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As I continue to acclimate myself to the the work of CHOSA, learning as I go on visits to our 8 different partners about the projects which they run, I cannot help but have a smile on my face when I meet the amazing women who run and work in these organisations. Each of them have the kindest hearts, warmest hugs, and infinite drive to provide for the orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities.

Yesterday, we took the visiting supervisors of our current CHOSA volunteers around to a few of the partners that CHOSA supports, stopping in at Blessings Educare Centre, Philani Nutrition Centre, and Abaphumeleli Home of Safety. Upon each arrival the team was immediately greeted by friendly waves, hugs, and extended hands that led to guided tours of the crèche (preschool) or children’s home. There we no tears or sad faces, just smiles and joyful giggles. The love for these children is evident, as the Mamas (caregivers) of the children are caught constantly singing songs and giving praise and support to the little ones.

It was very fitting to be able to have these visits scheduled on International Women’s Day. Most of the women working I’m sure had limited knowledge that this event was even occurring today, as South Africa has it’s own public holiday to celebrate women on August 9th, and they all had their hands full teaching a classroom full of kids, overseeing boys playing soccer in the street, and changing nappies (diapers). So to them it was just a regular day in the life. But for me, I put a special lens on these partner visits. Rather than focusing on the kids, as we often do, I took a special look at the Mamas, and was blown away by the passion and love that exudes from them.

Interestingly enough, this is exactly the kind of research that the volunteers who are working with CHOSA are conducting. Their research seeks to understand the Mamas role, as both a caregiver for a career, and often times a mother at home. How are they able to process and balance these roles, while coping with the stresses of having to care for 30 as opposed to 3 children on a daily basis? CHOSA is excited to support such research and cannot wait to hear about their findings.

As we went from a Grade R (Kindergarten) classroom at Blessings to a baby room, I overheard the teacher say to her children how proud they had made her, as they successfully answered questions about the materials they had been learning in the class. Joyfully shouting their shapes and colours all in English, I was blown away by these children’s knowledge! Most children from Xhosa homes don’t begin speaking English until their school work transitions to being taught in English in Grade 4, so these kids are way ahead of the curve! Mamas like this, who teach from their heart, and define success through the children that they teach, are just a small glimpse into the power of women within the local communities, putting the children before themselves to give them a future that they deserve.

It is these women who inspire CHOSA staff members to continually work to fundraise and provide capacity building to their organisations, because of their deep rooted dedication to sharing a home, protection, and love to children in need. Thank you Mamas for all that you do!

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Greetings from South Africa! After a brief hiatus of posting, we are back to keep you updated about what is happening in the field with CHOSA. As February has already come and gone, CHOSA is now in full swing for 2017, working with our 8 partner organisations in and around the Cape Flats. All of the children that CHOSA works with seem to be doing well and growing so big! We at CHOSA are also excited to announce that we now have an additional member on our South African team, Adele, who will be bringing a stronger focus towards fundraising within South Africa.

We have two new volunteers working with CHOSA from Holland. CHOSA is very excited to welcome Liza and Shannon to the team and looks forward to learning from the research they will be conducting with our partner organisations. This week we have taken them around to all of our partners in Khayelitsha, where they will be focusing their work, and they seem thrilled to get started!

As an exciting pit stop, we were able to go to the 18 Gangster Museum with the volunteers between visits to CHOSA’s partner crèches (pre-schools) and children’s homes. This museum is housed in a pop-up shipping container, and details the crisis of gangsterism in South Africa. Providing education to foreigners and locals alike, the 18 Gangster Museum highlights how important it is to provide support and positive opportunities for children growing up in South Africa in order to keep them on a healthy trajectory that will guide them towards long-term success and a life free of gang involvement. As CHOSA works in communities plagued with unemployment, addiction, poverty, violence, and HIV/AIDS, this visit brought home the importance of the work that CHOSA’s partner organisations do in order to keep the children that they care for safe, healthy, and loved. The role that CHOSA partner organisations play could make all the difference in keeping children off of the street, and away from gang involvement. While the realities of South Africa can at times be hard to swallow, as was this visit to the 18 Gangster Museum, it reminds us at CHOSA of why we do what we do, and why it is so important to continue to fund our partner organisations. Learning of the humbling facts about the correlation between youth and gang involvement further guides CHOSA to seek to support more community-driven projects that aim to improve the lives of youth within their communities. Thanks again for letting us come visit and learn so much 18 Gangster Museum!

