God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

After two years we are happy to announce:

More info: trust @ hopecapetown.org

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Trust, SA-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry, South Africa, The Nex - Indawo Yethu, , , , , , , ,

2021: Vaccinated, boostered and recovered

Looking back at 2021 shortly before Christmas, I can’t say, the year was boring or uneventful. 2021 started with the hope that Covid-19 might be overcome during the year and a sort of normality would come back into daily life. Little did we all know that hope can be a stretched from January to December – not lost, but wearing thin at times.

Travel restrictions continued for most of the year in one or the other way, forcing me to cancel a lot of meetings in person and to combine necessary travel in two big chunks for up to 9 weeks at a time. I could write books about the May to July travel, where the German way of doing business simply ended up in the madness of changing rules on a daily basis, on a location basis – and on a “We have our own rules” basis. Besides the anyhow difficult situation and anxieties meeting somebody from the – at that time – South African mutation, it challenged all my creativity to navigate through constant changes in the set program.

Exhaustion and frustration were my constant companions – and for the first time it was difficult to understand my fellow German brothers and sisters. Nevertheless: meetings made possible were rich and felt good – meeting again in person, looking each other in the eyes and catching body language and facial expression directly and not through a camera – simply a human need.

This was also the time to get my first Covid-19 vaccination shot – followed by a second and – by chance even a third one, today called booster – already in July 2021. I assume I was the first in Germany in this regard; my attempt to get the third vaccination registered on the German vaccination app was met with astonishment in various pharmacies: The system did not allow for it….

Those vaccinations triggered a bit of a change in mindset – I felt more free, more safe, more alive again – and I guess, this mental push should definitely not be underestimated when it comes to the health of the human mental faculties.

The several times postponed HOPE Gala concert took place – and despite all the Covid-19 regulations being adhered to – the sheer fact to be able to celebrate an event again – the sheer fact that you – vaccinated and tested dared to hug a person again – it was an evening with a taste of normality which did everybody attending so good. And add the musical program of this open air event – it was simply great, enjoyable and some hours of liberation from an otherwise so threatening world. I take my head off for the organizers, who until the very end did not know it was possible to run the event, but still put all energy and love into the planing and finally executing of the great Charity Concert.

Back in South Africa there was the constant demand triggered by the construction of The Nex – Indawo Yethu Campus in Delft – so much preparation since 2019 and finally the move into the first buildings: Administration Building, Bavarian House and Resource Centre as well as “La Maison de Christoph”, the holistic preventative health centre. The joy of occupying a new building but also the challenges of a snag list longer than the river Jordan while at the same time starting the first programmes like vocational training / duale Ausbildung in logistics, entrepreneurial skills’ development programs and other education courses constituted a roller coaster of feelings. We had days with more than 200 students on the partly finished campus while next Phase 2, the Early Childhood Development Centre was and is currently in construction. Those who called my idea of this campus a crazy one, a not possible one had finally to admit, that the sky is the limit if you believe in something and one has the right partners creating synergies. Because you can’t do it alone, the HOPE Cape Town team, VPUU and all the other collaborators from government, NGO’s and civil society as well as the Bavarian State Chancellery were all essential to walk the talk and to bring another ray of hope to Delft.

Finally, the last months with the second trip, three charity dinner in Berlin, Dresden and Munich and many personal encounters with sponsors and partners. And still the upcoming 4th wave in the back of your mind constantly threatening travel plans: nevertheless most was possible to achieve, but it took more energy out than anticipated.

Back in Cape Town beginning of December there was no rest for the restless as the official opening of the Bavarian House and the anniversary of 20 years HOPE Cape Town were due to be celebrated. And while we missed our Bavarian friends, who could not travel due to Covid-19 travel restrictions – and the arrival of Omicron – Saturday, 4th of December was a day of joy and celebrating achievements – not in a big way, but the day stood out and felt good. I am still grateful for all who made this day happen!

Now we are before Christmas – and as the headline indicates, there is one item missing: recovery. There was a time in between of flu-like symptoms where I quarantined, not wanting to give the flu to anybody else – nothing really dramatic, just a bit of cold and cough, quickly gone. It turned now out that this was Covid-19 – and my natural antibodies are now skyrocket high next to the ones triggered by the vaccine.

