Hope Alive aims to improve the lives of the Ducats community

When Pastor Mfundo Gwarube realised how desperate the need was for improving living conditions in the Ducats community, he and his wife Noxolo founded the non-profit organisation Hope Alive.
The East London couple are also the founders of Living Stones Christian Centre, which is currently run out of the Beacon Bay Library.
“When we started, we had a few regular members from Ducats and their stories and circumstances shed light on how much the community needed us. We realised that the best way for us to make an impact was to start an NPO,” said Mfundo.
Since Hope Alive’s inception in 2012, the organisation has assisted Siyakha Creche and has adopted both Noncedo Primary and High Schools in Ducats, with their main focus being on improving the school facilities and organising sport programmes, as well as motivation talks for the children and youth in the township.
“After spending some time in the community we realised there is absolutely nothing for the youth. Many of them end up roaming the streets and become involved in drugs and crime,” said Noxolo, a former employee with the Eastern Cape department of education, and now a full-time pastor.
Through generous donations and partnerships with Sanlam and the Stirling Presbyterian Church, Noncedo Primary received much needed renovations and support.
Run out of an old farmhouse building, the primary school’s grade R class was taught outside under a tree in the school yard before Hope Alive intervened. The school’s allocated grade R classroom previously flooded regularly and was used as a storeroom.
“Running a class outside made teaching and learning very difficult. We had no chalkboard and the children would get distracted. Dogs and pigs from the community would also often try to steal the children’s lunches out of their bags,” said Noncedo Primary Grade R teacher Bulelwa Thembani.
“Now, we have our own classroom and we have many more resources so teaching and learning can run smoothly. We are very grateful to Hope Alive and we really enjoy their regular visits.”
An exciting project started by one of Hope Alive’s members, Beverly van Welie, is the primary school’s hockey academy. The programme can only afford to cater for one team and has partnered with Clarendon High and Primary schools in order to make it possible.
“Once a week my girls practise on the Clarendon astroturf. From transport to coaching, this programme is only made possible by those who I’ve managed to partner with and it has made such a difference to the lives of these young girls,” said Van Welie, who is one of the Clarendon hockey coaches.
 
“It’s amazing to see how much these kids have grown through hockey – they have become more confident and motivated.
“We’ve also managed to use it as a vehicle to address problems at home or other personal issues with the children,” said Mfundo.
Despite starting out small and assisting where possible, Hope Alive has made a huge impact in the community and aims to become a beacon of hope for the Ducats community, having recently received seven hectares bordering the township, donated by Van Welie and her husband, who farm in the area.
They plan to build a church as well as a skills development centre and clinic for the community by partnering with various stakeholders and sponsors. -madeleinec@dispatch.co.za..

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