Masi NGO Forum
Minutes of meeting held on Wed 8 February 2012 at Living Hope
Avril Thomas opened the meeting at 12.30 with a prayer and thanked Nicola Nagel of Work for Love for all that she does for the Masi NGO Forum.
The minutes of the previous meeting were proposed by Marti Wedderpohl and seconded by Samantha Simon.
New members were introduced and welcomed. All present introduced themselves and their organisations.
Matters arising from previous meeting:
1. 2nd Access road into Masi:
Dr Lutz van Dijk of HOKISA thanked everyone for signing the petition. The response to the petition was that six conditions have to completed first which will only happen in 2-3 years (The conditions are: 1. Town planning approval phase 4, 2. Environmental clearance 3. Securing funding, 4. Procurement of consultants, 5. Public participation, 6. Contractor procurement and appointment…from email of 29-11-2011 from Mark Finder, Directorate Transport, Roads and major Projects of the City of Cape Town). Lutz said that these conditions can be completed in much less time as was done at the Amakhaya Ngoku Housing Project. He said that we should not wait for more disasters to happen and that we should urge a new timetable. A motion was proposed that we do not accept the 2-3 year timetable. Shirley ? said that not everyone agrees. Marti Wedderpohl of Mercy Net suggested we break down the processes and put a timetable to each. Lutz responded that the professionals’ work should be respected, but that we should still request a speeding up the process as a whole. Shirley suggested that we acknowledge the fact that there are challenges for the City but that we would like to see the changes come sooner. All agreed and asked Lutz to write to Mr Pinder again on behalf of the NGO Forum with regard to this matter.
2. Ngo database:
Nicola Cox of Work for Love thanked everyone who filled in the form which she would email to all shortly. She said that donations towards printing costs would be gratefully received.
3. Richard Lundie of Living Way:
Richard detailed what is being done on the campus this year. In March a job application centre will be opened with the intention of providing access to job ads in newspapers, info about bursaries and scholarships, to provide email facilities and information as to how to write a CV. Guidance will be given but the applicants will have to apply for the jobs themselves. This is a pilot project with the plan of branching out into the surrounding communities.
Other courses offered on the campus include: How to start a business (including an agricultural business), sewing classes and woodworking. Free meeting are held beforehand so that people have fair expectations of what the courses are about. The courses are for people over 18 years of age as Living Way would like to encourage young people to stay at school. Living Way is recruiting trainers to take the courses off campus. Mziyanda Mphikwa of the Homeless People’s Project commented that LW should meet people half way and actually help them find employment. Richard commented that people need to have a sense of ownership and suggested that this discussion be taken further.
4. Kalyn Arndt Project Manager of All Nations Orphans and vulnerable children:
spoke about the desperate situations that they have encountered which led to the development of a system to assess children, to help them to procure government grants and to advocate for them. She described some of the situations several of their orphaned children have found themselves in the positive outcomes that have arisen out of their intervention. The organisation provides food packages, school uniforms, blankets and emergency provisions when disasters such as fires strike. Last year they took 60 children to a camp overlooking Camps Bay, which was a wonderful experience for them – just to get out of Masi. They plan to do this with families this year so that they too can have positive experiences. All Nations would welcome mentors willing to help. She stressed that “they must recognise that it is messy and complicated, but the attention and advocacy is changing lives” and they are “very proud of the kids”
Lutz offered his support and mentioned that All Nations has property on Montrose Road. He asked whether they worked with the official social workers at the Pink House.
5. Helen & Claudio Celestino of Constellations Trust:
spoke about their Enhancing Children’s Learning (ECL) program which was founded in England by ECL about 9 years ago. They run this program through the Constellations Trust, which offers services in different communities like Masiphumelele and Mitchell’s Plain. “Everything we – all of us present – are doing in Masiphumelele has an effect on everyone else. On a smaller scale are the family systems, some of which carry heavy burdens”. All of the Constellations Trust Projects attend to the emotional level – being concerned with how people are being supported emotionally and how they are they building up resilience to cope with the stressful lives they lead. All programs are about the concepts of “belonging and inclusion”. In Masi the adult male figure is often missing and the aim of the program is to bring in the parents “who are not present” so that the children can discover their roots – “one of the deepest and sometimes most painful issues of our lives”.
ECL works with teachers and caregivers at pre-primary and primary school level.
The DBL (Dissolving Barriers to Learning) project involves parents and teachers working together to solve the child’s difficulties. The OST (Open Space for Inspiration) project helps teenagers and young adults to engage in dialogue to help them to discover what it is they want to create out of their lives.
At a Child Shelter in Mitchell’s Plain Constellations Trust created the space for parent to work with and to see their children. “When parents release the pain from their pasts, they no longer need to pass it on to their children. Relationships with parents and grandparents were healed, through the participants acknowledging and honouring where they come from.”
