The Mama Ntombi’s Community Projects (MNCP) started off as a ministry of The Christian Fellowship in Easter 2007 in the adjacent Jika Joe Informal Settlement. Dedicated men and women from the Church sponsor the meals for the children from their own pockets and spend most of Sunday afternoons making up sandwiches for the children and then going out to minister to them from 2.00-4.00p.m. As we meet under a tree for shelter from the rain or sun, we call this our Wayside Sunday School. In 2008, Mrs. Joyce Dlamini who is Pastor Chris’ domestic helper visited the Wayside Sunday School at Jika Joe and pleaded with us to do something for the children in her community at the Mattison’s Informal Settlement. Calvin and Yolland Chetty started off the second informal settlement ministry in 2008.
We now care for 300 children from two Informal Settlements in Pietermaritzburg, the Jika Joe and the Matison’s Informal Settlements. Apart from Sandra Pillay who is the Programme Manager and Fundraiser, all the other MNCP Team Members are volunteers who either hold full-time jobs, are students or pensioners. We are so grateful to each and every one who gives of themselves so sacrificially, particularly on a Sunday afternoon from 12.00 noon to 4.00p.m. Many of the volunteers don’t go home after Church, but remain behind to make sandwiches or to provide a cooked meal for the children. Most times, the volunteers eat exactly what we are distributing to the children. Our policy is that we will not give the children anything that we ourselves will not be able to eat. The programme with the children starts at 2.00p.m. and ends at 4.00p.m. We meet with the children in the Informal Settlements in an open field, spending time teaching them good values and morals based on Christian principles. We also seek to give them hope and encouragement, so that they can focus on their studies and pursue a career in order to change their present circumstances.
At the end of our session, the children enjoy a nutritious meal together (sandwiches or a cooked meal, plus juice and fruit). Many of the children are starving and this is probably the only decent meal they get for the week. This is clear from the way that they horde food and consume it so ravenously during the distribution of meals.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matt 25:35-36
Our volunteers are all men and women who have a passion and desire to give back to these precious children who, through no fault of their own, lack so many things in life that you and I take for granted. We receive far more than we give to the children – their beautiful smiley faces and hugs are more than enough reward for us.
Many of the children in these Informal Settlements are orphaned or are being cared for by grandparents or other family members. Some have found themselves in child-headed households, due to the ravages of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. Most, if not all, of the children of the Jika Joe & Matison’s Informal Settlements live in abject poverty and barely have enough food to eat, let alone decent and clean clothing. Some of the children of school going age are not attending school due to lack of finances for school fees, whilst others are involved in drugs and prostitution to earn money in order to sustain themselves. Children as young as five years old are responsible to take care of siblings younger than themselves, as parents go out to seek employment. This is robbing children of their childhood and the normal activities that children should be involved in.
You can make a difference in the lives of these precious children through your love, prayers and financial support. Thank you and God bless you!