Looking back at 2010

Mari sends Christmas greetings and gives us a summary of the past year.

My dear Zulufadder collaborators!

We thank you for helping to make Zulufadder a sustainable project; this demonstrates that together we are able to help Zulu children to a better future.

As we write in December 2010, we look back on six years of joy, sadness, fury, frustration, pride, hard work, ups and downs.  Just like life in general!  However, forwards and upwards we continue!

Without your sponsorship this would never have worked so hurray for you!

We have also been very fortunate that businesses and private people have sponsored us, to cover all costs except for food, schooling and uniforms.  It is impossible to run a serious aid organisation without incurring running costs.  I have pleasure in announcing that our administration costs are around 5% of our budget.  This competes favourably with most organisations at keeping costs down.  Our accounting is now performed in South Africa; an accountant in Norway also checks it even though we are not obliged to do so.

We have also been looking creatively for new sources of income.  More about this further down in this message.  I would like to remind you about the Zulufadder wine, of which there are still some 1000 bottles in stock.  Our importer Engelstad has tasted/tested to ensure that the quality is as good as before and it has passed.  It is a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Robertson Winery and is imaginatively called: Zulufadder Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is not readily available at all outlets so it is advisable to order it via the internet.

Profits from previous years sales of the wine have been put to use buying seedlings, tools, fencing and the use of a tractor so that many women are now self sufficient in vegetables and are able to sell any surplus.  This is wonderful news!

The Jeweller Heyerdahl has sold 14 diamond rings.  The buyer has purchased a beautiful ring and we get to build a house for some of our children with the proceeds.

The Norwegian Ambassador, to South Africa, made time to come and see us all the way from the capital city of Pretoria.  It was an important day for us.  We are very proud of his messages to us.  He was very impressed with our work and that the children are able to live in their homes and not housed in big children’s homes, and that they continue to have family support/contact and exposure to the realities of everyday life.  “All the children and adults appeared very happy and motivated”, he said.  We are grateful for his kind words and they will encourage us in tough times.

Ahh, now we come to another fine moment.  Silvia and I were given honorary awards by Rotary International (Paul Harris Fellowships).  We are proud and honoured.

I have been to Eshowe twice this year.  While there, I wrote the blog.  When people ask me what we do there, I find it difficult to explain.

 When I departed South Africa five Chiropractors, from Norway and the USA, arrived.  Their stay was miraculous.  None of the indigenous people knew what a Chiropractor was.  We wrote, “Free Clinic” on some boards – anything that is free is considered fun.  Young and old came, with creaking joints.  Some old women, with walking sticks, discarded their sticks after a couple of treatments and left the premises ululating with joy.  It was the first time that we made use of the hall in Simunye.  Around 500 treatments were performed in the 5 days the Chiropractors were with us. No one will forget them and we hope they will return!

Many of our children have had the opportunity to play band instruments.  Several Norwegian Field Band teachers are stationed in Eshowe.  They are present to instruct South African music teachers but became interested in our work, it was with great jubilation that they came to visit and let the children play their instruments.  Culture is very important,

There is only ONE Silvia and it is impossible for her to do more than 24 hours work per day.  Silvia and Nick are so devoted to their work that it is impossible to thank them enough.

What we plan and intend to progress is our education program which has begun so well at Gratton School.  This was a school threatened with closure, which we have turned around.  The Principal and the teachers there are excellent!  Before the question on everyone’s lips was,”When is the school closing?”  Now parents in Eshowe are asking, “Is there a place for my child at Gratton?”  This makes us extremely happy!

The fabulous vegetable garden that they have created at the school has cut down on growing sugar beet and instead planted spinach, cabbage, beetroot etc, for sale.  The ten children that have attended for the last year now all speak beautiful English with British accents.

The children were chauffeured back and forth to school because it lies some Kilometres away from their neighbourhoods.  However, we have now found a large house next to the school that would make a good boarding house.

I have been lugging my heavy laptop around to different businesses in order to show them slideshows, ever hopeful of donations.  Many have confirmed their support!  So this project may yet come to fruition.  I feel humbled by all the different types of support shown to us!  Together we are making an enormous difference to the children.  We now support around 1000 children and intend to stick to that number.  It is important that these 1000 children get our full support.

It is still possible to buy Christmas cards.  Check out our online shopping facility to find out how to purchase these.  Christmas gifts are being packed and distributed in droves.  Many thanks to some wonderful people from Norway whom are travelling down again this year to spend all their time in the store room dealing with this job.

It is getting a bit late to buy Christmas gifts now however should you still wish to, then it is still possible.  The child will get their gift in January but the important thing is that they will get a gift – now or after Christmas – their happiness will be just as great.  Some information for sponsors whom do not buy Christmas gifts:  Do not feel bad about this!  We keep records of all children who are given gifts by their sponsors. We have received a generous donation of 1000 toys from East Coast Radio in Durban in collaboration with The Rotary Organisation so that every child receives something.

To finish here is an up-to-date message from South Africa:

“Most of the Christmas gifts have been handed out; photos have been taken and sent to their sponsors. If you have not received a photo, it could be because your child did not show up when we handed gifts out.  Some of the children go to stay with relatives for the summer holidays and return in the middle of January.  Moreover, to those of you who placed a late order or have yet to order, the gifts will be packed and handed out in January.  Thank you everyone for your fantastic support!”

We are keeping our fingers crossed that you will continue to support us again next year. Each one of you is valuable to us because together we make a difference to the world!  Many thanks for your support and we wish you a Happy Christmas!

Best wishes from Mari and Zulufadder.