Exciting times are afoot at Isibani … No, we are not closing and we are not moving overseas. Read on to find out what is actually happening with Isibani and in particular with the current site.
Isibani opened the doors to the community centre in 2008 and since then we have served many hundreds of people with varying needs. Our aim has always been to help to bridge the gap between the services needed by the community and the services the government is able to offer. In order to serve our community effectively we have to respond to changing community needs and avoid duplication of effort. We also have to work alongside and partner with Government as we ultimately serve the same people.
We were blessed in 2007 to be allowed the use of the Old Celimfundo school site and since that time the site has been used for many different projects and events. The role of Isibani has grown and evolved since 2008 and as a team we feel it is time for the next season to begin … we are planning to move our core operations to a site located in Khetani. We want to be more accessible to the people we serve and to offer more door to door holistic care and forming better relationships with our clients is our main focus.
This move has been on our hearts for at least 12 months and now in God’s timing we have not only identified a suitable site in Khetani to operate from but are able to offer many buildings making up our current site back to Celimfundo Primary School who are massively overcrowded with 1100 children attending school there.
Our plan is that the school will take over the buildings at the rear of the site and that the front buildings will be used as clinic by Isibani in conjunction with the Department of Health. The mobile clinic visits Isibani once each week and once we have restructured we hope to be able to extend the clinic hours and subject to funding, pray that one day we can have a full time nurse and permanent clinic on site saving people lengthy and expensive trips to Emmaus.
As part of our “shake up” we have also looked again at how we provide food support and together with the Matthew 25 committee are transitioning this service into the next level. We have conducted many home visits and identified who we believe to be the poorest of the poor, we are able to visit these families regularly and provide pre cooked meals and basic supplies as and when they are needed rather than handing out generic food parcels each month.
The next stage in our feeding programme is to open a soup kitchen, we hope that this will operate from the newly built and equipped kitchen at Celimfundo Primary School (this was funded by a generous donation from US donors). Children at the primary school receive one cooked meal per day and we would aim to provide a subsequent nutritional filled meal for those in need as well as home work support, counselling, spiritual support and an opportunity for us to address other social problems.
We are working closely with the Department of Health and taking more responsibility for malnourished children in Khetani and will have access to dietary supplements as needed. In our experience a malnourished child will lead to us to a family with many other problems and as part of our holistic approach we hope to identify these families and offer support as needed.
We have also been working closely with the Department of Social Development and intend to employ a dedicated social worker to assist with the many social problems in the area. This person together with our auxiliary workers will be accessible to the community and will also work alongside our feeding programme running from the school.
We are very excited about all these changes which we believe will uplift the community.