LCP “Thank you” Newsletter - February 2016

The Teddy Bear Club - 11th November
Ladies from The teddy bear club handed out teddies and tennis balls, plus cup cakes and oros to the children - the children love the teddies. Thank you to the teddy Bear Club for their generous support to our project, not only the wonderful teddy bears, but also the R50 a month for fruit and lots of food stuffs, toiletries and cloths. (see photos on the website)

Lions River Christmas party - 12th December at Lions River Polo Club.
The children had lots of fun with a huge water slide, jumping castle, horse rides, tractor rides, and lastly Father Christmas arriving in a fire engine much to the kids delight. They were given presents as well as some delicious snacks. (see photos on the website)

The Workwear group, Pietermarítzburg, visited the children on Mandela day. They arrived with 37 beautifully covered shoe boxes (for photos, see website collection). They were all labelled with the children’s names on them, and carefully chosen goods inside, for example: in the girls boxes there were T shirts, dolls, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap and flannel plus sweets, chips and juice. The boys were the same except they had caps as well and cars and trucks. Nokthula mentioned that the mothers were very happy with these presents and came and thanked her. The kids also wore their new T shirts on Monday and kept pointing at them and smiling. They were very happy. Thank you very much to Angela Armstrong and the Workwear group for their generosity and thoughtfulness. (see photos on the website)

Hans Vermaak, CV Safaris - Hans Vermaak paid a visit to the children in Lidgetton with some clients from the USA, just after Christmas. Thank you for the generous donation of many necessary items, eg. enamel bowls, cups and basins, huge pots, cutlery, ironing board and clothes stand, veg stand, plus 100 tins of veg products. The children also received some toys and sweets. (see photos on the website)

Hillary Vickers - Thank you to Hillary for organising the monthly collection of the soup and food supplies from the Ambers, and transporting them to Lidgetton. Thank you very much for co-ordinating these monthly supplies, as well as other food supplies that people are willing to donate occasionally.

Jill Middlemas, Howick
Keith Middlemas, England - who will kindly be taking over the support of the Dlamini family
Melanie Sowerby, England - thank you for your amazing support of the Dlamini family up until 2015.
Kimberley and Martin Smith - UK
Alison, Holland
Roy Wicham, USA
Michaelhouse School, Balgowan
Honeydew dairies - they visited the children and gave out wonderful parcels with lots of healthy stuff inside. (see photos on the website)
Billy James and Denis Metcalfe
Many local people who made donations of: clothes, toys, winter blankets.

Many people in Germany connected to Fiona and Jürgen - special thanks to:

- Steffanie and Juergen Domscheit for their continued support for our project.
- Gabi Brumm for holding a very successful Christmas bazaar last year and raising €400.
- Monika and Ferdinand Wolf for their generous donations.
- From Bonn & the surrounding area: Silke Bulte, Angela & Alexander Vlaskamp, Stefan Klank, Uli & Martin Schwamm, Nicole Riquier, Waldwichtel Kindergarten.

There are probably more people behind the scenes that I may have forgotten to mention, or don’t personally know about - my apologies. We are thankful to everyone who is in someway connected to our project.

I would personally like to say a BIG thank you to Nokuthula Dlamini and Sandra (and Pat) Merrick for their tireless support - the project would not run without you.

Jill Middlemas will be retiring from working with the Lidgetton Community Project - her input will be missed. Thank you, Jill, for your wonderful support over the years.

The Year ahead - our project will move to a new location. Nokthula and her son have purchased a piece of land in Lidgetton, where they will be building a house. On this piece of land we will also be constructing a small Soup Kitchen for the continuation of the project. This improvement will allow for a place that is warm and dry for the children to meet, eat, learn and play (a small early learning centre). We are hoping to go ahead with this construction in the next few months, and will aim to put up a recycled container house.
Thank you to Gavin Hayhoe for his support in this construction project.

We would also like to welcome June Turner from Amber Valley, to our project. She has very kindly offered to support the project, especially focusing on the children’s health and wellbeing. June was the founder of Helping Hands, a home based nursing care agency in Howick. Thank you, June, for coming on board. Your many years experience in working with people will be very valuable to us and the children.