So yes – it looks like this year was really full of challenges but also islands of joy. There were moments of frustrations, but also of deep gratitude and happiness. Covid-19 has created many obstacles on my way and certainly did not help to fundraise and cut the possibilities of expansion of my network. It showed clear limitations of activism, but it also triggered creativity and the determination to achieve set goals even in the midst of a pandemic.

I am going out of this year more humble and more grateful – I count my blessings more carefully. And I am determined to welcome 2022 with open arms willing to make again the best out of what is possible.

Filed under: General, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

20 years HOPE Cape Town

Almost unnoticed in our times of Covid-19 and the struggle of survival for many South Africans, HOPE Cape Town celebrated its 20th anniversary. The pandemic did not allow for a big celebration, but an hour of reflection and celebration at the Westin Hotel in Cape Town brought so many memories to the forefront.

Started as a small organisation to assist doctors at Tygerberg Children’s Hospital in the battle against HIV and Aids in 2001 nobody could envision that 20 years later a full-fledged entity with currently 40 employees working in 12 different townships, at Tygerberg Academic Health Complex and on our campus in Delft “The Nex – Indawo Yethu” plays an important supportive role for many in the Western Province.

Not envisaged was also the expansion of portfolios from HIV/AIDS to a more comprehensive health care, to Early Childhood Development, Youth, vocational training and entrepreneurial skill’s development; meaning a holistic approach.

All this would not have been possible without the help and assistance of so many crossing the path of HOPE Cape Town in the last 20 years. It would not been possible without the current sponsors, supporters, friends and allies.

And it will not be possible to continue successfully without an expanded HOPE family and a network of supportive friends from all over the world. The current situation in South Africa needs an even more determined service and approach to make development not only possible, but also lasting. Especially, the next generation born now requires a meaningful base and a safe environment to fulfil the dreams of those who fought for the new democratic South Africa. After all the blunder and corruption happening in our days, after all the stealing by the so-called connected hurting the poor and contributing to the collapse of our educational system we require the synergies between honest leaders, civil society and NGO’s to create this space of hope.

Filed under: Africa, HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, HOPE Cape Town USA, HOPE Gala Dresden, Reflection, South Africa, The Nex - Indawo Yethu, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , ,

Delft – a possible hub in the Greater Cape Town Area

Delft @googlemap

Delft, a township near Cape Town in South Africa, makes often headlines for the wrong reasons: violence, crime, gangster, rape, drugs, guns – you name it, Delft is in for it.

Looking a bit deeper, it appears that Delft has all credentials to be the opposite: a beacon of hope for the new South Africa and a promising place for what should be the norm for aspiring communities.

Delft is not only located close to the airport – an economic hub which should provide for jobs and upliftment of a community, the township also has excellent schools, all necessary infrastructure and a mix of people from all walks of life mirroring the diversity which should be the norm in South Africa.

There is indeed no reason for Delft not to rise from the ashes of lost hopes by violent crimes and high unemployment towards a really confident hub within the greater Cape Town area where people live, earn and spend their money and participate in the economic development provided by the expansion of the airport.

The question is what it takes to ignite the pride of the residents and the energy needed to move from a place of fear and partly hopelessness to being a crown jewel and an example of successfully turning a township around towards prosperity for all.

HOPE Cape Town has set a mark of uplifting with the decision to settle its home in Delft and to concentrate on this area with holistic services and the intent to walk the talk with the community, building on years of work within the community of Blikkiesdorp and services rendered at the health facilities.

It might sound more like a dream to turn around the township of Delft into an area of peace and prosperity, but every real action starts with the imagination of a dream. Obviously nobody can do it alone, but together with all parties concerned and putting aside for a while the egos and rivalry, much can be achieved for a better life for all in this area.

Lots of ideas and initiatives are already in place – but the joined effort and the synergies possible if those efforts are coordinated would promise faster results and more possibilities in a feasible timeframe. Political will and the buy-in of the people would be the base for such synergies.

Filed under: Africa, Politics and Society, Reflection, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

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Charity Dinner Berlin 2022

An event not to be missed10/14/2022
3 months to go.

Charity Dinner Dresden 2022

An event not to be missed11/05/2022
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Charity Dinner Munich 2022

Munich meets HOPE ... An event not to be missed11/26/2022
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