Updates from South Africa – July 2022

As we told you in thelast update published last December, the Scalabrinian Missionaries operate in South Africa, in close collaboration with ASCS – Scalabrinian Agency for Development Cooperation, with social activities and various projects such as the Scalabrini Centre and Lawrence House in Cape Town, and the St. Patrick Center in Johannesburg.

Today, we share with you a new update on the different projects we are carrying out in South Africa also thanks to the valuable support of many donors and partners who support our activities.

Romina’s account of Lawrence House activities.

Through the account of Romina Meneghetti, Education Activities Coordinator at Lawrence House, we share an update from the project.

“Dear friends and readers,

Lawrence House currently houses 24 children, 12 boys and 12 girls, ages 9 to 18.

In December, two girls finished high school and began their journey outside Lawrence House. It was an important, beautiful but also emotionally difficult moment for both of us. The transition to the stage of independence is always a delicate process full of emotions so much so that sometimes it is more the negative emotions that are felt because the uncertainty of the future creates instability. So many moments of reflection, sharing, listening and support are needed even once you leave the House.

We finish routes and start new ones with new children. Since the beginning of the year, we have taken in four children and young people. And this welcoming process, too, triggers new dynamics in the House, and there is always a need for a period of readjustment.

Another transition that created some discomfort was the return to attending school every day after the various different arrangements during the covid. Even at that time there was a need for a stable structure, support, and calmly normalcy returned.

Fortunately, all recreational activities have also resumed. At the moment most of the boys are active in different sports, either playing soccer, or are in the dance, climbing, netball or rugby group. And this is very good for several reasons: physical activity helps children and young people to release energy, emotions, and helps the nervous system to regulate and calm down. These activities also provide an opportunity to be in contact with peers and create new relationships.

A good time of fun and sharing was the camp we organized for the girls. Together with the social worker, we spent a weekend with our teenagers in a house near the sea. We have organized team games, personal and group reflection times, and created a wall with positive attitudes that the girls consider important for group cohesion. The girls were in charge of preparing lunch and dinner as a way to work together and help each other. The camp was a good experience, for us to observe the girls in a different environment and to strengthen our relationships with them, and for them themselves because they got to take their time, get to know each other more, accept each other as individuals, and enjoy the sea, which brought calm, serenity and joy.

A new process we started this year was the inclusion of the House Committee, the committee that represents The Boys, in the leadership program that is organized by the Scalabrini Center. In this way, committee members have the opportunity to learn about their abilities, to relate to other peers who have the same functions although in a different context, the school. So far everyone is excited about the process, we also hope soon to see some results in their function in the home as well.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed and continues to support our project. Really thank you from all of us!”

 

St. Patrick’s Centre in Johannesburg

In the words of Dhano Letchman, Scalabrinian Projects Manager at St. Patrick’s Centre in Johannesburg, we would like to update you about the various initiatives that the Scalabrinian Missionaries are carrying out in collaboration with ASCS and thanks to the invaluable support of many volunteers, donors and partners.

“In South Africa, the Department of Health faces great challenges. Just to name a few, in Rahima Moosa Hospital the number of births has increased from 10,000 to 16,000 in the last ten years registering a great increase from foreign women who come to South Africa specifically to give birth.

About 1 in 6 people in South Africa suffer from mental health problems. Although 85 percent of those suffering from mental illness rely on public sector services, only about 27 percent receive adequate treatment for their conditions.

These are just some of the difficulties facing the country in the health care field. And these very challenges underscore how important and necessary the work of our Clinic is.

Currently at St. Patrick’s Center 7 doctors and 5 nurses are working as volunteers bringing various skills and professionalism such as prenatal or men’s health. Doctors and nurses are available to all those with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and tuberculosis, also performing necessary checkups for pregnant women who cannot access the clinics.

In addition, we have engaged with NOVA, a government initiative for HIV and AIDS testing and awareness campaigns. The goal is to have at least 12 people tested daily and to refer these patients to their respective clinics for ongoing treatment.

We are also in talks with “Right to Care,” one of the largest HIV/AIDS organizations in South Africa, which distributes drugs, performs testing and treatment, and works within the various hospitals. They recently launched a “pharmaceutical ATM” System, and we have offered our clinic as a facility that will house this machine and be able to help patients avoid long lines waiting for their medications. Many patients also still suffer from the stigma of this disease.

About mental health, we have initiated discussions with the Department of Health so that our center can be used by a ministry team to assist patients.

In addition, when the Ministry of Health visited our facility, they expressed their desire to use it as a vaccination center for migrants and refugees. We will then use the facility a couple of days a week for vaccinations and booster shots.

We have come a long way with many challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to make sure that our Clinic meets all the necessary parameters, and after much tireless work we have brought the premises up to the required standards.

So we look forward to the work ahead, thanks in part to networking with partners and the support of the many volunteers and donors who will want to continue to walk alongside us.”

 

Meet Father Eduardo Gabriel, Scalabrinian Missionary in Johannesburg

Today we want to introduce Father Eduardo Gabriel, a Scalabrinian Missionary currently working in South Africa.

Father Eduardo was born in Piracicaba, in the province of São Paulo, Brazil. In 2002 he received a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the Federal University São Carlos, UFSCAR, in Brazil. In 2005 he received his master’s degree in Social Sciences from UFSCAR, and in 2010 he completed his PhD in Sociology at the University São Paulo, USP in Brazil, while studying in Lisbon, Portugal.

He trained in the Scalabrinian Mission in Manila, Philippines, until his ordination as a Scalabrinian Father in 2020. Since 2011 he has written a monthly article on migration in the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) publication Mundo e Missão. Father Eduardo is enthusiastic about working with migrants and refugees and conducting research on human mobility. He is part of the Johannesburg Community, along with Father Jorge and Father Constant.

Father Eduardo coordinates social activities and projects at the St. Patrick Center and is involved in a variety of pastoral activities at La Rochelle Parish: celebrations and sacraments for the Portuguese and English community, pastoral formation of parish groups, and organization of social projects at the parish level.

 

Also with your valuable support, we can continue to care for the people at the center of our actions, accompanying so many migrants and refugees, children, adults and families, in our projects in South Africa.

Thank you for what you decide to do. Every little gesture will make a difference!

More ways to donate

  • Bank Transfer: ASCS – Agenzia Scalabriniana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo
    IBAN: IT13 Q030 6909 6061 0000 0130 463
    BIC/SWIFT: BCI TIT MM
  • Reason: Africa
  • Post Office Checking Account Details: Post Checking Account 62388863
  • Donate your 5×1000: Tax Code 03133600241

Tax Benefits

We know that this is not your reason for supporting us, but remember that with your donation to ASCS you have tax benefits. You will be able to choose whether to deduct or deduct the donated amount.
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