Masicorp - Masiphumelele South Africa

MasiMail - April2009

The Masi Mail - A Newsletter for the Friends of Masiphumelele

April 2009

Dancers celebrate the groundbreaking for the new library extension

Dancers celebrate the groundbreaking for the new library extension.

This is the last Masi Mail from the current management. The next one will come to you from the energetic team that have worked with us for years and are now taking over.

 

March 17 Annual Meeting. Transition to new leadership.

The handover has taken place; The new MASICORP is is forging ahead with the same programs as well as fresh ideas and perspectives. The transition could not have gone better. At the Annual Meeting on March 17 we reviewed the past ten years. We have raised and spent a million dollars – all from private donations from about 80 donors each year. About a third of the money came from restricted donations (scholars, houses, donations for a particular purpose). A third came from unrestricted gifts and the rest came from the Founders.

Michael Tyhali is Principal of the Ukhanyo School

Michael Tyhali is Principal of the Ukhanyo School.

 

Where the money went:

Over the ten years, our biggest expense has been homebuilding (23%). MASICORP built 24 houses and supported the entry of Habitat for Humanity who built a further 100.

...14% went to the Ukhanyo School where we paid for students’ lunches, implemented a sports program, hired a professional educator to coach the teachers, ran AIDS awareness and computer classes, provided uniforms for the very poor and built a classroom.

...12% went to the library which MASICORP built in 2003 and extended in 2005. We have committed to continue the funding needed for outreach programs (about $1,000 a month) until 2017.

...11% was spent on bursaries for 11 students in high school, 13 students in college and 9 others who needed financial help for career development courses.

  • Nceba Jonase has run the Sports Program at Ukhanyo and the Community Sports Program for 7 years now. He is a dedicated sports coach.

    Nceba Jonase has run the Sports Program at Ukhanyo and the Community Sports Program for 7 years now. He is a dedicated sports coach.

...8% was spent on community projects such as the early blockmaking manufacturing, baboon watch, building the Sosebenza youth center and Ikhaya Labantwana crèche and helping to finance a second cr èche.

  • 8% was spent supporting the volunteers from outside Masiphumelele who came into the township to help in the school, the library and the sports program.

  • And the rest went to program management, accounting, legal, fund raising and other administrative expenses; these were covered by the Founders.

 

Has this been a success?

At the tenth Annual Meeting, we reflected on whether we can count MASICORP’s performance as a success. What are the measures of success? 24 houses? 33 bursaries? 5 community buildings?

We prefer for success or failure to be measured by the sustainability of what has been created. Anyone with an ounce of organizational ability and an open check book can be a hero in Africa. However, it is what happens after they leave that determines the value of their endeavors.

Seni is at CPUT studying to be a teacher and hopes to receive a government scholarship. He taught in our computer program in the library last year.

Seni is at CPUT studying to be a teacher and hopes to receive a government scholarship. He taught in our computer program in the library last year.

Africa is littered with abandoned projects which were started, funded and run by well intentioned people from overseas. Staying power can only be accomplished if enduring partnerships are created. MASICORP has been blessed with partners both within Masiphumelele and in surrounding communities who will carry this work forward.

A second measure of success is “priming the pump”. We were the first to replace shacks with houses in Masiphumelele. Now many houses have been built. When our scholars went on their bicycles to the nearby junior high school, there were very few Masi kids leaving to go to better schools. Now there are many in different school uniforms coming back to Masi after school each day.

Thirdly, the backbone of this organization has been the volunteers. It began with two and now there are 72.

Xolisa is in his senior (matric) year at High School. He likes math but does not like Physics.

Xolisa is in his senior (matric) year at High School. He likes math but does not like Physics.

We have volunteers in Masi who previously would not think of volunteering. When MASICORP built the Sosebenza youth center 41 unemployed young adults gave 705 hours of their time to help build it. We have volunteers from outside Masi who were previously afraid to come in. They wanted to help but did not know how to connect or what to do. Supporting volunteerism from black and white people alike has been an important success for us.

 

Finally, we have focused on children and leaders. We have sought to infect the change makers. There are no official leaders in Masiphumelele, but there are those who stand out as community minded people and they provide leadership. MASICORP built houses for many of them.

Bongi is in Grade 5 and doing very well. She is Loyisos sister.

