Railton Foundation, Swellendam, helping each other to help the township community satrting with the Children.

Trying to help the Township kids in Swellendam, Cultural differences, challenges and realisations!

 

 

The last couple of weeks I’ve been based In Swellendam, Staying at the stunning Imangale with The Shakleys who have treated me like their own and indulged me in fabulous mind opening conversation every evening. My days have been with the Railton foundation on the kids Easter camp. I came to South Africa specifically to get involved with communities and try to help in any way I could, so this was a perfect introduction.

In 2006 a Dutch lawyer travelled through SA and decided to start a NGO in Swellendam which would assist with community development and provide financial support with projects, The Railton Foundation was born and their Motto being ‘From the community, with the community’

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The Railton foundation is a not for profit organisation which partners with other community projects to provide health care, sport, youth development, education promotion & community welfare. At the same time recognising the poorest residents are the ones most in need of help, support and guidance and possible solutions to their very real and everyday problems.

Since the foundation has been set up many projects have been started, ranging from a community research project in 2010, a structure that teaches young to play musical instruments, a local bursary fund, a community action programme, a reading/literacy programme at a school and a leadership programme for school age youth.

 

 

 

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I was lucky enough to be involved in the Easter youth programme which included sport, athletics, craft, dance, singing and more. Everyday for two weeks in various locations around Railton action packed mornings were organised and always ended with a cooked lunch. Tiny tots to adults with disabilities joined, first day we had about 40 increasing everyday to over 100! It was organised chaos but everyone had smiles on their faces.

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I loved this camp, the joy and energy the participants had, the dedication and commitment the workers and volunteers gave blew my mind. It was the most mentally, physically and emotionally draining experience i have been in and knowing how little a difference i could make made this harder. Growing up in a western world but travelling from a young age i was aware of how differently countries and cultures do things, structure and organisation is so variable, neither way is right or wrong just very different.  However now when trying to give hands on help this seemed accentuated.  The way i may of thought things should’ve been run was completely opposite, i struggled with not sticking my nose in, and when i did put my spin on things it was forgotten then next day! Ive learnt to stand back and understand that the differences are what makes us all unique and hopefully with patience we can learn from each other. Differences aside the result was essentially the same, the kids had fun, and more importantly they had a meal and time away from what is often a very hard home life. I saw snippets and heard stories related to their lives (drinking and stabbings included) but i will never truly comprehend what they go through.

My heart broke when i could pick the HIV babies from the crowds or the children that simply turned up for the meal, also the discipline being violence, this was a shock and after the first time i learnt to just turn away and accept it isn’t my place to speak up, and truly wondered what the hell went on in their homes if this was normal in public. I really wanted this to be my area of influence, for people to realize control and respect does not get earnt through violence, it can be gained by structure and verbal communication, hopefully one day this will change. At the end of this camp iam now aware of how much help is needed and that one person can’t do much at all in one sitting, i’ve learnt that my purpose here is quite possibly to show the children love and give them attention, beyond that i can support the foundation leaders and management as much as i possibly can. Hopefully assisting them and alleviating some of their many many tasks and jobs.

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This Foundation is going from strength to strength however the key in all the countries projects and foundations is money, money makes all of this possible, it enables the foundation to employ driven focused men and women from the townships to run the projects continually not just ones off, it enables transport, food, materials and equipment. Everyone can have the enthusiasm and passion to help but $$$$ is what really counts. I hoped and hope i can make a difference but i have come to the conclusion that even if one child smiles and feels some love then that for now is the biggest help i can hope to give.

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Recycle, up cycle and Respect

Recycling and litter in the UK compared to Hawaii, two islands, the respect so polar opposite. What will a waste to art project in Cape Town bring…

Right I’m off, 22hrs travelling to touch down in Cape Town,SA!
This feels like the beginning of a huge exciting journey! I have no idea what awaits and I could turn around in a week or fall in love like I did with the big island! Apparently SA has a “heart beat” like no other place, his is what I felt on The big island, Hawaii and I am so pumped to see what South Africa has to offer. I can’t imagine how much more it can but I’m open to everything it does.

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Up cycling, recycling and our environment  is something i’ve become incredibly passionate about, especaily after living on an island for the last 6 months ho respects loves and is so proud of the huge rock they call home.

I found myself not even wanting to bypass the tiniest piece of litter, to think about not buying water in a plastic bottle and paddling out to surf to bring random bits of rubbish back to shore.

Coming back to the UK I’ve been bitterly dissappinted in the state of the hedgerows, walk ways and even today the sides of the motorway I drove along, we have become such a disposable and self disrtuctive island and we need to stop this ruin before its too late.

Paying for fuel this morning a man came in with handfuls of the plastic gloves provided for our use, he had found them in the local hedgerows and what he was carrying was only a portion of what he had found! As I drove away I could see his concern. No one else will pick up our crap, its up to us, one piece at a time.

 

So where I’m off to is called The revival project is so exciting and I feel so lucky to be a part of this in whatever capacity I can.

Three men found themselves on a dumping ground in cape down and are reviving it into an Eden, an Eden where the communities waste is turned into objects of comfort. A

down and are reviving it into an Eden, an Eden where the communities waste is turned into objects of comfort. A sustainable living environment using everything from water and waste to revive seed to organically nourish themselves. This project is built by travellers for travellers.

Their start was a blank scrub land but with pure love and enthusiasm the hope and dreams for the future of this commutning and children is beyond possible and with mine and many other helpers….life changing!

https://www.facebook.com/therevivalprojectgordonsbay/