In the coming weeks we will be supporting Liza and Shannon with their research at a few of our partner organisations and continuing with various capacity building activities with our partners. CHOSA will also be ramping up our social media presence, so look out for interesting reads and posts to share! Keep a look out on our news page and social media for more blog posts providing updates from the field about CHOSA’s work.

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CHOSA (Children of South Africa) is calling for applications for the position of Fundraising/Project Coordinator. She/he will split time between the Cape Town office and various townships to further CHOSA’s mission, which is to identify and support communities and community-based organisations (CBOs) that reach out and take care of orphans and other vulnerable children in South Africa.

Currently, most of CHOSA’s fundraising occurs in the US. With this position, CHOSA is widening its reach within South Africa to fundraise and network in and around Cape Town. For this reason, the successful applicant must be an innovative self-starter with a track record of successful fundraising and/or networking strategies. She/he must also be able to build rapport and humbly interact with marginalized communities, as this role will be complemented with direct work providing capacity-building and other support services to our partners. For more details, see “Full List of Responsibilities” below.

  • Time commitment: 40 hours per week (including occasional work on weekends)
  • Start Date: January 12, 2017
  • Duration: Permanent contract with a minimum commitment by the employee of 18 months.
  • Salary: R10,064 per month plus compensation for CHOSA-related expenses (petrol, car maintenance, telephone, internet, printing, office supplies).

More about CHOSA: CHOSA, established in 2005, takes a holistic and non-directive approach to community development. CHOSA’s goal is to facilitate the empowerment of marginalised people as they seek to serve the orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities. Through community participation and ownership of the development process, CHOSA promotes local action, self-empowerment, and peer-to-peer networking as essential strategies for community-driven development. Visit www.chosa.org for more.

Job requirements

  • Drivers license: To qualify for the position, you must have a valid drivers’ license. Please indicate in your motivational letter that you are in possession of a valid drivers’ license, and bring it to any subsequent interview.
  • Languages: Fluency in English. Fluency or willingness to learn isiXhosa.
  • Computer literacy: Fluency in use of internet, email, office programmes (in particular command of spreadsheets and word processors);
  • Experience: Volunteer/research/work experience with community organisations;
  • Fundraising skills: Strong understanding of best practices in raising funds amongst individual donors as well as charitable foundations;
  • Writing skills: Strong writing skills and ability to write thoughtful letters, proposals, articles and other types of documents in English;
  • Communication skills: Ability to work well with and communicate with people in a non-domineering or authoritarian manner. Ability to navigate and stay out of personal disputes while still maintaining open lines of communication;
  • Respect for others: Able to respect and treat equally people of different cultures and ethnicities. Should not discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, origin, etc. Should treat each individual as an equal;
  • Strong work ethic: Able to work independently and creatively without someone telling you what to do. Able to set own appointments, manage own schedule and report back on work;
  • Cooperation skills: willingness and ability to work in a cooperative environment with a flat structure and based on consensus decision-making.
  • Democratic process: Should have an understanding of and predisposition towards advocating for democratic forms of community governance.

To apply, submit the following:

  • CV with three contactable references
  • short motivational letter specifically addressing how your qualifications relate to the requirements above
  • writing sample (maximum 200 words) from an academic paper, blog post, etc. (If you do not have one of these, a 200 word viewpoint on children’s issues in South Africa will suffice.)

Send all of the above to job@chosa.org. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The application deadline is the 2nd of December 2016.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Candidates who have received no response within two weeks of the closing date should assume their application was unsuccessful.

Full List of Responsibilities

(Note: Responsibilities 1-2 will constitute 24 hours, i.e. 3 working days per week. Responsibilities 3-7 will constitute 16 hours, i.e. 2 working days per week. All responsibilities will add up to 40 hours per week.)

