Ethos Marketing is, through our association with Cathedral Peak Hotel in the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, proud to be a part of a very special fundraising project!
Cathedral Peak Hotel, has in conjunction with the local Zulu village community in the valley below, set up a Section 21 company (not-for-gain) called ZAMORI to try to alleviate poverty and uplift the local Zulu village, with the focus on the most vulnerable – its littlest members.
Besides trying to employ as many local people at the hotel as possible, the hotel has been involved for some time with the local crèche and 5 primary schools.
THE LITTLE ONES NEED OUR HELP…
The crèche receives no Government assistance whatsoever so it has minimal resources to say the least. There are currently 26 children at the crèche, squeezed into one classroom – if you can call it that! Just a small room with bare mud walls, only one table and 2 battered plastic garden chairs. That’s it folks Monday to Friday, 26 little ones sitting on the floor. No toilet, no heaters, minimal toys, no fridge, no running water, nothing.
Many of these little ones walk miles to get to this school – often without shoes on. The “lucky ones” who do have shoes often carry them to school and put them on as they get there to maintain them for longer. It breaks your heart to see how little they are … and how little they have.
Cathedral Peak is currently doing what it can – where it can, to help. For instance the hotel provides a healthy meal for every toddler at the school every school day. This may not sound that impressive, until you realise that, for most of the children, this is ALL they will eat all day – and often nothing on the weekends. So effectively, attending school means not going to bed with an empty tummy.
Most of the crèches are run from individuals homes – traditional mud huts. Communication between the local white population and the Zulu population can be challenging as few white people speak good Zulu, the crèche teachers speak hardly any English and none of the little children speak English.
A typical day in the life of a child under 10 yrs old is very different from ours in the UK. Most homes in this valley are still without electricity and none have running water. The villagers are very proud of their homes and do what they can to make them attractive, but in most cases, its all about survival. Sadly, largely because of AIDS, there are many orphans and child-headed families – children bringing up smaller children. They take on all the household chores as well as fetching and carrying water, tending crops, herding cattle and goats and washing clothes in the river. But when they can, the children try to attend school to get educated in the hope of a brighter future – which is why we need your help!
We believe that ALL children need support, to be fed and to get an education … but also to be able to just “be children” sometimes! To have fun and play. The Zulu children are very imaginative and creative and mostly make their own toys. Boys make cars and wagons from bits of wire and rubbish whilst the girls learn to weave sleeping mats and baskets. They also enjoy traditional Zulu games. But they would so love to play with normal toys such as balls, dolls, cars and tea sets – just like our own children. Which is where our project comes into play!
A WALK FOR WEE ONES…
The owners, the van der Riet family, and the hotel will of course be continuing its crèche feeding scheme, but we are now taking this support a step further and have created a supportive partnership between an English school, namely Keston Primary School in Surrey and one of the rural Zulu creches and primary schools, namely Impumelelo Creche and Ididima Primary School.
The children at Keston will be working together to raise money to enable us to buy desperately needed provisions for these children to make their lives a little easier and a little more fun. If possible, we would like to be able to give each and every child at the crèche and primary school a pair of shoes and a toy of their very own – be it a skipping rope for the girls or a ball or small car for the boys. Other items such as educational materials like pencils and crayons will be bought if enough money is raised.
Amanda England from Ethos Marketing will be visiting the crèche and primary school in May with Zamori Cathedral Peak Hotel to hand over the items bought with the money raised by the pupils at Keston Primary School. Amanda has a child in year one at Keston, hence the link up between the schools.
The school is kindly arranging a fun and educational sponsored “Walk for wee ones” on 30 March 2011 with markers showing how far the little ones in the Zulu villages walk to get to school each day. If you are a parent at Keston reading this page, please support and sponsor your children however you can – knowing what an enormous difference it will make for this little crèche and primary school in Africa.
We hope this will also be something both schools can use to learn about each others culture and lifestyle – and to share messages, ideas and support. Because of the language barrier, the children from both schools will be creating colourful murals depicting life in their part of the world which will be used to be both decorative and educational – as well as sharing photos.
LIFE IN THE LOCAL VILLAGE
Although our project focus is currently on the one crèche and primary school, Zamori helps many different families in the local community where life is very difficult…
We recently met Ntombizodwa Mdluli who on her child grant of just less than R300 (£30) per month supports herself, her brother, and a whole heap of other family members. We were kindly invited indoors out of the wind and were shocked to see what comprised their home. Two flattened foam mattresses on the floor, a pile of blankets neatly folded out of the way and a single candle. We were not sure what the candle was for because the holes in the tin roof provided plenty of light. No furniture, no cupboard, nothing. This is poverty.
And if we thought that was bad we walked 15 minutes away from the nearest dirt track to a home where child grants are not an option – Granny Shabalala has never succeeded in getting an ID book – so neither her, nor her son or her 3 young daughters have got one either, and between them they are supporting 12 children on the fresh air of the Drakensberg and help from strangers. You can’t see their house from the road to Cathedral Peak Hotel – you can’t even imagine how quiet and isolated it is there. And they live there because that’s where they were born, and there’s nowhere else to go, not even after school, because they are nobody. And they will line up on Thursday morning when the Department of Home Affairs arrives at the Community Centre, and patiently stand in a queue again, and hope that something might change. It is bleak to say the least…
HOW ZAMORI HELPS
With a vast population of rural, unskilled and unemployed villagers on the hotel’s door step, needs in the local communities range from grants for Identity photographs which cost R20 each (less than £2) through to assistance with claiming relatives from the mortuary and basic food parcels. For example, recently…
*Ntombi zodwa Mdluli supports her 4-year-old daughter and extended family on a child grant of just less than R250 (£20) per month. Zamori was able to assist the family to collect her brother’s body for burial.
*The Shabalala family, who are without any breadwinners, were assisted with cash for ID photographs, so that family members could apply for ID books and access social grants.
*The Zamori committee also arrange sports and cultural events in the villages, showcasing craft work by pensioners and keeping teenagers and young adults profitably occupied.
WHERE THE MONEY GOES…
Zamori will endeavour to assist the community wherever possible, and all requests for assistance are considered on a case-by-case basis. Appropriation of donations is jointly agreed by a committee comprising of 3 hotel representatives and 3 members from the local communities, namely Mhlwazine and Magangozi.
These people don’t want charity – they want work, self-respect, opportunity and a bit of hope. Just like the candle in Ntombizodwa’s hut – despite all odds, there remains just a flicker of hope.
Donations to Zamori will be acknowledged, and all donors will be updated on community projects and how their money has been spent.
If anyone would like to make a direct donation to the charity you can do so as follows:
ZAMORI: current account # 622 7100 8809 FNB Bergville branch # 220625