God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Opening of the Holistic Health Facility

After taking occupation of the buildings of Phase 1 construction @ Then Nex – Indawo Yethu Campus yesterday another milestone was achieved: The opening of the Holistic Health Facility “La Maison de Christoph”, witnessed by representatives from government, political spheres, health departments, nursing staff and representation of the sponsor for this building.
The Holistic Health Centre will be open to the public in November, but in the fields of Early Childhood Development, the centre has already welcomed participants of training sessions.

HOPE Cape Town is grateful to Advocate Martin Hoernig representing the European Trust, which sponsored the building and equipment. He cut the ribbon and so allowed those present to have a glimpse of the facility and its services offered.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, Networking, South Africa, The Nex - Indawo Yethu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

150

Building a career

Working in the townships of Cape Town provides for many bigger and smaller problems as those know, who dedicate money, time and work to uplift communities in our days.

One of the most annoying problems is the mere fact, that very often those targeted by the interventions and developments expect “free” services and hand-outs. It has become a culture difficult to break and to make it clear, that nothing is falling from heaven and money is not growing on trees – not even in Europe or the USA.

This hand-out-for-free culture is partly the fault of NGO’s and development organisations, pouring money into projects without reflecting on consequences. It creates dependency and if done outside a real emergency situation it disrespects the dignity of the receiving person. And to be clear: it this not only about money, it can also be about participation of any kind: important for development is that both parties are involved in an active role which gives respect to both: persons and the efforts made towards a common goal.

HOPE Cape Town will start in October an Entrepreneurial Skills Development programme which is divided in 7 toolkits. Participants can choose which soft skills they wish to learn. The programme was written after conducting an assessment of the situation of a typical township youngster. Even when finishing matric, often there is a gap between what a college would require to be a successful student and what the learner brings to the table with his matric. The programme provided by HOPE Cape Town bridges this gap by providing missing components of what is needed to either start an own small business or to continue studying at a college.

Having decided to not give freebies, the cost of a 3 months course is 150 Rand. And obviously the battle starts bringing in the culture of contributing towards a service and to acknowledge that nothing is for free – even a freebie is paid by somebody.

To ease the change of mindset, HOPE Cape Town is busy to establish a sort of bursary which can contribute towards whatever the prospective student can pay him- or herself. One often has to start slow to establish a culture, which on the long term run also changes the thinking and appreciation of people.

If you want to know more about the bursary scheme, please contact the author – if you are willing to help and sponsor one student with the 150 Rand – please use the following accounts depending on if you are in South Africa or Germany. HOPE Cape Town issues tax-deductible receipt for the respective country – please feel free to contact the organisation in this regard via info@hopecapetown.org :

South Africa:

Account Name: HOPE Cape Town Trust
Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa Limited
Account Number: 07 027-452-5
Branch Code: 020909
SWIFT-Code: SBZAZAJJ
Branch Name: Thibault Square
Remark: Bursary

Germany:

Kontoname: HOPE Kapstadt Stiftung
IBAN: DE15 3702 0500 0008 2695 00
BIC: BFSWDE33XXX
Kennwort: Bursary Trust

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Society and living environment, The Nex - Indawo Yethu, Uncategorized, vocational training, , , , , , , , , ,

Racist teachers remarks…

It sounds familiar in South Africa: accusations of racist remarks, racist deeds or racist intentions are every weeks’ news: schools, companies, institutions – and this time the German International School in Cape Town.

I don’t want to go into the details of this case but look at it from a different and more general perspective:

Accusations fly – then a broader audience takes part – political organisations join in – protests, sometimes violence, and the at a given point the next location, the next scenario, the next accusations. From outside, very often emotions are triggered without even knowing the specifics of a case. For some, those accusations are a welcome motivation to get into fight mode; for others it is the eternal circle of pulling the race card, when all other arguments are lost and nothing is left than taking out the racist hammer to destroy the possibility of serious arguments and search for the truth of the matter.

