Posted by Bill Boyd on Aug 18, 2017

Our South Africa Journey and
Hosting by Members of the Rotary International Travel and
Hosting Fellowship (ITHF)
and Friendship Force International (FFI)
February 9 through March 13, 2015
by OWR Rotarian Bill Boyd
 Bill and Sandy Boyd at Monkey Land
Follow-up to our South Africa Journey
Subsequent to our South Africa Journey, my wife Sandy sent the following photo and an email to the Rotarian Magazine regarding our stay in the Durban area:

About the Photo and the
Rotary Project

Our first destination was Phakama, a small rectangular community center supported in part by the Hillcrest Rotary club, the Catholic Church and Embo Craft, training and craft facility founded by the local Lions Club.  We met the center coordinator Mr. Shandu, also Linda Venton of Embo Craft and other locals in the parking lot.  They led us inside one half of the building, which was operating as a sewing center training facility for about 20 Zulu seniors.  Both men and women were sitting at manual sewing machines, learning to sew. The above photo which Sandy submitted was of one of these seniors.
The Hillcrest Rotary club had provided the sewing machines with support from the Rotary Clubs of Winnipeg (Canada) and Royston (UK).  The club has also provided bundles of scrap materials that they obtained as donations from stores and manufacturers. Instructors from Embo Craft were showing the seniors how to make patterns for their sewing activities.  The intent of the training was to provide a means of income for these seniors, by being able to sell their produced goods.
Zulu seniors in sewing center - Bill and Sandy learn about pasterns

The other half of the structure was a day care center for pre-school children from the surrounding community, whose moms or parents were working during the day.  There were about 20 3-4 year olds playing and having a snack.  We noticed that the classrooms were quite bare, with meager furniture and toys.  Both of us jumped right in relating with the children.  Bill got down on the floor and started to teach them a bit of English, with a mixture of sign language and help from the teacher.  The kids all spoke the local Zulu language, so he had to point to his hand, say “hand”, have it translated in the local language, and have them repeat in in both languages.  We went on and on for about 20 minutes of fun, smiling faces, laughter and lots of good feelings.
Sandy has fun with the pre-school kids
The photo above that Sandy submitted to the Rotarian Magazine and the following article was published in the November 2016 issue.  It clearly illustrates the power that Rotarian international contacts can have to make a difference in the world.
Sewing skills ease job woes in KwaZulu-Natal
While the picturesque Valley of 1,000 Hills outside Durban, South Africa, offers stunning scenery to visitors, job prospects for the Zulu people who live on tribal land there are bleak. Three years ago, the nearby Rotary Club of Hillcrest addressed the unemployment rate by partnering with Embocraft, a skills training group serving the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The group offers classes in sewing, computers, textiles, welding, and woodwork, with the goal of alleviating poverty.
Hillcrest Rotarians have co-sponsored four sewing courses, each lasting 15 sessions, for Zulu seniors or others who are unable to travel to industrial areas for employment. "There's not a lot of work available, so people have to travel for jobs. That can require taxis or buses, which are expensive," explains past District Governor Peter Dupen.
The participants – 10 or so in each class – learned to sew basic items such as cushion covers, napkins, and pillowcases on hand-operated machines. The community selected the best students from the first three classes to participate in the fourth, which used electric sewing machines donated by Embocraft and the Rotary clubs of Hillcrest, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Royston, England.
Hillcrest Rotarians, assisted by the Winnipeg club, made upgrades to the Phakama community center, home to the sewing training class – providing a meeting place for seniors, a kitchen area, and a day care center on the other side of the building. The club also added upgraded toilets and wash-basins.
The sewing project has been a success, Dupen says, and the participants have sold a number of the items they made. Next, Rotarians will offer training to sew uniforms for the community's schoolchildren – giving the craftspeople some income and making uniforms more affordable to locals. "The whole project is very positive, and we're so happy to work with them," Dupen says.
By Anne Stein
We hope you enjoy this presentation highlighting our fun filled days on safari at two lodges in Kruger National Park.
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