a feeding scheme run by volunteers, funded by south africans

So here it is – the monthly biannual newsletter!

We’re very sorry, there has been an unbelievable amount of good stuff happening at Lula Isandla since we last wrote to you, but unfortunately there has been lots going on in our lives as well, so apologies for the lack of contact!

Anyway, despite the volume of info that we have for you, we know that the real trick of telling you stories, is to tell them quickly, succinctly and without much ado!!

So here we go:

1. Costs per child

In our May 2008 newsletter after a few months of being up and running: R2.68 / meal / child

Last month, July 2009: R2.57 / meal / child

But April 2009 an amazing R1.75 / meal / child
…. An incredible 57 meals per R100 donated!!! (check this table)

Please feel free to give Mom or Fakazile a call to work out just how they get this right… one thing I can tell you, is that they pester a lot of wholesaler type people for free stuff or “at cost” stuff. And thanks very much to all those people for so generously contributing.

2. Alternative to Violence Day

Lula Isandla hosted 2 very successful workshops for 25 kids at a time, all aimed at showing the kids that there are indeed good alternatives to violence. It made such a big impression that most of the kids are keen to do the next level, and some even want to carry on with the course, so that they can become teachers themselves and spread the course to others. Apart from the food, it’s being able to pay for days like this that makes your donations so worthwhile.

3. Vukuza Mamas

As Lula Isandla has grown, so has the need for help grown. A team of ladies from Mpophomeni has stepped up and has been giving selfless and amazingly generous help to Fakazile with sewing, cooking and general counseling to the kids. They are an amazing bunch, and Fakazile has dubbed them the Vukuza Mama’s! There is no direct translation for Vukuza, but it implies 'nurturing'.

Lula Isandla also then funded Fakazile to go on a counseling course held by CHUMA and she was so impressed by it, that the Vukuza Mama’s will be going to the Zulu version of the course shortly. As important as looking after the kids is, we must ensure that the people doing the looking after also get the help and support that they need.

4. Visits from Donors

After Karen and my wedding earlier this year, many of our friends (and generous donors) stopped in at Lula Isandla for a visit. Not only was it great for them to see where there donations are going, but it is also always thrilling for the kids to meet the people who help them, as well as an opportunity for Fakazile to personally thank those strangers who so generously give without asking. The excitement levels leapt even further, when Colin Williamson, offering even more generosity from Sony Ericsson, handed over 10 new handsets to the Lula Isandla team! Thanks so much Colin.

If any of you are ever in the area, you would be so very welcomed if you could pop your head in at Lula Isandla.

5. Comrades

A huge thanks to our two Comrades Marathon runners Roberto and Tim, who bravely (foolishly?) attacked the perfectly drivable 90km trek from PMB to Durban and donated their sponsorship money to Lula Isandla. Thanks so much guys!

Finally – just to remind those less fortunate than us who do not live in God’s country, that the UK account is up and running and is being watched closely by our Ponzi specialist Wayno. Please check the website if you need the details.

Thanks to Gill for all the awesome jersey’s knitted for the kids, who wear them with such pride.

And lastly…. …WE NEED A FREEZER… …if anyone has an old freezer kicking about in the back of their garage under that old canoe and broken lawn mower, we would be very very grateful if you would consider donating it to Lula Isandla. If it’s in Jozi, no worries, just let us know and we’ll arrange its journey. (Editor's Note: Thanks to all and sundry who responded, we have a freezer now.)

This was just an overview, if you have some time, please read Fakazile’s report on the website, it’s very interesting, and unlike this letter, comes straight from the trenches.

Thanks again for everything. You’re all amazing. And just remember 50 meals for every R100….