Constellations Trust will be holding open workshops on the 16-17 June and 18-19 August 2012 where the focus will be on teaching the complementary systemic system to people working with youngsters. The cost is R2000 per person but concessions will be given to NGOs and NPOs.
6. Mziyanda Mphikwa and Sidwell Mpike of the Homeless People’s Project
proposed the formation of a “Community Support Network”. By way of introduction Mzi described his involvement with the Homeless People’s Project since 2006 when a group of unemployed young people wanted to engage with government to fight against homelessness and drug abuse. As a result the Dept of Social Development sponsored them a year’s course in Worcester where they learnt a variety of skills. Mzi set up the HPP in Masi and runs a number of projects including assisting drug addicts to access help, recycling and helping people to start their own food gardens. The organisation however needs more resources.
Sidwell said that they would like to see the establishment of a “Community Support Network” to assist the many small and emerging projects in Masi which often fail as people don’t have the capacity to see them through. He and Mzi invisage 6 members of the Masi NGO Forum working together with 6 members of the community to share skills and provide support systems at grassroots level. Monika du Sautoy of the St Francis Outreach Trust queried whether there will be people “on the ground” in Masi who will actually do the work. Nicola emphasised that the HPP was asking those of us with more experience to offer assistance, so that people could have “hope and a sense of possibility”. Viv von der Heyden of the Scenic South described the huge heaps of recycling that had been collected by member s of the HPP, which they are now having difficulty disposing of – a case of hearts being in the right place but lack of business skills and other skills setting the project up for potential failure. Cindy of eMzantsi said that they would gladly make use of some of the recycling material for the creation of the eMzantsi puppets and other items. She said that they run a year long course in the making of mirrors, costumes and ornaments. Lee Vestey, who attended the meeting in her private capacity as a person dedicated to recycling and the creation of food gardens, agreed that people needed to be referred to experts in various fields in order to help them create their own businesses.
Avril suggested that the Forum should find a way to offer resources and legal help and to network the strengths and skills within the group.
A list was circulated for volunteers to get involved in the formation of a Community Support network.
7. Marti Weddepohl of Mercy Net
commented that while the additional road into Masi is important , it will not in itself resolve the problems in the Wetlands area. The City is currently investigating the viability of a re-blocking campaign where residents assist them in creating spacing between houses, and creating spaces for roads etc. This is one part of a broader plan considered by the City to impact on the safety of communities. A Fire Safe Community Plan is also being developed for Masi through which a number of actions will be launched. The first part, a Fire Awareness campaign, started during December. This program is on-going and will be expanded from the children it is currently targeting to a much broader audience. Further actions will be launched as funds and approval are received. The aim is to strengthen preventative measures and re-enforce safety measures. It is also important that municipal laws and bylaws are enforced more actively. The citizens of Masi also need to take responsibility for the safety of their community.
Nicola suggested that the fire meetings within the community should be continued. There needs to be clarity as to what people will do in the event of another fire and community leaders need to have lists of where people live. Marti responded that they are creating a communication process. She added that the Masiphumelele community carries responsibility for a large number of the problems, that the residents must learn that they are co-responsible for the situations they are in and that there is a need to find the mechanisms to make the situation better now.
On the Health Issues in Masiphumelele , Marti reported the following: While health and sanitation concerns in the wetlands receive a lot of attention, a new report highlights the burden backyard dwellers are adding to the sewage systems of RDP housing developments. The problems caused by the additional load results in effluent- tainted water running down streets in these sections, and the measured e-coli count was dangerously high. Of the houses analysed during the study, over 80% of the taps are leaking, 63 %of the toilets are broken and newspaper is being used instead of toilet paper which is blocking the sewage pipes. She stressed that the residents need to be taught how to fix taps and toilets.
Additional taps and toilets need to be provided for the wetlands area, and plans for night-soil and solid waste receptors and removal systems need to be investigated and implemented as part of the broader process of creating healthier communities. Such as programme has been started by local authorities.
Lutz suggested that there should be one NGO forum for dealing with issues around disaster management. He said Masiphumelele should become a town like other towns. It needs its own municipality and a vision agreed upon by at least the majority of its residents that people can work towards and not just live day for day.
Avril suggested that a meeting be held within a month regarding disaster management – with people who are available to give solutions.
The disaster management meeting will be held on 13 March at 10am at the Living Hope facilities.
Mzi said that the community has asked for a mobile fire fighting station and a police station but has been told that there is no capacity for these. Marti said that Masi will be getting a mobile fire fighting unit with a fully equipped strike team.
Pap Smear Campaign by Living Hope: Tuesdays from 4.30 -7.30pm at Masiphumlelele Clinic. No bookings, free consultations. The project is also to provide mentorship and development of the Masi Clinic staff.
Dates of following Masi NGO Forum meetings: 8 May, 14 Aug, 13 Nov at 12.30 am at Living Hope.
The meeting ended at 3.15pm.
Viv von der Heyden