Maybe it is time to step back and look at the problem of racism, perceived racism, abuse of racism accusation as a weapon of choice from some distance. If we really want to tackle the problem of racism, but also the problem of using it as a weapon, we have to invent a response which is structured and able to look at a case from all sides. Emotions, protest, placards, violence and political grandstanding are poison.

Obviously this only will work if people are willing to confront, assess, acknowledge the problem and if they are really interested in allowing for healing for the sake of a peaceful future. It demands listening skills, acknowledgement of history and a non-judgemental attitude to allow for this acknowledge and healing process. Add to it an open mind and a caring heart, as well as the social and political will to succeed. It requires a protected safe space to allow for honesty and self-reflection,

But: it really should not be facilitated by politicians or state institutions here in South Africa. It should be far away from political parties.
In my humble view, creating this structured approach is a task, proven and acknowledged churches should invest in and called upon. Here, the sacred space could create a practical tool to allow for the process to unfold. Unagitated, serious and non-destructive, but with the clear aim to learn, to overcome and so to put in pillars for a racist-free society. South Africa will only succeed to create a future for all if we are able to do so – and we could once again be an example for the world.

Filed under: Africa, General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

A window of opportunity

We all welcomed the relief of bringing back South Africa from Covid-19 alert level 3 to 1 in the last days. But having said this it is also noticeable that more and more voices are raising concern about the possibility of a 3rd wave as early as the second half of May, when winter is knocking onto the door – especially the Western Cape with cold temperatures and rain will be exposed to more indoor activities raising the bar.

So the next 8 weeks are a window of opportunity to get things right and especially to see to our tools available preventing another peak of death and hospitalization figures. Vaccinations are new in our tool box – but the way they were introduced have clouded for many the willingness to receive them. Instead of using 1.5 million jabs already in the country of a clearly death and hospitalization avoiding vaccine the countries leaders decided to give away 1.5 million protection and opting for a trial run with another vaccination provider needing volunteers to conclude phase 3.

I got quite some flak for criticising Linda-Gail Bekker for wearing two heads as the co-principal of the J&J study and at the same time being part of the running of the country’s vaccine drive. In a tweet reply she assured me that there were no financial implications for her and that several ethic committees have given the green light for this conflict of interest to overcome. I have no reason to not believe her – but I am still of the opinion that this is not really the point:

Looking around and listening to various virologists there is a clear line: vaccinate with what you can get your hands on – the WHO has approved AstraZeneca also for the mutant discovered in South Africa – and I would expect from anybody running the show in this arena to stand up against any government decision to miss the opportunity vaccinating to at least avoid dead and hospitalisation in the 3rd wave. Vaccinate your health workers with the J&J trial as it most likely produces a higher protection rate, but there are millions of South Africans who are not in the health sector – they are working in schools and crèches, in retail, in hospitality, yearning for that extra protection they can get.

While many African countries started a vaccination drive – with AstraZeneca – South Africa stands lonely with a marginal vaccination trial programme having rejected what was already in the country. Judge for yourself whether this decision costing lives in the third wave was right. There will be many who are already dead when in the third and fourth quarter the promised vaccine drive starts in this country. To get a sense of where we are the vaccinations done by now:

And there is more: the writing is already very clearly on the walls: no vaccination no freedom of travel internationally; what this means for business travel you might be able to imagine. We are in the process of missing the boat and we all know, South Africa cannot afford it.

Lastly another question mark: The whole drama about AstraZeneca was triggered by a small – not even peer-to-peer reviewed study – and knowing how the battle is on between pharmaceutical companies to get their product on the market and to cash in – it is understandable that there remain questions how convenient this study was put into the public domain. The amount of studies being published for a greater audience without the filter of academic review and academic knowledge is a danger in itself.

As lives are in danger on different levels: health, economy, social we have to ask the hard questions and to scrutinize what is done and how it is done on the level of decision-making.

We have now a window of opportunity before the virus hits us anew in another wave – and we have to expect from government more than just warm words and promises…. Lives are at stake!

Filed under: Africa, Medical and Research, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

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