  1. Fundraising and Networking
  • Work with CHOSA’s US-based Fundraising Coordinator and Board Members on all aspects of fundraising
  • Plan, organise and coordinate CHOSA fundraisers in Cape Town
  • Seek out and apply for grant opportunities in South Africa (with the assistance of US-based Fundraising Coordinator)
  • Seek out relationships and network with like-minded organisations and potential funders
  • Liaise with CHOSA major donors with updates from the ground, etc.
  • Organise and deliver in-kind donations
  • Connect local donors to projects they can support directly, when opportunities arise
  • Show current/potential donors around to visit the projects
  •  Represent CHOSA at certain events (community events, events of like-minded organisations, networking opportunities, etc.)
  1. Financial bookkeeping (shared responsibility)
  •  Coordinate all aspects of CHOSA’s financial bookkeeping (in partnership with one other staff member)
  1. Find partner communities and organisations for CHOSA
  • Look for and connect with active communities who have set up their own child-related CBOs or intend on setting up child-related CBOs
  • Establish a relationship with communities and/or CBOs
  • Encourage relationships with communities that have set up democratic governance structures in order to oversee the development of children’s projects in their communities
  • Encourage relationships with small grassroots CBOs that want to set up strong accountable structures
  1. Work with partner CBOs and communities that CHOSA supports in Cape Town. (Both CBOs and communities are referred to as “partners” below.)
  • Hold regular meetings with each relevant partner. Frequency dependent on the needs but should not be less than once every two weeks with each partner. The purposes of these meetings are:
  • To continue/build open and trusting relationships with the partner;
  • Receive updates on the progress of the partner;
  • Receive accounting for funds if there is a CHOSA grant in place;
  • Work with the partner to develop their organisation in ways that fit with their goals for development and assist in this process of growth. This is also a time to discuss internal/external problems, and ways in which CHOSA can support the project either directly or through referrals;
  • Participate in annual meetings with each CBO’s Board of Directors;
  • Ensure that the partner is able to prepare a financial report back to CHOSA. If the partner lacks the ability to prepare such a statement, then the coordinator should request more frequent (preferably monthly) engagement with the organization’s bookkeeper to ensure the project’s finances are in order;
  • Attend community and committee meetings where asked, including meetings after hours and on weekends
  • Facilitate informal and sometimes formal discussions and workshops with community members. Where necessary, find individuals and/or NGOs to facilitate these discussions and workshops
  • Report back to the partner where necessary and where requested. Report back to CHOSA on each partner’s finances and general progress.
  1. Liaise amongst CHOSA staff and to CHOSA general membership (board)
  • Write up summary report every two months to CHOSA general membership about all on-ground work.
  • Attend weekly CHOSA staff meetings
  • Attend all CHOSA General Membership (Board) Meetings via Skype
  1. Organise networking events
  • Work with CHOSA staff to determine needed workshop themes based on community needs;
  • Work with other staff to organise four networking workshops per year that bring together the staff and management of many CHOSA-supported projects.
  1. Other shared responsibilities amongst staff
  • Promote and manage CHOSA social networks (website, twitter, facebook)
  • Manage the CHOSA email account

Photo updates from Cape Town


Greetings from everyone at CHOSA! It has been a busy few months for our partner projects, and we wanted to share a few highlights through photos.

img_0832The teachers at QQ community crèche have been working tirelessly to make improvements to the preschool building. They recently held a community fundraiser which raised R1,600 ($160) and CHOSA matched that amount, in addition to the monthly grant we provide. This recent fundraiser is evidence of how deeply invested the QQ Section community is in their children’s welfare. With the help of these funds, the preschool has installed new wood laminate flooring, colorful new curtains, and a full sink with running water (a first for the preschool). They have also invested in Early Childhood Development training and manuals for the teachers. As a result, the children are thriving, bringing joy and hope to their families.

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networkingaug2Last month, CHOSA staff facilitated one of our quarterly networking events. The topic of the workshop, Leadership and Governance, was chosen by our partner projects. With the help of a guest speaker, the projects were able to share best practices with one another around effective leadership and relating to staff (teachers, caregivers, etc.) Participants came away with an important lesson: that any organization thrives on mutual respect and genuine two-way communication. A new community preschool joined us, and are so eager to learn more through CHOSA’s quarterly events that they offered to serve as host of the next one!networkingaug13

 


Welcome to our annual online fundraiser! The raffle and auction take place from Monday, July 18th to Friday, July 29th (at midnight PST). Every dollar we raise makes a difference in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children we serve through our community-driven educational programs and residential care. (New to CHOSA? Click here to learn more about our  vision and work.) There are two ways to participate in the raffle:

1) Buy a raffle ticket: Every $10 donation gives you a chance to win, and you can purchase as many as you’d like to increase your chances. A dozen winning tickets will be drawn throughout the raffle. Click here and use the donate button to purchase a ticket. Here’s a look at a few of the beautiful prizes you could win, hand-crafted in Cape Town:

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2) Bid on an item! Click here to visit our auction site.

