Isiphephelo/Isibani …. Whats new?

We have great news, Zanele Mchunu, previously of World Vision, Bergville has recently joined our team. Since starting in July she has taken over the management of the organization, Zanele comes with lots of experience and knowledge in terms of community development and she is taking the organization to a new level in order to help us better support our community.

You will no doubt have noticed that the new Community Hall is now open and operational, it is an huge space and such a blessing. The Mobile clinic has now moved its services across and the new space enables the health services to be much better organized. Services are able to be delivered more effectively and efficiently by making use of all the extra facilities and space.

The Dept of Health are in the midst of handing over the distribution of all chronic medication to a private company that will make the pickup of medications more efficient and ideally available from locations closer to the patients home.

Isibani’s role has always been to bridge the gap between what the community needs and what the government is offering, this now means that we can now focus our attention now on the social issues and the long term sustainable projects that will uplift this community.

As we mentioned in an earlier article the Old Celimfundo / Isibani site (better known as the yellow buildings opposite the turn to Cathedral Peak and Emmaus owned by NG Kerk Winterton) is again being used by Celimfundo primary school. The site is able to offer another 9 classrooms to the school whose current site otherwise caters for more than a 1200 students in 15 classrooms. This is still in transition.

This now leaves us with two main sites, Isiphephelo Place of Safety in Mayors walk and our new welfare site in Khetani township, known as Ekukhanyeni. Our welfare site runs a weekday soup kitchen and is the base for Matthew 25 food distribution, trainings, workshops, welfare and awareness programmes.

Other news is that Sofi, the founder and until recently the manager of Isibani and Isiphephelo is leaving us for a new adventure. After many years of service Sofi and her family are taking a couple of years out to live, work and for Doong and Miya, attend school in the UK. We wish her all the best and hope she remembers to pack her rainwear !!

As an organization we would like to thank you all once again for the support we receive from the community and churches. Thank you for your prayers, gifts, donations and acts of service, it truly is a community owned organization.

Isibani and Matthew 25

We have been busy over the Christmas period with renovations to our new site as Isibani also transitions into the new year and a new season.

You will have read in previous updates that we are moving into Khetani to be closer to the community we serve and to be more accessible to those in need, the renovations are going well and we expect to be in our new site very soon.

Together with Matthew 25 we are delivering pre-cooked meals to those in need In Khetani; we deliver to people’s homes so are able to pray with them and walk with them as they navigate life’s challenges. Through these regular home visits, twice weekly, we are able to monitor our clients and ensure they are receiving help appropriate to their current need. Logistically we are not able to visit the farms so often so families living outside of Khetani still receive maize meal plus supplementary food parcels.

We work closely with SAPS and are often invited to accompany them to homes where there have been reports of abuse, this ensures that the victims receive suitable counselling from the outset and we are grateful to SAPS for allowing us to assist them in this area.

We hope in 2016 we can continue to build relationships built on trust and that we can offer care and practical support to those in need. Please continue to pray for everyone involved in this ministry.

Isiphephelo Place of Safety Update

wton news update_photo

On behalf of Isiphephelo, both children and staff, we would like to thank the local Winton community and all our overseas friends for their support of the place of safety throughout 2015. Thank you in particular to those of you who brought Christmas gifts and for making Christmas a very special time for our children (despite having an outbreak of mumps).

We admitted 28 new children during 2015, of these children 9 were able to be re-united with family members, 8 were placed in children’s homes and 11 are still with us as we start 2016. 2015 was an awesome year, full of God’s grace and provision, we continue to learn so much as we grow together as a team and care for the children placed in our care.

There are so many people to thank, people that make our work possible: our loyal staff, volunteers and board members, SAPS, the Winterton Community who help us in so many ways from grass cutting, homework support, sorting and packing clothes, Sunday school lessons to donations of food and clothing. Thank you, we really do appreciate everything you do, however big or small.

Over the past year we have seen children grow and mature, we have seen their personalities develop, we have laughed, we have cried , we have loved and we have being loved and we look forward to 2016 with anticipation of what God has in store for us next ..


Update from the Isibani Health Team – Sindy and Ncami

Mobile Clinic
The mobile clinic visits Isibani twice a month and since we started working so closely together there has been a huge improvement in the level of service. The Isibani health team are able to make sure that we screen all patients and do vital signs to make things easier for the clinic staff. Because we are able to do the initial screening the clinic staff are able to see many patients each day,  +/- 300 per clinic day. After we have done the screening we make sure that those who are very sick are seen first so that they can be sent to hospital for further management.

Club Day
In addition to the twice monthly clinic days, the pharmacist from our local hospital, Emmaus, also comes every other Monday to hand out chronic medication including ARV’s.  This is far more convenient for our clients as they live in and around Winterton and on surrounding farms and a trip to Emmaus hospital is expensive and time consuming. We have seen that having medication easily accessible helps to minimize the number of defaulters.
The Isibani health team is also on hand to screen patients and to ensure that those who have side effects and develop other sickness are referred to hospital.  This is particularly important because we have seen clients become resistant to treatment and develop other diseases which need to be treated immediately to prevent complications.
When people come to the clinic or to collect their medication we make sure we give health education on different topics, we have found this to be very effective and our clients are happy to participate.

