A lot is happening in South Africa at present. There has been rioting and looting which has caused great unrest and huge disruption. We have also gone into our third wave, with COVID cases rising rapidly. Unfortunately this means that lockdown restrictions have tightened again and so schools and churches are closed.
For the first two weeks of these, my school was already closed for the holidays – so I was away enjoying a much needed break hiking in the mountains. This seemed by far the safest place to be for avoiding COVID.
Before school closed for the holidays things were very stressful. The school was struggling to raise the necessary funds to keep open and, as things stood, we would need to close by August. The staff were all obviously very unsettled, not knowing whether they would still have a job or not. The board decided to make all six teaching assistants redundant and try and do more fundraising to continue being able to pay the rest of the staff. So when school opens again things will look very different. I was, however, able to have a positive impact on the staff during this stressful time and be a source of support and encouragement emotionally and spiritually.
On another positive note, half of the children I have been running therapy sessions with had encouraging endings as things have greatly improved for them. So I now have some new children to work with and help.
Watch a new video about the school here.
Before I went on holiday I did a review with my sewing ladies to see how they were finding our time together. I was so encouraged with their responses: they commented that the group was a safe space where they could be real with each other and find support from one another. They acknowledged how much they had grown and learnt and how they were more confident and knew how to cope better with life. They also stated how much they had been learning about God and how they could depend on him more.
Their sewing skills have greatly improved and over the holiday I gave them all a machine to take home with them and some fabric to see what they would end up making by themselves. I am excited to see what they have been doing, when churches are allowed to open again.
We are currently in the process of making a website and doing some fundraising so we can buy industrial machines for them to have at home, so they can start making things to sell and begin to earn an income.
The dance group has also been going well, although the numbers are very small. When churches open again I am going to advertise the class more and try and get more people from the community to come along. Those who have been coming have been learning to take ownership for themselves, to de-stress and learn how to calm themselves down from the constantly traumatic community they live in.
Picture at top of page: As schools and churches are closed and I can't do some of my work, I am enjoying meeting up one-to-one with people for a walk, talk and prayer time instead.
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