see website: www.thuthukani-preschool.co.za/
Thuthukani Creche in the rural area on the road to Paddock.
Building Thuthukani Creche was quite a unique endeavour in that the local municipality UGU, the local community (Mrs. Lushaba) and the church, the St. John's Lutheran Congregation, backed by congregations of the SELK in Germany, took hands together to get this building off the ground. The congregation has undertaken to supervise the maintenance of the building and by having members on the board to ensure the continuity of creche.
Thank You Lord for providing this opportunity!
Thank You Lord for providing this opportunity!
Angels Care KZN: Shelter for the Homeless
- History of the Angels Care KZN Centre
- and lessons learned by it
This scan through the history of the ACKZN is written from the perspective of the pastor of the St. John's Lutheran Parish. This report was accepted as a true account at the governing body meeting of 21 March 2015 in Elysium KZN.
- Peoples Rescue: First Phase
Soon another lady took over the management and she decided to do all devotions on her own. She eventually asked all pastors to not come any more as she wanted to do all the counselling herself. Most people left the centre as they were forced to listen to the DVDs of the specific confession of management. Where were these people going? The original lady came to the rescue and got hold of an old farm-house near Elim mission station. That is where most of the people from the shelter near Skogheim where going. At that stage people, who had migrated from this shelter to Paddock, managed to contact the pastor of St. Johns' Lutheran through the farmers living in the area. In this way the original Catechises and Counselling could continue at the new premises.
Still, there was no proper management in place and soon the centre was handed over to Angels Wings. Angels Wings is managed by a man and his wife who reside at the base homeless shelter in Benoni. He installed the current managers Janndre and Carlin as managers of the then Angels Wings. Now the centre had a more structured management. Janndre and Carlin had to report to a manager above themselves. This was the beginning of a relatively stable time of building up the old farmhouse. Nevertheless, conditions were harsh. The centre depended solely on donations. Janndre spent his time trying to find funds and food for the people. Another problem was, that management was on duty 24/7 for 365 days a year. This was a very unhealthy system, but without necessary funds what was to be done.
At some stage a couple from Richmond got involved. They had a shop and started to donate more and more to the centre. Through them more people got involved, even as far as Harburg. The local community climbed in and much assistance was granted. Many other congregations of the community got involved and regular services were held almost every Sunday. In the mean time some management frustrations had crept in as donations could not be handed over because no financial audit was available to proof transparency. It was in those days that the idea of calling in a proper governing body to run the centre was pursued. Janndre and Carlin applied for a NPO number so that the shelter with its own name, "Angels Care KZN", could start to implement its own governing body. A governing body structure was pursued because it would ensure that the centre would be run with proven accountability, balances and checks. After a long wait and after some handing over problems this eventually happened. A governing body was called together which started meeting regularly.
- Angels Care KZN: Second Phase
- Lake Placid
- The Move
- ACKZN in another Crisis
Some weeks before this critical meeting huge offence was taken by management when a self-proclaimed pastor, accompanied by the wife of the landlord, confiscated Baptism candles and wind-chimes because they were supposedly demonic. From management's point of view this is when serious tension arose. When the wife of the landlord refused the entry of a women with child because she was not married the relationship between management and the wife of the landlord finally broke down.
To cut a long story short: The wife of the landlord demanded that management be fired immediately and a long list of accused needed to be thrown out of the centre too. After a lengthy and lively debate the governing body decided to give management thirty days to get the centre in good order again. The main reason for granting this second chance was the lack of proper evidence. Secondly there was the reasoning that as this was more a shelter than a recovery centre, operating under very harsh conditions, having to deal with people who cannot help themselves it would be better for all involved to use this experience as a learning curve.
In the same week the wife of the landlord handed in her resignation from the governing body. After the governing body had received an appeal from all residents to get another chance, this was granted.
Due to the conflict between management and the governing body on the one hand and the wife of the landlord on the other hand, the landlord terminated the lease of the property. An agreement was reached to be out by the end of February 2015.
Of course a lot of detail is left out. This is just the bare-bone story of the conflict.
- Move to Elysium
- Lessons to be learned from the conflict
- There were different expectations as to what this centre was supposed to be. The expectations of the wife of the landlord were going more in the direction of a recovery centre which would not accept any deviation from the Law of God. The rest of the governing body saw this centre to be merely a shelter for the homeless. Such a shelter needs strict basic rules and governance. At the same time one needs to remember with whom you are dealing. Trying to rigidly enforce the Ten Commandments amongst people who have been kicked out so many times in their lives will not really help them. They will just be passed on. The deadly spiral will not be broken.
- One needs to understand the situation these people find themselves in. The thing which they have heard most of the time is exactly this: accusations. And rightly so. They are no angels. This is no secret. They come to the shelter because no one can or wants to help them any-more. This can often be heard when speaking to the relatives. So what does it help to once again kick them out? It is nothing new to them. They are so used to this action. They will just move on, to be kicked out again and again and again? Is that a solution? Is that the best we can do? Just give them the boot around South Africa? We have to realise they come to the shelter because neither they nor their relatives are able to help! Of course there needs to be boundaries.
- One of the big lessons we learn from this conflict is that this kind of shelter ultimately needs its own piece of land where vegetables and other food can be planted etc. At best the governing body should own the land so that the right measure of oversight and discipline can be applied without interference from outside. What these people need is stability, discipline and a safe haven to return to. Above all they need love and compassion. They need the sacrificial love of Christ more than anything else in the world which the Christian counsellors should convey to them. This compassion shown to them can give them hope. Once they have a little bit of hope the desire to change is close by. And with time, through many failures and backslides, there might be a slight improvement. This is a realistic scenario.
- Yet as a Christian one needs to be careful not to Bible bash or enforce Christianity on people. It should be offered, but never enforced. When the Gospel is preached in its orthodox form, it will come across as a fresh breeze of new life and new mercies for every morning. It is when the Gospel is turned into Law, that people are judged rather than forgiven! To be sure, there is a place for the Law of God, namely to condemn the old sinful nature. But the Gospel should be preached with the Law to ensure that despair does not set in. This means giving people more than one chance to fall and stand up again, as long as there is repentance somewhere along the line.
- If anyone does not want to be administered according to Christian teachings, this should be respected. The ACKZN is a homeless shelter for all people of all creeds and religions in the first place and not a church.
- The way forward: What would be necessary to really improve such a centre?
- A piece of land, maybe a small-holding, belonging to the governing body of the centre.
- Governing body envisaged to have a building or buildings with enough space for about a 100 people.
- At best such a centre needs some or at least one large company or group to sponsor them with a fixed or fairly fixed donation every month (Total of R60000+ / month) which would cover the basic food and living costs. Then the focus could be on the management of the people not where to get enough donations and food for the people.
- There needs to be proper training, holidays and career planning for management and other staff-members.
- Proper networking with local Police Force and hospitals and Child Welfare is essential.
- Financial transparency is of utmost importance at all times.
Angels Care KZN when it still was in Paddock.
Church at AWCC that was build by the people.
Then there is a very interesting website telling the story of two homeless cousins, the one an artist, the other a writer. then god spoke
The writer of the two, Rodney, has written poems telling about his experience. He has given me permission to publish them here on this website. This can give you a good idea what these people typically experience and how they see things.
He called it: "Perceptions of life". Here they are: