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April has been such an overwhelmingly positive month that I literally do not know which good news story to lead with...
Water For All at Mahluhluvana
Last Friday was probably the most exciting day for me since I joined PnP in December...Mahluhluvana Primary School now have water on tap on site! Through our partnership with a truly fantastic organisation called Water For All (www.waterforall.org) and with a little help from our friends at Virgin Atlantic we managed to arrange for a brand new water pump system to be installed!
Oh but this is not just any pump, it is a Fun Pump, which really lived up to its name! It is actually a hybrid system that uses both solar energy and the power of children at play to pump water. The system comes complete with a 160 solar panel, hybrid generator, merry-go-round, and storage tank. The installation also team worked with locals from the community to teach them basic maintenance and leave behind tools so they can look after the pump in the years to come.
PnP is very interested in replicating this success at other sites in our communities. I showed Collen - from Water For All - around our water challenges and we're looking at similar solutions at various sites. When Collen and I returned to Mahluhluvana after our tour it was breaktime and we had to laugh - as you can see in the photos - the kids LOVED the Fun Pump!
It really is a case of you have to see it to believe, this system is a real step forward for the school. Mahluhluvana now have enough water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and watering their permaculture garden. A huge thank you to all VAA staff who fundraised for these pumps and a massive thank you and whoop whoop to Water For All!
Kick Start is back!
Trevor (ranger) and Johan (maintenance manager) have taken up the challenge and dedicated Kick Start, their annual charity Enduro Bike event, towards kick-starting our fundraising for a pump at Deyani Daycare (one of our creches). This invitation only, outride will take place in and around Dumphries village on 8 May. If anyone would like to sponsor a rider or join in the fundraising drive please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The born Identity
We had a real breakthrough this month in our quest to get all our orphans identity documents. Amos, Nobunhle, Patricia, Alex and Prinda are five of our oldest orphaned children and although they were born and bred in South Africa they"ve never have ID documents which has limited their access to many services and rights in this country. We have been struggling and battling with Home Affairs for over 2 years, constantly hitting bureaucratic brick walls...that is until our dear David took over the quest...
He spent two extremely frustrating days driving between Home Affair departments from town to town, standing in queues, filling out countless forms, tracking down primary school teachers, long lost neighbours, negotiating with government officials and would you believe it banishing that amazing warm smile we have all come to love while he got the job done!...to cut a long and arduous story short we were victorious...Amos, Nobunhle and Patricia are now fully registered proud South African citizens, while Alex and Prinda Mkari have been granted birth certificates and we've started the process to get them ID books! This may not seem like the most exciting story but for these 5 young people it will be totally life changing and I am so proud of this achievement!
HIV/AIDS prevention is no game...oh wait it is!
This week (commencing 25 April) marks the start of the new national HIV Counseling and Testing Campaign. This campaign will encourage South Africans all over the country to know their status and give them the tools to deal with the information. Many will have read that our president, Jacob Zuma, publically declared his status for the first time over the weekend, which we feel is a massive step forward in acknowledging the pandemic we face.
On Monday morning, I joined Karl (PnP Founder and Ulusaba General Manager), Gregg Campbell (PnP Founder and amongst other things EducAids creator), Dr. Gilbert Khosa (Bhubezi Clinic Chief Medical Officer and pretty much the most inspiring man on the planet), David Patient (groundbreaking HIV educator) and the Bhubezi community outreach team online casino to launch a new HIV/AIDS educational game, called EducAids: Play it Safe.
EducAids is based on the Snakes and Ladders format and challenges participants to answer various HIV/AIDS related questions in order to advance. The game covers the full gambit of subjects such as safe sexual practices, effects of a healthy diet, positive living, treatment and just about everything in between. All the prevention workers agreed that this will be a valuable tool in engaging people in their communities with the realities of the virus.
Project Pimp My Playgroup
Each year Virgin Unite send us 10 specially selected volunteers to tackle a hands on project in our community during their Staff Connection Trip. Volunteers are chosen from applicants from Virgin businesses all over the world and they have been busily fundraising and getting excited for their time with us. They will be invading our staff village from 3-8 May!
This year we are calling it Project Pimp My Playground because we will be totally revamping the Mahluhluvana recreation area. We will be putting in a swingset and jungle gym for the younger kids, we"ll totally redo the soccer pitch, create a netball and volleyball court, brighten up the school with a mural and plant shade trees etc. We"ll turn this drab bit of land into a truly fab place to play! (add photo of play area)
Follow our progress on: virginuniteconnectiontrip.blogspot.com
Many guests contact us before their visit to Ulusaba and ask if there are any items they can bring for the community, we really appreciate that so many people think about us when planning their trip. Pride 'n Purpose is very keen to be known in the villages as an organisation that tackles the big issues and works with the community to bring about solutions, we absolutely do not want to create a dependency or a hand out culture so each month we create a wishlist of items that would really enhance our work.
At present we are preparing for winter and collecting books for our new literacy centre. If you would like to pack a few small items for PnP the following would be gratefully received:
I told you it was a successful, busy month and looks like May will follow suit! Thank you to every one that has contributed and helped out - we really appreciate you!
Joni and David
Ulusaba – Bush Telegraph
Building for the Future
Wild storms and slithery snakes in the African Bush
Lions, giraffes and wild dogs
Time Flies When You Are Having Fun!
Leopards & Lions of the Ulusaba Bush!
Eco-creche - A first in the area
Ulusaba partakes in Earth Hour
Stalking and chasing in the wilds of the African bush