Bongi is in Grade 5 and doing very well. She is Loyiso’s sister.

 

They have become friends and while only they can credit for their actions, we are so pleased to see David Mkwezo leading the application for housing subsidies for the community, Doreen Zanyiwe leading the Masiphumelele Women’s Organization, Vuyisile Dlavuza leading COPE, the new political party, in Masiphumelele. And the children are the leaders and change makers of tomorrow.

 

Time to look forward

Andrew Smith, introduced to you in the December 2008 Masi Mail, was elected the new CEO of MASICORP at the Annual Meeting in March. The rest of the local team has stayed on board and, with Andrew, is continuing the management of MASICORP with significant experience and expertise, as well as great enthusiasm.

 

Polly Saul has pioneered Philosophy for Children and has trained a team of volunteers to teach in Ukhanyo. This year they are teaching all of Grade 7. The program focuses on literacy and expression, eye contact, and other basics of English communication.

Polly Saul has pioneered Philosophy for Children and has trained a team of volunteers to teach in Ukhanyo. This year they are teaching all of Grade 7. The program focuses on literacy and expression, eye contact, and other basics of English communication.

The library extension groundbreaking took place in March and building should be completed within the year. The Thinking Skills program (now relabeled “Philosophy for Children or P4C) has been expanded from a small group of children to the entire 7th grade of the Ukhanyo School with the addition of a dozen newly trained volunteers.

The team is exploring ways to improve assistance to local entrepreneurs and expand the WordWorks literacy program. Other programs will undoubtedly be revamped, reduced or expanded as time passes.

The biggest challenge will be fundraising. The library is endowed until 2017. The next extension to the library will be built this year with money raised largely in South Africa. MASICORP has enough money to get through most of this year.But the world’s economic condition makes philanthropy more difficult to fund.

Thembani and Busisiwe are engaged ex-scholars. Thembani works for an accounting firm and is studying for his degree and Busisiwe is learning the printing business.

Thembani and Busisiwe are engaged ex-scholars. Thembani works for an accounting firm and is studying for his degree and Busisiwe is learning the printing business.

 

Led by Andrew Smith, the team plans to apply new energy to fundraising in Europe and in South Africa. They are fully committed and we have every confidence that they will succeed.

 

The Founders will continue to be involved with fund raising and broad oversight of MASICORP activities but the day-to-day decisions will be made in South Africa. To you who have supported us, please stay with us. We need you more than ever in this difficult economic environment.

 

 

Mzido is at False Bay College where he is studying Boatbuilding. He loves the course so far - they are teaching him how to sail.

Mzido is at False Bay College where he is studying Boatbuilding. He loves the course so far - they are teaching him how to sail.

 

 

 

 

It’s difficult to know how to end. I cannot do better than quote a recent letter from Carol:-

"As you all know it's been a roller coaster ride and we are now experts at doing the Masi Mambo - two steps forward, one back, one step forward, two back. We've made some wonderful friends, both white and black and they all ask "when will you be back, you are returning aren't you"?

Our experience has been frustrating, rewarding, tearful, happy, devastating. Everyone says "you should write a book" or they say "you could consult to other non-profits knowing what you know".

It all began with a creche for Doreen, leader of the Masiphumelele Womens organization..

It all began with a creche for Doreen, leader of the Masiphumelele Women’s organization..

 

 

It's been a fascinating journey for John and me. We've become partners in doing something together which many couples don't.

It's been rocky at times, we've yelled at each other but it's been awesome making decisions together, traveling down different paths but always reconnecting with a solution to a problem.

Africa is a glorious continent, beautiful with huge problems which the governments don't solve. It deserves our help because in the end it's always about the people who need the knowledge and experience that we whiteys have and which they don't receive from their governments. "

 

Group of scholars

We thank the people of Masi who have taken us into their homes and shared their successes and failures and we thank the whiteys for assisting us - Carol Hanks, Jill Stirrup, Cynthia Smetherham, Polly Saul, Elize Taylor, Sue Alexander and all the volunteers at the libary, Jane Philippi and Bob Rothschild.

John and Carol Thompson - Founders

John and Carol Thompson

 

There are hundreds of people who have aided and abetted us as we have undertaken this journey. And to all our donors, none of this would have happened if it weren't for you.

 

Our heartfelt thanks to all of you.

 

 

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