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SAYO UPDATES: Phumlani Ndwandwe

SAYO recently held a successful Annual General Meeting (April 30-May 1, 2016) with members Sanelisiwe Cele, Sbusi Mzobe, Njabulo Cele and Phumlani Ndwandwe. The meeting took place at SAYO's office in BB section Umlazi and the purpose was to welcome new members, distribute roles and commit to serve for a year. 

In other news, research for SAYO's H.I.L.L project slowly continues. The idea is to establish a revolutionary way of educationto empower the people in order to end any form of exploitation specially political.

Please make sure to "like" SAYO's facebook page to continue to stay connected to Phumlani's and SAYO's work!

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APRIL UPDATES: Sihle Ndima

We're so excited to have so many updates from Sihle and Grow Khula! It definitely sounds like there are a lot of amazing things happening, so make sure to continue checking our blog and facebook pages to stay connected with the fellows. Keep reading to hear Sihle's account of the Durban Hops Festival he recently participated in:

"I was one of the organizers of Durban Hops Working closely with Nstika and the Arts and Culture team(Sifiso and Thapelo), Durban Hops started last year around August going out in different communities doing auditions looking for hip-hop artists that can perform in the Durban Hops Festival. We did auditions in six different communities to get all the artists we needed for the festival. On 2 April, 2016 we did a Durban Hops festival in uMlazi king Zwelithini stadium. The event was a big success. The day started with basketball in the morning followed by the Festival.  We did a dance competition, beat maker's competition and then performances with all our artists. We had 400 people from uMlazi and around coming out to support our event".

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FEBRUARY UPDATES: Sihle Ndima

Two months ago, Lasswade High School and Selkirk High School in Scotland were lucky enough to host one teacher from Mziwamandla High School, Zama Ntuli (who is working for a charity in Scotland), and Sihle Ndima to participate in a Conference - ‘Journey to Change’ - where two hundred senior pupils from across Scotland gathered to address the problems young people face at Lasswade High School.
The aim of the visit was to develop senior pupils’ interest in, understanding of and appreciation of the cultural, social and educational experiences of young people in a country other than their own.  The three week visit allowed pupils from both schools to foster an understanding of one another, and to exchange ideas about how they can combine their skills and creativity to overcome shared and individual problems.
Sihle and his companions arrived in Edinburgh Airport on Monday morning, 22 February 2016, to the sound of bagpipes and a welcome party consisting of pupils from both Lasswade and Selkirk. Sihle reports that they were exhausted after such a long time travelling, but we were so excited to finally be in Scotland. Some pupils were being hosted at Lasswade, and two girls- Nompilo and Zanele- as well as Sihle were coming down to Selkirk. They left the airports and headed to Selkirk High School in Scotland where the leaners attended lessons and Sihle taught and shared information more about South Africa. Sihle was also creating a song and preparing for the conference that took place on their last Friday in Scotland. Sihle also had a chance to go and visit one production in Cupar Fife in Edinburgh just to learn more about film making and production work. Sihle reports that the conference at We did the conference at Lasswade High School was a success and it was very powerful!

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Base Camp Mural

On 12 March 2016, Grow Khula created a mural with a group of kids from Mount Moriah called the Mount Moriah Succeeders (MMS). Also helping out was Bertine from Holland. See photos below to check out the new and improved base camp! 

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JANUARY UPDATES: Sihle Ndima

 

Corner to Corner is a Grow Khula project that provides art and sports activities to children and youth living in the streets and also acts as a link to professional services. In October 2015, it was 25 youth identified soccer and music as the focus of the next two months of programming. 

SUCCESSES: 

  • A total of 25 boys between the ages of 14 and 24 were reached in a period of 2 months
  • Corner to Corner worked closely with, and assisted, Isiphephelo Girls Trust to kick start a program for girls living on the streets
  • With the assistance of Isiphephelo Girls and Jabulani Project, Corner to Corner was able to purchase some sports equipment and provide meals for youth participants
  • Through soccer and music activities, Corner to Corner has been able to help restore dignity to, and change public perception and treatment of, youth living on the streets. Additionally, once weekly programming has helped to keep youth participants away from drugs and crime
isiph logo.jpg

CHALLENGES:

  • Due to limited support and resources, sport and art sessions only happen once a week in the city center
  • Limited resources to help support meal provision for youth participants
  • Lack of service vehicle to access and mobilize children from different areas in and around Durban

Corner to Corner resumed programming January 2016 and hopes to continue to develop the program and focus on individual case studies in the new year. 

 

In other news, on 20 December 2015, Grow Khula shot a documentary for a hip hop show that was organised by 22pages @ D Hall Umlazi township.Grow Khula is still working on dvd editing.

 

And finally, Sihle will be heading to Scotland 21 February to 6 March 2016 to participate in a conference: "Journey to Change". At the conference, 200 senior pupils from across Scotland will gather to address the problems young people face at Lasswade High School. Make sure to check back to the blog in March to hear more about this trip and get more updates on how Sihle and Grow Khula are making an impact in their community and abroad.

To help support the work of Grow Khula and Corner to Corner, please  DONATE NOW.

