The unmistakable thing about the period around Valentine’s Day is how the month is expected to be about a romantic love shared between two people. But what is love really? When it comes to Valentine's Day we often understand it to be about stuffed fluffy animals, heart-shaped chocolates in shiny wrappers and expensive roses. Many people are sad that they are not dating. Others will have their social media statuses full of love. Yes, we do all want and need to be loved. But sometimes love can feel transactional, give and take, in isiXhosa bathi ina ethe.
Yet, is this true love? We often just end up hurt and disappointed because the world has created an appetite for something we can’t handle nor fulfill. We have created unrealistic expectations of those we love. If you buy me flowers, chocolate or clothes, will I love you? If you do x, will I do y? It’s never enough, it’s always doing in order to receive.
Real love is usually sacrificial and unconditional and it does not need to receive something in return. At Beautiful Gate we try to develop and share this type of love.
Guided by Scripture we see a very comprehensive and challenging picture of real love; it states that "Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres. Love never fails" 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
This kind of love forms the very foundation of the work we do in our organisation. Our goal is to love every child, every mother and every father who comes through our gate and to do so unconditionally for so many have not received such love. Here at Beautiful Gate, we recognise love as vital as the air we breathe and Valentine's Day is more than a day or a month – it is an entire lifetime of seeking to honour Christ and be loving in everything we do.
Beautiful Gate staff and visitors celebrate Valentine's Day!
THE GIVING OF LOVE
IS AN EDUCATION ITSELF
After our successful volunteer recruitment drive, our month of February kicked-off with weeks of training and networking, and it all prepared our Volunteers for the most exciting part – meeting their schools and getting to know their learners!
This year, we've been able to expand to 3 new primary schools through our partnership with the YearBeyond programme. Mazivuke, Mzamomhle and Entshona Primary Schools have joined the Beautiful Gate family and together with Bongolethu, Kwa-Faku, Vukani and Zanemfundo Primary Schools, we are now working with 1000 learners in 7 primary schools.
At the same time, our high school facilitators have been gearing up for some exciting times ahead. In addition to the academic assistance and educational resources made available to our high scholars, we also invest in extracurricular activities. Our wonderful range of clubs has officially begun and that can only mean that our afternoons are guaranteed to be filled with music, cheer and exhilaration!
TRUE LOVE CULTIVATES
Dr Louise Nadin, Child Health Programme Managers, gives health advice to parents on the parenting skills course.
Stable, healthy families are the heart of a strong society and we should never underestimate the importance of strengthening a child’s most valued support system – the family! In our community, families come in all shapes and sizes, from the largest family made up of cousins and aunts, to a tight-knit nuclear family consisting of only mother or father, and child.
Regardless of the size of the family unit, we all need support on how to better raise self-sufficient and confident children who will someday be independent enough to participate in the economy and reach their dreams.
Our three programmes, of Child Health, Family Strengthening and Education do not operate in silos, instead, everything is connected for the betterment and holistic development of the child.
Each year our Family Strengthening team runs Parenting Skills Courses to support families throughout our community. And this February, we registered 50 parents for our first course of 2020. The Parenting Skills Course is a 9-week short course, and includes topics like 'Children’s Rights and Needs’, Positive Discipline’, 'Succession Planning’ and ‘Child Development’. Our group is halfway through their course and we cannot wait to celebrate their graduation and find out how constructive their group learning has been.
VOLUNTEERS ARE LOVE
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others”? – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A bold question that a brave young man attempts to respond to. His response to this call to action is not in a few words, instead, Phoka Hlaheng’s response is how he selflessly lives his life with one hand on his heart and the other, always extended and ready to help.
During the first two weeks of February, our group of new volunteers sat through our academic and club training sessions, and had the opportunity to network with some of our like-minded partners in the after-school space, including team members from NumberSense and SchoolinABox. One of our new recruits, Phoka, is a 23-year-old introvert who caught our attention when he defined – in his own words – what it meant for him to be a volunteer. “A volunteer is a person who puts in their time, energy and heart assisting people and the community at large”, he explained. It was this definition that compelled us to find out how he found himself in our programme and some of the exciting things we can all look forward to through the year.
