Newsletter July 2021

Little Angels

In our last Newsletter, issued in July 2020, we reported the very bad news of the devastating fire at Little Angels creche.  We also outlined our revised strategic direction from focusing on children’s organisations to researching the viability of affordable housing for lower income people in Hout Bay.

We are very pleased to be able to report good news on both fronts.  Under the inspired leadership of Liezel Mathews, Little Angels has, literally ‘risen from the ashes’ and been transformed into a far better set of buildings than before the fire.

This was made possible by the generous donation from Breadline of three suitably fitted out shipping containers and a massive amount of volunteer work on the ground. MNF, and a number of local charities, played their part with targeted donations.  We also took the opportunity to commission suitable drawings to enable the creche to get a long-awaited fire certificate.

As set out last July, we have now mostly implemented our strategy of ending direct support of the Hout Bay charitable groups in line with our policy of encouraging self-reliance. This worked very well with Little Angels and Ikaya le Themba, but Ikasi Youth were particularly hard hit by the pandemic and had decided to shut down in March of this year.  In a series of Zoom calls we formulated a joint approach to enable the IY to stay open with continued funding from MNF for a further year. With our promise of funds, IY were successful in signing up another donor to match our funds, thus, hopefully, giving them a platform to weather the pandemic storm.

Although Covid 19 has prevented us visiting South Africa for the past 18 months, we have developed our online communication skills through WhatsApp and Zoom and have managed to achieve a good start in our goal of setting up our housing support strategy. The core idea is that if we can help empower local young people to take control of their housing needs, this will provide the bedrock of the social cohesion between the three Hout Bay communities which is at the centre of MNF’s vision for the future of this 100,000 strong Cape Town settlement.

The two elements of this initiative being developed on the ground through local initiatives, are the Hout Bay Youth Forum (HBYF) and Legacy Development Company (LEDECo).

Hout Bay Youth Forum

Phindi Zondani, our local representative in South Africa, and Stephano Nkosi, the local Ikasi Youth leader, are being supported by the Fellowship to establish the HBYF as a fully constituted organisation with representatives from all three Hout Bay ethnic groups. Apart from being a vital talking shop for the young people of Hout Bay, the Forum will act as a key source of feedback for LEDECo during their development of the brief and ultimate implementation of new housing in Hout Bay.

Legacy Development Company

After a gestation period of over two years following the initial agreement with our partners in Hout Bay that we would concentrate the resources of MNF on stimulating sustainable and affordable housing for the disadvantaged people of Hout Bay, we would like to report on progress so far.

Mike and Margherita met Barry Lewis of UBU on their trip to Hout Bay in April 2019 and were very impressed by the positive work UBU have achieved in the past ten years creating low-cost sustainable housing in a variety of township settings in the Western Cape. The fact that UBU are the main champions of the technique of using sandbags as a central house construction method particularly struck them as being very relevant to Hout Bay that has an excess of usable sand and an abundance of working aged people looking for meaningful work.

In October 2019, Barry came to the Healthy Cities Congress in London and he and Mike Nightingale presented a joint paper setting out a vision for new housing in Hout Bay based on UBU’s past experience tailored to the particular needs of this community. Barry then agreed to work directly with our young community contacts in Hout Bay to formulate a way forward for this initiative.

This has resulted in a group of women from the Hout Bay townships and our representative Phindi, forming a development company called LEDECo with the expressed intention of developing suitable sites for new housing for young Hout Bay residents. It was realised that the LEDECo members will need training and support before they will be ready to act as fully fledged developers, so it has been agreed that they will employ UBU as consultants for a year of induction to the task ahead.  MNF has agreed to fund this preparatory year. We are three months into this first year of operation and we are very pleased with the progress that is being made.

Fund-Raising

Unfortunately, the pandemic has seriously affected our fund-raising abilities in South Africa, so we are more reliant than ever on raising money in the UK.  We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the members of the MNF 100 CLUB as funds raised through the club are vital to sustaining our activities.  Please look out for an invitation to a garden party, as soon as we can do this safely, aimed at thanking you and extending membership to the Club. 

In the meantime, if you would like to give the Fellowship a donation, please use the Donate button on the website or our Facebook page