The organisation HUG was founded in 2009, by Martine Mouton and Ap. Jan Oosthuizen to help Volunteer’s social uplifting projects in our town gain organizational capacity and access to funding. The focus, in the beginning, was two-fold due to Martine coming from a Conservation background and Jan from a Social Reform background thus the name and logo “Help us grow” hugging a tree. Soon the focus became primarily social upliftment, and providing community projects in Citrusdal organisational capacity and good governance.
After reading the Book, Irresistible Revolution by Shain Clayborne, Ps Jan felt the Spirit leading him to begin to make friends with the poorest of the poor in Citrusdal. We firmly believe that projects that is not based on deep meaningful relationships is not sustainable. One of the first friends we made was Ernest Dumusani Booi, pastor of the AFM Riverview Church. One day a child was killed in the main road, due to children wandering around in Riverview without anyone taking care. Ps. Booi asked Ps. Jan if he could help start a children-care-group-facility in the informal settlement.
We began our first classes in an abandoned Squatter hut. Soon the hut became too small, and with the help of the Mayor of the time Mrs. Judy Mouton bought two “wendy (wood) houses.” We cleared a piece of land by hand, established a playground and erected a fence with the help of local farmers. Judy Mouton believed it her Christian duty to do right to the most marginalised, and worked effortlessly to see the Informal Settlement Upgrade Program takes place moving these squatters to the new location June 2011.
Today Ubuntu Child Developent Centre has 6 Classrooms, 1 Kitchen and 1 Security Guard Living Quarters. We currently employ 10 staff members. Currently, Ubuntu numbers fluctuate between minimum 50 to 80 children.
Throughout human history, most people live and die in the social class into which they were born. We cannot bring change to the individual if we do not affect the culture.
“It takes a Village to Raise a Child”
It Takes Church to Raise a Village
HUG (Help Us Grow) is devoted to helping vulnerable communities living in the most precarious circumstances to become dignified communities who reciprocate the fortification they have received, by helping other communities.
- Christ-Centered (in character, mindset, ethics, habits and lifestyle)
- Inclusivity & Connection (Equality and Inclusion)
- Effectiveness & High Standards (Grow from the inside out)
- Loving Passion (Love our highest Ethic and Motive)
UBUNTU CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
Early childhood is a period of tremendous growth. Extending from conception to the age of 8, early childhood experiences carve out pathways towards health and well-being that persist throughout life. Supporting early childhood development, especially for the most vulnerable children, requires coordinated action to ensure health care, adequate nutrition, quality education, support for parents and protection of children’s rights. Our carefully constructed curriculum for children between the ages of 0 – 6 includes all the necessary resources, equipment, parent support and educational support.
HEUWELRUS ASSISTED LIVING
We’re also responsible for the Local Old age home for previously disadvantaged individuals. We provide a care facility for 18 people. There are 9 rooms each shared by two people. The upkeep of the buildings is our biggest expense because of poor building methods and materials. We coordinate and assist the aged in our care with general help and health services as the need arise. Ann Dirks is our Full-time Coordinator working closely with our bigger Local Old Age Home ‘Ons Huis’.
RIVERVIEW NUTRITION CENTRE
Many people are still unemployed in Riverview and surrounding areas. Thus many kids are not in school, and also not getting a daily meal. We give a nutritious meal three days a week, and we try to make time with the kids to get to know them, earn their trust and get involved in their lives. In this way we have helped a 14 yr old boy called Ryan, who is 14 years old and have never been to school, to be enrolled in the local Primary School.
OUR SUPPORT BASE
Since 2009 SPC have been visiting us for their annual Mission trip. At the beginning, as part of World Vision this church became involved in many ways. Every Year they have been supportive to help us grow our facilities, structures, programs and much more. We are also linked to their Glory Days Pre-School, where kids shares photos, songs and toys building an awareness of the BIG world.
In Rob’s own words: “We love the people here in Citrusdal and see so many opportunities for growth and change. We hope to develop, in conjunction with the local community and with their support, a sustainable long-range plan to help provide services and programs that will build success into the lives of community members.” Rob & Jan Mathis moved to South Africa from Seattle, Washington, USA, in September 2013 in response to what they felt was God’s call to come to Citrusdal and help make a difference in the lives of people living here. They had to return at the end of 2014, due to their daughter Natalie diagnosed with Julian-Barr Syndrome. They are now heading our support in the USA, and Jan visits Ubuntu twice a year to sustain the standards and input of quality Edu-Care!
Craft Training and Job creation:
Jolanda Basson and Juan-dré Kotze are two very talented creative artists, who love to share their gifts and talents with the poor. Using our Aged People in Heuwelrus and the kids form the Nutrition Centre, they make unique crafts and hand-made items to sell at the local Gift Shop in Citrusdal the Sandveldhuisie. They also have access to local markets and Craft/gifts events around the Western Cape via connections within the Church.
From the 1st of April 2015, Pebbles took over the management of our educational program. They support and train our teachers to improve their skills and lesson presentation. Our staff attends monthly training sessions in Stellenbosch. These courses include curriculum guidance, the introduction of new techniques and the provision of educational resources. Pebbles also recently acquired a Library on wheels with books, educational toys, computers and more, that visits our Creche regularly. A pebbles representative and Teacher Guide visits the teachers once a week to assess and sustain quality Edu Care.