusively as the day care centre. The other room she is allowed to use as a kitchen, but this room is also used by numerous other people. We found this out today, and have realized that the day care centre needs it’s own kitchen, as well as dining area. Whenever people make use of the kitchen, mom Batha has to move all the food and kitchen accessories across to the day care centre for fear of theft. Building a kitchen/pantry, as well as a dining area is our next priority. The same group of ladies who donated funds towards the bathroom, have pledged to fence off an outside play area for the children, as currently they are confined indoors for the entire day. - One of the Woolworths stores in close proximity to the centre donates fresh produce twice a week to the centre, and Cliffview Primary School here in Johannesburg has twice donated canned goods to the centre. From the financial donations received, Aletheia does bulk purchases every two to three weeks of canned goods, non-perishables, essential foods, and toiletries. When we first met Mom Batha, the children were being fed twice a day, two to three days per week. They never received dinner. We are now able to provide three meals per day seven days a week. Food purchases amount to roughly R4000 (250 pounds/400 US Dollars) per month. - Numerous children’s books as well as stationery, a television, video machine and lots of children’s videos have been donated for educational purposes. Aletheia has also purchased educational posters that are being used to educate the children. During the day Mom Batha and her helpers look after the younger children while the older children go to school. These ladies have no formal training when it comes to running a day care centre and educating the children. In addition to Mom Batha, Aletheia supports three day care centres in Soweto with weekly food donations. My mom, Connie, arranged for the ladies from these centres to go to Mom Batha on a few occasions and assist with training the ladies and introducing a system which they can work by. This has been very helpful, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The sad truth is that there are millions of under privileged children who receive no form of education until they go to grade one. One of our primary goals is to assist in training these ladies and providing the pre-school education these children so desperately need. - Busi is a 13 year old girl who is fed by the centre. She suffers from Spina Bifida, a condition where some of the vertebrae over the spinal cord do not fully develop. As a result of this, Busi has been confined to a wheelchair her whole life. When we met Busi, she was making use of a wheelchair, which was on the brink of falling apart. A local pastor very kindly donated a brand new wheelchair for Busi. As a result of Busi’s condition, it was impossible for her to attend school, as there was nobody able or willing to pay for her school fees and transport needed to get her to and from school. For the past 6 years Busi has received no formal education. Through your donations, we have been able to enrol Busi in a school, arrange transport to and from school everyday, and buy her the necessary school uniform. Again, there is lots of work to be done, as Busi has missed out on so much that she has had to start at grade 5 level, which is three grades lower than she should be. - Another heartbreaking story is Nkokhelo, a 14 year old, mentally handicapped orphan. From the age of 7 or 8 Nkokhelo has been the parent figure to his younger siblings. When we first met Nkokhelo he did not want to come near us, and hated being touched by another human being, especially strangers. Through God’s love over the past few months we are now able to hug him every time we see him, as well as enjoy his broad grin every time he sees us. Just over a month ago, family of Nkokhelo came to Johannesburg and took his siblings away to live with them – over 500km away. He was absolutely devastated that his brothers and sisters had been taken from him. He was constantly depressed, and withdrew immensely. Sadly he was not taken with, as we think the family was not prepared to look after a mentally handicapped child. Nkokhelo was also not attending a school as he had no money or transport to get to a special needs school. Through donations we have located and enrolled Nkokhelo at a school, and they provide transport to and from school everyday. Every child under mom Batha’s care has a heartbreaking story to tell. Most are orphans, some have simply been abandoned by their parents. Those who have one or both parents, still have to eat at Mom Batha, as their parents don’t work and cannot provide food. Unemployment is rife in these areas, and has led to alcohol and physical abuse amongst these families. There are up to four families living in a single room the size of a bedroom. - Upon my first visit to Mom Batha last October, it took all of 5 minutes for the Lord to humble me like never before. Every time I visit Mom Batha, it reminds me of just how blessed I am with everything I have. These children have nothing, yet they always smile, and are so filled with love for these white people who have come into their lives. At any given time I have no less than 5 children, literally fighting to give me a hug. They call me “Ulungu”- which means “White man“ in Zulu. Most of these children had never seen a white person before. Even though these children look forward with tremendous excitement to their mealtimes, we will always have children wanting to share their food with us. - Making sure these children have food is an absolute necessity, and is a fantastic platform from which to provide them with spiritual food as well. Another goal is to establish a weekly children’s ministry service. This past week we had story time, where we told the children about God and how He created everything. The language barrier made it quite a challenge, but fortunately we had an interpreter on hand. We are also in the process of sourcing Zulu Bibles for the children. - In South Africa there are many cases like Mom Batha and Siyathuthuka centre. Aletheia International Ministries has been supporting the widows, orphans and destitute for well over 30 years. In addition to Mom Batha, we support three day care centres in Soweto, a youth centre in Alexandra, two churches, an old aged home, and four rural villages (Combined total of 196 children) in the North of South Africa. Just like Mom Batha, these villages have no infrastructure, and receive no support from anyone. For the past year we have been assisting these villages by purchasing food to the value of R5000 (300 pounds/500 US Dollars) per month. Unfortunately funds have run desperately low, and we are in serious danger of not being able to provide funds for food. - Supporting Mom Batha as well as the abovementioned centres requires regular funding, something Aletheia is in desperate need of. As with any organization, there are running costs involved, eg: rent, fuel, telephones, vehicle maintenance, insurance, etc. We therefore make an appeal for regular funding in order to carry on with the work we do. We are a registered non profit organization, our books are audited yearly, and we are able to provide invoices for tax write off purposes. Aletheia is and always has been a voice to the orphans, widows and the poor of our country. By the grace of God we will continue to do so for many years to come. May God richly bless you for your faithfulness in giving. Sincerely,,
Morne Wicks 
(on behalf of Aletheia International Ministries) 19 May 2014

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