HCT (HIV counselling and testing) and adherence training
It is so good for us to see that there are more people who come for testing especially males as they have been a reluctant group in the past.  Even if they test positive we are seeing a change in attitude where they take their status more seriously, listen to our advice and ensure they start on treatment.
It is not good that people are still living lives that expose them to the risk of HIV but if they do choose to risk exposure we are thankful at least that they choose to take action to know their status.
We also do patient literacy, this is a workshop attended by all clients who have tested positive and is compulsory before they start on ARV treatment. The purpose of the workshop is to help clients understand the importance of adherence to the treatment and to be aware of minor and major side effects. It also helps them to know the danger of not taking treatment properly or defaulting. We make sure that we do further adherence training with those who have defaulted the treatment and try to identify the reason for their default..

This year in March, we had a male client who came in having had half of his foot amputated. The wound was so bad and smelly that it was the first time for both of us to see something as bad as that.  The good news, though, is that with regular cleaning and dressing changes the wound completely healed and the client is so very happy.
Whilst doing home visits around the township we came across another client who is diabetic, she had very bad sores (ulcers) on her left leg. She had been advised that she may need an amputation but she decided to stay at home until we were able to visit here. Again with regular cleaning and dressing changers the healing is going very well.  There are so many other dressings we are doing and we are so proud that they we have been able to help so many people.
For most people a trip to Emmaus Hospital is expensive, impractical and can involve very long waiting times.  That is why so many people after surgery or treatment fail to return for dressing changes.  We are always happy to help with these cases as we have seen so many times the importance of keeping wounds clean so they can heal properly and not cause further infections.

Home Visits
We spend at least four days each week conducting home visits to our clients.  They may be people who are just starting treatment, those who are very sick or some who are disabled.  For us it is so good that we have a lot of time to see our clients and to spend time with them, not just dealing with the medical condition but talking with them, praying with them and sharing the word of God with them.

Every time we see a client we pray to God for His mercy because we cannot do this work on our own.  It is only possible because He is our pillar of strength. Without God, there is no way to do anything.

Ncami : Don’t wear a mask, just be yourself.
Sindy : God is the light, lets share it with those who need it.

Issues with Birth Certificates and ID books

A case was reported to me where children were not going to school because they didn’t have birth certificates, they were staying at home doing nothing whilst other children went to school.  I went to the school and talked with the principal to see if he could help, the children are now at school just like all the other children and their mother is so happy she was singing the praises of Isibani and said that Isibani really did bring the light to their situation.

Sometimes we come across families with missing birth certificates or ID books, this does cause challenges when they want to enroll in school or later in life when they want to find a job.  It is possible to obtain these documents but can mean a few trips to home affairs.  Isibani are able to help by letting our clients know exactly what documents they should take, this saves a lot of wasted trips.

Helping with food parcels and other challenges
Part of my role at Isibani is to help with delivery of food parcels, we deliver to a few farms around the Winterton area feeding those who can’t feed themselves.  Often when visiting with a food parcel we come across other challenges in the household.  We recently found a young mum who has 4 children, she is an orphan and has no ID book.  Without an ID book she cannot claim social grants for her children, she does not have a birth certificate herself and with both parents deceased it becomes more difficult for her to get an ID.
We were able to assist by taking her and her aunt to home affairs where they were interviewed,  the young mum and the aunt are interviewed separately about their family structure and then the answers compared to ensure they were telling the truth and the identity of the young mum can then be confirmed.  After the interviews are successfully completed the ID application can be made.  She is now waiting for her ID book to be issued.
She was very happy to have received help as she has suffered for a long time without an ID book.

We are able to help lots of people with ID books and birth certificates, mostly this just involves giving them information about the process but in some cases we assist further by offering transport assistance and we also follow up on the progress of the application.  This is necessary in extreme cases of poverty or for our disabled or vulnerable clients.

Feeding at the primary school
We have recently started a feeding programme at our local primary school, Celimfundo.  The department of education provides one cooked meal to all children attending school but we know that for some children this may be the only decent meal they have each day.  We are now working with the school and providing a further meal to children as they leave school.  More than this, by being present at the school and meeting the children, we see those who clearly have other social problems, in these cases we can accompany the child home, meet the family and see if there are further areas where we can offer help.
The community are very grateful for the support we are offering with food for their children.
We also deliver meals to people who have health problems and are struggling to look after and feed themselves.  We pre-cook these meals and deliver them to our clients who then just need to warm them up at mealtimes.  Reaching out to these clients is an important part of our work, they need to take their medication with food and when they have no food they tend to default on their medication creating further health problems.  We are able to assist these clients until they get back on their feet.

From Thandi