An annual Summer Camp is held in one of the poorest townships in the Eastern Cape known as Langbos and has been in existence for over ten years.An annual Summer Camp is held in one of the poorest townships in the Eastern Cape known as Langbos and has been in existence for over ten years. Since 2014, The Summer Camp is run alongside the Sharing Our Call program involving the newly appointed South African Marist Head Students for the following year. The program is run by the Marist Brothers, Sisters of Mercy and Jason Grieve (St Henry’s Head Boy 2007).
This year we welcomed over four hundred children from Langbos Informal Settlement and Valencia Formal Settlement.
Numerous programs were organised for these children aged between four and fifteen years old during the week by the Marists, overcoming the challenge of no water, no electricity, no formal infrastructure, no sports field and minimal equipment.
A separate program was run alongside the Summer Camp program for our older participants by the returning Marists. This program consisted of Career guidance, School subject choices, HIV/Aids and Health Awareness, Computer Lessons and Sport.
We welcomed over fifty volunteers, thirty of whom were Marist from across South Africa.
On the last day we distributed over six hundred and fifty Christmas presents to the Valencia Formal Settlement children.
After the Summer Camp each day, the Marists were introduced to our Marist Mercy Care programs such as our Crèche and Pre-School, Soup Kitchens, Clinic and Addo Township Designs.
We give a special thanks to the following volunteers for their assistance in making this program a success:
Sr. Breda Ryan (Sisters of Mercy)
Sr. Martha O’Connor (Sisters of Mercy)
Br. Christopher (Marist Brother)
Br. Claude (Marist Brother)
Jason Grieve (Founder of the Sharing Our Call, Head Boy, St Henry’s Marist College 2007)
Bulelani Thwala Kayingo (Addo Volunteer, since 2009)
Leago Lee Sebesho (Head Girl, Marist Linmeyer 2015)
Mandisa Msongelwa (Head Girl, St Joseph’s Marist College 2016)
Jesse Dylan Blignaut (Head Boy, St Joseph’s Marist College 2016)
Joshua Clegg (Head Boy, St David’s Marist Inanda 2016)
Bogosi Msutwana (Head Boy, St David’s Marist Inanda 2016)
Daniel O’Sullivan-Hewlett (Head Boy, Sacred Heart Marist College 2016)
Busisiwe Radebe (Head Girl, Marist Linmeyer 2017)
Lyle Robson (Head Boy, Marist Linmeyer 2017)
Luthando Diba (Head Girl, St Joseph’s Marist College 2017)
Selina Geyer (Marist Germany and volunteer in Addo for nine months)
Br. Peter (Marist Brother)
Maria (Marist Spain)
Pam Mills (Educator, Sacred Heart Marist College)
And to the newly appointed ten Marist Head Students of the South African Marist Schools for 2018.
A summary has been written by Jesse Dylan Blignaut on his experience at the Sharing Our Call program involving the newly appointed South African Marist Head Students for 2018 that occurred in the Sundays River Valley, Addo, Eastern Cape.
Jesse was Head Boy of St Joseph’s Marist College, Cape Town, in 2016 and is one of nine returning Marist Students that joined us for the program.
Returning Marists are those that have been part of the Sharing Our Call program in previous years and have been welcomed back to assist in Co-Ordinator and Mentor roles.
Returning Marists are paired with new Marists and work as mentors assisting and guiding them with their roles at the Summer Camp and future roles in their respective schools as Student Leaders.
Due to the popularity of this program, returning Marists are welcomed back by invitation only.
Jesse Blignaut (Returning Marist – Head Boy St Joseph’s Marist College 2016)
Last week Saturday concluded my 4th trip down to Addo in the Eastern Cape. An area which is known for the national elephant park, but wherein lie 3 massive townships which suffer from extreme poverty.
I think it’s important to begin this post by saying that I don’t write this for acknowledgment, but to share with those who read this just a small part of what I have experienced in Addo.
Throughout the week, we run a summer camp involving sporting, dance, crafts, and other fun activities for 400 kids from the townships. The vast majority of the kids who attend the Summer Camp come from homes where they do not have enough food or access to basic needs, but more than that, they come from homes where they do not receive the kind of love and attention which young children so desire.
One of the things we do in the week is handing out Christmas gifts consisting of basic needs such as toiletries, as well as a toy and something sweet. For the first time in three years, I cried as we did this. As we were ushering kids in, we had between 70 and 90 kids still outside the gate but only 20 actual gifts left. It wrecked me – these are kids who we spent the week with, many of whose stories we knew and we didn’t have gifts for them. Returning over the years has produced incredible growth in me as an individual and has very much changed my desires and the path which I would like to follow in terms of my career. At the end of grade 11, I had a completely different mindset as to what I do now.
There is so much which I have learned from these kids and how you are able to be so positive despite your means and your circumstances.
More than that, seeing kids grow from year to year is incredibly heart-warming. The little boy with the hat, his name is Fari. When I first met him, he could not walk or talk. He now has the most infectious laugh, he runs like a champion, and you can have a legitimately good conversation with him. He is just one of the amazing kids from the area.
Next year, I’d like to raise more funds and obtain more sponsorship throughout the year so that we are able to give so many more children gifts.
For further information about Marist Mercy Care South Africa please click on the link Marist Mercy Care 2017 or visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MaristMercyCare/