At the site, you can place your bid on the gorgeous items you see below – and more! Each unique piece of art was made by mothers in Cape Town who participate in an income-generation program at Philani, one of CHOSA’s partners.

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Thank you for your support! Please share this page with your networks – together we can make a big difference for the Children of South Africa.

CHOSA Marks Youth Day


Every year on June 16th, South Africa marks Youth Day. This day is set apart to celebrate the legacy of youth activism in South Africa, and to recognize today’s youth who shape the future of the nation. The day is rooted in the events of June 16th, 1976, when thousands of students in Soweto, Johannesburg organized a march against oppressive language policies in their schools. Students were being forced to learn in Afrikaans rather than in their native languages, a policy which reinforced the government’s domination over the Black majority while hindering Black students’ ability to critically analyze what they were being taught.

The peaceful protest was met with violent suppression. Police opened fire on the marching schoolchildren; 176 were killed and over a thousand were wounded. The tragedy became known as “The Day Apartheid Died,” because it awakened much of the globe’s conscience to the gruesome truth of apartheid South Africa. A powerful radio documentary of the same name can be heard here.

Today, Youth Day is celebrated not only to keep the memory of those children alive, but to recognize the great power and potential of today’s South African youth. It is this potential that drives our work in Cape Town. CHOSA believes that every child is entitled to grow up in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment, and we work tirelessly with our community partners to provide the care these children need. To make a donation today in honor of the youth we serve, please visit www.chosa.org/donate. Also, be on the lookout for a post about our upcoming Online Art Raffle next month. We hope you’ll participate!

Thank you for your continued support.


Today, we feel it’s important to inform each of you about two losses impacting our CHOSA family in Cape Town.

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Mama Maposela, founder of Emasi, passed away last weekend.

We are devastated to share that over the weekend, Mama Zelphina Maposela, the founder and matriarch of Emasithandane Children’s Home, passed away. Mama Maposela began her work in the Nyanga community as a Community Health Worker. However, during the 90s, during the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Mama became involved in helping find alternative homes for the children who were being orphaned by the virus. Eventually, she started taking in many of these children, both from within her own family and from the local community. As she began fostering children, the project grew quickly and soon became the boisterous home – bursting at the seams – that it is today. Emasi is a completely grassroots-run initiative that has received support from CHOSA in various forms over the years.

Former CHOSA staff member Rob remembers Mama Maposela as “a quiet force at Emasi, seeming to effortlessly run the organization from her chair in the back room; the children will forever remember a woman who welcomed them into her home with open arms and provided a safe and loving place to grow up. While never seeking the limelight nor recognition she unquestionably deserved, Mama Maposela relentlessly put the needs of her children first.”

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Mama Sisana, as she is known, getting “on the level” of her preschoolers in QQ. Her son recently passed away.

Also, just a few days ago, the QQ Section community suffered a tragic loss. One of QQ Section Crèche (Preschool)’s most beloved teachers, committee members, and former principals, Ms Sisana Booi, lost her son, Thando, in a car crash on Monday. Thando was just embarking on young adulthood, and the family has played an important role in community life in QQ. Years ago, CHOSA co-founder Jared was invited to stay in the community for two weeks, and he was housed by the Booi family, so he got to know Thando well. Jared remembers him as “a friendly, good natured young man who often came by the crèche to help his mother out.”

To respond to these two significant losses, current and former staff and board members of CHOSA have decided to personally raise funds toward funeral expenses for both Mama Maposela and Thando Booi. Mama Maposela’s funeral will take place in Nyanga on May 18th, and in her hometown in Eastern Cape on the 21st. Half of any funds raised from this post will go towards funeral expenses, and transportation for the children in her care to attend both services. The other half will go toward laying Thando to rest in QQ Section.

Those wishing to make a contribution to these expenses can send any amount to Jared’s personal PayPal account at jaredsacks@gmail.com. Alternatively, you can email ellie@chosa.org to make other arrangements, or to receive bank details for those based in South Africa.

Thank you for joining with our Cape Town community in grieving these losses.

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