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Continued Challenges and Opportunities for Growth

Hopefully, you all enjoyed hearing about the amazing trip that Phumlani was able to take to the U.S. this past summer. Everyone at From the Roots was so thankful for the many people and organizations that made the trip the life-changing experience it was. Every dollar donated, event attended, and welcome extended meant so much to us as an organization, and to Phumlani as a fellow. But this trip was not the end of the hard work that needs to be done, rather a continuation of a long struggle. Now that Phumlani is back in South Africa, we asked him to tell us what challenges remain as he continues to work to grow SAYO. Here's what he shared with us:

·         Since 2009 till now I have remained unemployed, only surviving on From the Roots' fellowship stipend.

·         I’m still surviving in my poor Chicago calling a shack a home.

·         At SAYO we have made no progress as far as getting financial resources to pay coaches and staff members and build sport facilities for schools. I’m a founder, executive director and a basketball coach at the very same time.

·         We still need to own a base camp, SAYO revolutionary home, where offices and H.I.L.L. Program will be based (Editor's note: H.I.L.L.- Home Institution and Learning Lab-is an alternative and revolutionary education strategy for people who have not been successful through the current South African education system)

·         Relevant government bodies are getting more corrupt and we can not rely on them for support.

·         The youth is losing hope and not considering voluntary work as the way out of poverty.

From the Roots is committed to working with fellows like Phumlani and Sihle to help them address the systemic challenges that they face on a daily basis so that they can focus on the important work of changing their communities from the inside out. But we cannot do it alone. Thank you to everyone who has supported the work of Sihle, Phumlani, and From the Roots so far. We sincerely hope that you continue to stay engaged and we would love to talk with you more about ways that you can get involved. Our highest need is financial, so any and all donations are always appreciated, but there are so many other talents, skills, and kindnesses you all have that we know would be so beneficial. To donate, please visit: DONATE NOW . For more information about how to get involved, check us out on our FOR YOU page. 

We have updates from both Phumlani and Shile coming soon, so be sure to keep checking back to the blog!

 

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Phumlani's Visit Part 3: Chicago and Roots & Wings

The third installment of our blog chronicling Phumlani's trip to the U.S. this summer concludes with his time spent in Chicago. Phumlani writes about the incredible people he got to meet and the ways in which he was inspired during his visit. Keep reading to hear more from Phumlani, and keep checking out our blog to find out what challenges and successes awaited Phumlani on his return home.

Chicago:

Phumlani takes in a view of the Chicago skyline

Phumlani takes in a view of the Chicago skyline

Landing in Chicago I was already seeing the world differently. Had learned a lot from our one on one chats with Dave, from other people I met in NYC and Boston and interestingly from my personal intentional observation of every small and big pieces of things and situations I came across. At that point I was considering NYC as my favorite city not knowing that Chicago will touch my soul.

From the airport our first stop was at Beyond the Ball, a non-profit organization based and operating in Chicago with a moving history of integrating communities of different races and ending violence through sport. They were hosting an event that day and From the Roots (FTR) was moderating a panel discussion about why sports matter in today’s society. I was one of the three panelists including Rob Castaneda, founder of the Beyond the Ball, and Nora Dooley, Self-Directed Learning Coach at Coaches Across Continents. It was an honor coming from African soil to get an opportunity to share my views relating to the topic with people from the community that have almost the same social issues like my own.  But I was overwhelmed and almost got intimidated by speaking for the first time in my life in front of a mostly-Hispanic audience, some of whom needed a translator to understand English. Listening to Rob telling about success stories of his project and how the very same community has been key contributors to its growth was incredible. I was so inspired and if they made it under heavy challenges they faced, I was convinced that all is possible.

It was in Chicago where the strong hope that one day we will succeed was alive in me. I and Dave rented a basement AirBnB and for five days we turned it into a From the Roots base camp. Powerful, explicit, relevant conversations one after another every day. We digested those in a car when touring Chicago and a day touring with Leah, one of FTR board members stood out. She was more like a tour guide, showing us a number of places from museums and architecture to children’s parks and entertainment, and China town where for the first time I tried Chinese food and sea food.  It was an amazing experience of my life. Because of the hard work that FTR board members put in my trip was a reality and donations from kind FTR supporters, some of whom I met. But, most importantly it was through friendships we made and love we gave to each other that showed that we will achieve our big crazy dreams and we will pay it forward to the rest of the world promoting togetherness and race tolerance. Through SAYO, Grow Khula Multimedia Productions, and From the Roots we have developed the following creative programs: Exchange Fellowship Program by FTR; Schools and Community -After hours Sport, Art, Wise Chat and Home Institution and Learning Lab (H.I.L.L.) activities by SAYO; Art and Social Entrepreneurship Conference (ASEC), video and music productions, and Corner to Corner Street Children Project by Grow Khula; and the list of other progressive project s that we support which promote similar objectives goes on and on. 

Phumlani and FTR founder, David Flynn, make time for some self-reflection at "The Bean"

Phumlani and FTR founder, David Flynn, make time for some self-reflection at "The Bean"

We did successful presentations to potential sponsors and also a successful FTR annual fundraising event raising awareness about our work and financial resources to continue supporting the fellowship program and now moving forward our next task is to work towards achieving the year long exchange fellowship program. It will be not an easy task to accomplish but no matter how long it will take we are committed.

My Chicago here at home is totally a very different set up then the Chicago I visited in America, mine is in the third world country and very poor made up of informal settlements and devastating poverty and the other one is something more luxurious according to me. I am crazy enough to think I will change mine to be a livable place with adequate basic needs for residents through SAYO and my local political activism. I’d rather DIE TRYING, I got nothing to lose.

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