Juergen and I have successfully set up an official charity here in Germany. Our Charity is called Lucky Beans ( With this potential open to us now, it is naturally more inviting for international donators to make donations to the project. We are able to write official tax reclaim receipts for donations made. If you are interested to find out more details about this, please see the website above, or contact us directly.

We look forward to a year ahead filled with new ideas, positive steps forward for our new Soup Kitchen, good health and happiness for the children and Nokuthula.

Fiona Hayhoe-Weiland, Germany, February 2016

Below is a copy of the Lidgetton Newsletter from July 2015 written by Sandra, for those who missed it…


The Lidgetton community project was established 14 years ago in response to the growing number of orphans and vulnerable children in the village. In 2012 a soup kitchen was established in the informal settlement in response to the increasing number of deaths, malnutrition and stunting amongst children Under 5 years in this area. Funding was from donations.

Our aim is to offer support to the needy families who have taken one or more children into their households, enabling the children to remain in their community of origin. We do this by supplying a monthly food parcel, second hand clothing, school uniforms (funds permitting) and blankets. At present we are only assisting 5 families. This has dropped from 24 families as they are now receiving foster care grants.

Accessing a grant is a difficult process for many of our families as they often do not have the necessary documents required by the Social Welfare Dept. Spending meagre resources on transport to Home Affairs or Social Welfare offices, only to stand in long queues and often to be sent home empty handed, is exhausting and depressing. The system this year seems to have improved and so many of our families are now receiving foster care grants.

We are currently spending an average of R160 per child per food parcel per month. The parcels consist of 10kg mealie meal, beans, lentils, samp, cooking oil, soup powder, Morvite porridge, sugar, soap and a cabbage. When funds permit we add toothbrushes and toothpaste.

We have been meeting at the Lidgetton cash store where we make use of the verandah and a little room which we rent each month and which contains, 2 deep freezes and 2 fridges. We are grateful to the Lidgetton Cash store for the use of these premises.

The Lions River country fair used to be our main sponsors but that stopped in 2007. Since then we have had 2 major sponsors, but they too have had to stop giving due to various circumstances. This is cause for concern as we need regular income. Our budget for the food parcels is R1500 per month which includes gas for the soup kitchen and other essentials. We have had to discontinue supplying uniforms because of lack of funding.

We have established a close relationship with the children over the years and they are very fortunate to mostly stay in homes with relatives, however, it does place a heavy burden on the foster families whose generosity is greatly to be admire, and we try to give them as much support as we can. Our policy is to support the children who attend school, and those who are not receiving welfare grants. Some are destitute with no income at all.

Three years ago we felt the need to start a soup kitchen due to the malnourished children living in the informal settlement. Social workers had come to Lidgetton to evaluate the condition of the Under 5's and found them to be suffering from malnutrition and stunting. Lyn James from Amber Valley contacted me and asked if we would like to receive the soup that the residents donated to a charity each month. At that time it had been donated to Bridges of Hope but had then fallen through. We had nothing. No freezers, fridges or a room to work from but through prayer and faith, it all came together very quickly through the generous giving of friends and sponsors who got to hear about it, and since then its been going from strength to strength. Nokuthula Dlamini is the wonderful lady who feeds the 26 children 3 times a week (at present, February 2016, we are feeding 15 children). She is a christian and very dedicated to helping these kids. She teaches them, reads them bible stories and of course singing, which they do with lots of enthusiasm.

Over the years our team has dwindled. There is only Jill Middlemas, Nokuthula Dlamini and myself running the project. WE NEED YOU. The project will not survive without your help. Your ongoing support and interest is enormously appreciated, and we appeal to others with a heart for helping to come forward.
If anyone is interested and willing to run a golf day or fundraising dinner on our behalf, please contact Sandra (South Africa) or Fiona (Germany).

Special thanks go to Muriel Butler, Joan James and others of the Teddy Bear club; Billy James and Denis Metcalfe for making small washing tables for the Under 5 and also to the Craft Ladies and others who have knitted and sewed for our children throughout the year. Also to all those folk who give us second hand clothing.

Current monthly budget:
Food R1500
Honorarium for Community worker - Nokuthula R2100
Helper R450
Rental of office space and storeroom R100
School uniforms (emergency supplies only) R3000

TOTAL R 7000 monthly

Sandra Merrick: +27 721427346
Fiona Hayhoe-Weiland

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