My Europe trip came at the right time, since we as uMthombo have been needing to strengthen our relationship with existing supporters and to build new avenues of support with other supporters. Many thanks to Amos Trust and Friends of uMthombo for making it all possible – and of course, for their wonderful hospitality and friendship!
A warm Dutch welcome to Schipol Airport – so nice to spend time with good friends.
Celebrating our cycling achievement with new and old Amos partners.
The cycle ride was ideally timed too. It put uMthombo back into the conversations among Amos supporters, but also opened some new conversations amongst newer supporters who came in as a result of the publicity around the ride. I have written separately about the ride, but it certainly was a ride to remember!
Moment of shared joy and glory as all riders celebrate reaching the destination of the tour - the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris!
The UK: Old and new friends
It was good to meet with old friends at Amos Trust, our major donor, and discuss future plans. We have grown in vision and capacity thanks to their ongoing accompaniment. I am grateful for this continuing partnership.
Mpendulo meeting with Azey Bennetts, Amos Trust fundraiser and Karin Joseph, Street Child Lead Worker
Mpendulo addressing Amos Trust supporters at a London Cafe
Methodist Church Links:
New relationships with the Methodist Church of Great Britain, Cliff College and other Methodist institutions that have grown through my visits to various British circuits, are promising to bear good fruit for uMthombo as well as the Seth Mokithimi Methodist Seminary (SMMS) in Pietermaritzburg.
Already we have had visits from Methodist Church and Cliff College leadership and interns from SMMS.
Plans are afoot to establish mutual learning and exchange programmes and other related initiatives aimed at strengthening all of our work with those on the margins of society.
Methodist Church in Britain’s Head of Discipleship and Ministries Jude Levermore toured with Mpendulo to local Methodist Churches to share about uMthombo’s work, which was reported in the church newsletter
Singing for our Supper:
The Heart and Soul Choir in Twicksbury have contributed towards uMthombo’s ability to provide meals, friendship and hope to children and youth on Durban’s streets for a number of years. I enjoyed reconnecting with them and updating them on our work and the many challenges we face. It is this kind of sustained support that has allowed us to continue the work and build on it.
The Netherlands Link: Widening Circles of Friends of uMthombo:
In Amsterdam we have expanded our wings through Friends of uMthombo’s links, with key visits with city Mayors which support our partnership, meetings with local Dutch supporters of uMthombo at schools,– in Post 16 or the holiday camps, and sharing more about our work, also to interact with the little boys and girls who have contributed to the life of the org over the past 7 years .
Through the ongoing support of Henny, Marike, Maria and Edith, a strong support base has been established. This kind of support from ordinary folk so far away motivates us to continue working toward ensuring that there are alternatives for children and young people living on the streets. We appreciate the recognition of the work we do, as well as the compassion for the ever-growing needs among Durban’s children and youth.
The sustainability of the work depends on this kind of long term support – not only for us to help young people become reintegrated into home and society, to reintegration but also enables us to accompany them longer term. In a way we are secondary parents, a kind of constant for young people as they try to build some stability into their lives. This is not possible without funding support that is in it for the long haul.
Some Friends of uMthombo make a presentation of donations collected
Mpendulo addresses primary school children who collect funds for uMthombo
The Mayor of Deventer listens deeply as Mpendulo tells of the plight of children and youth on the streets of Durban
Relationship-building with Rotary Club Zwartewatersteden who regularly support Friends of uMthombo
Making new Contacts - Potential for new partnerships:
Friends of uMthombo organised a visit for me with WomenWin in Amsterdam. It is an international NGO that promotes sports for women’s empowerment. Yvonne Henry and I shared about our respective work, and discussed the possibility of establishing a continuing partnership. This will help us in the process of reshaping uMthombo’s work with girls and young women, as it will be of great assistance to use specialist support from WomenWin, as we consider how best to come alongside the girls and young women that help them to empower themselves, and help us take new strategic directions in this work.
I also went to Germany to meet Misereor in Aachen, where I received an extremely warm welcome, although I was new. Klaus Piepert kindly gave me an opportunity to make a presentation on our work to a number of his team members. We have been invited to contribute a proposal in 2019, although of course we realise that their selection process has to follow its own course.
Mpendulo outside Misereor
Mpendulo didn’t only work. Here is in Windsor Castle grounds witnessing the Royal Wedding with a Royals fan!