Coming from a large family, Phoka found himself in an environment full of children and so he began to take note of how children’s minds operate. During his high school career, he was a member of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) and was then nominated as the Head Boy of his school in his matric year. He further explained that his leadership roles at school were due to his commitment to help people whenever there was an opportunity. His undying love for children, together with his kindness, led him to explore teaching as a profession. Since matriculating in 2015, he spent a lot of time working and then came across the Year Beyond programme. That was his formal introduction to the wonderful world of volunteerism and he spent 2019 interacting with young people such as himself, and that is where he first met the team from Beautiful Gate. This is Phoka's second year of volunteering while he waits for the University of South Africa (UNISA) to respond to his application to study teaching. His current role at Beautiful Gate is an academic tutor for children in primary school. “I’ll be tutoring English and Mathematics to learners in the intermediate phase. Another cool activity I will be a big part of is the art, reading and debate club and I appreciate Beautiful Gate for putting effort in holistically developing children, in academics and in cultural activities”, he mentioned as he was preparing to meet his reading club members for the first time.
Phoka and his volunteer team have already started with academic tutoring in our local partner schools. It is all systems go for our 2020 Volunteer cohort and we are super excited!
We had a great time with our new friends from Harvest Sound. All the way from Nashville, Tennessee in the USA, the team could not wait to meet our learners. Harvest Sound is a vibrant Christ-centered community that is committed to building relationships and serving the poor through creative compassion. With each sale made through their music, they serve their purpose by funding missions and ‘musicianaries’ – this is when they raise funds to visit different communities across the world to share the Gospel and cultivate an atmosphere that encourages hope, love and a sense of togetherness. Similar to Beautiful Gate, Harvest Sound holds strong values and thrives on the betterment and evolution of the community. Before they blessed us with their songs of praise, Minah took them on a tour around our facilities, revealing both the history and future prospects of our work. Then the party was set in the Chapel and it was all song and dance, together with a role play that answers the question ‘where do all broken hearts go’, especially during this month of love.
We hope to see them again someday.
2020 CAPE TOWN CYCLE TOUR!
Have you entered to ride the Cape Town Cycle Tour in 2020? If you'd like to make yours a #RideforHope, please create an online fundraising campaign in aid of Beautiful Gate South Africa via https://www.givengain.com/join and get your friends and family to sponsor you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, help or resources.
8 International Women's' Day
14 Fathers' Event
21 Child Abuse Prevention
21 Human Rights Day
24 - 27 Holiday Club
31 Parent Skills Graduation
JOIN THE HOPE CLUB!
The Hope Club is a community of people who have pledged to invest in the hope that our community has. Become part of a family of givers, a league of heroes who are committed to bringing change and transformation in our community. Become a monthly giver, and receive a monthly Super Story in return.
You can become an Ambassador and run a marathon or cycle in an event of your choice! And the best part about this is you can do this ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
Crush your fitness goals by taking on a sporting challenge (or whatever other creative ideas you may have) and at the same time, raise funds for Beautiful Gate! Do it alone or do it as a group. Ask your friends, family, work colleagues or church members to get behind your initiative to help you fundraise. Let us know what you're thinking and we can support you with project ideas, photos, etc. and we can also help promote your project on our social media. Email email@example.com more.
2. Want to declutter?
Donate any gently used clothing, furniture or working appliances to our second hand shop. Email Valerie for more information.
3. Want to keep some of your favourite habits like shopping? Shop with a purpose!
Join MySchoolMyVillageMyPlanet for free and know that a portion of your shopping helps us work with children and families.
(This applies to our fellow South African shoppers only)
South African shoppers: Support Beautiful Gate every time you shop at participating stores.
To nominate Beautiful Gate South Africa as one of up to 3 beneficiaries on your existing card click here or apply for a new card here.
MORE WAYS TO SUPPORT BEAUTIFUL GATE INTO 2020
Make a once-off or ongoing donation to support our work with children and families in Crossroads and Philippi. One of the easiest ways to give is online via Givengain. Alternatively, please email us for information on the best way to give from your country.
GIVE IN YOUR COUNTRY
Additionally, we have worked hard to create multiple ways for you to support us in your own country. This maximises the benefit of your giving to us and to you! Please click on your country flag below for more information.
If you are already giving via a particular channel you don't need to change unless you want to. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help or advice. If your country flag is not shown, you can still donate online in most major currencies.
Thank you for partnering with us for children and families!