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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 2 The Ronnie & Rhona Lubner Child & Youth Centre at Phutaditjaba in Alexandra

Day 2 MaAfrika Tikkun Trip
Today our Safelite® group began the day by attending the official launch of the Ronnie and Rhona Lubner Center, at Phutaditjaba in Alexandra Child and Youth Centre.  Nestled in a very crowded shanty-like town, the center stands out as shining example of good things to come for the youth of this community.  Set to employ 100 local residents, the centre’s ceremony included Ronnie and Rhona (who considered this gift in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary).  Ronnie also said in his brief speech that he and his wife decided to invest in this centre because “this is the right thing to do.”   Area community leaders, religious leaders, tribal members , business partners and guests enjoyed a presentation of music and dancing by a several of the centres’ childrens’ groups, all to honor the centre’s opening.

A very special guest, Miss South Africa Bokang Montjane, addressed the crowd with her statuesque beauty and heartfelt speech, as well.  Admitting that she was going “off script” for part of her speech, she was adamant about her belief that the government is trying to make change, but that the communities were also just as responsible to work in tandem to create change for the youth of South Africa, to create better communities and a better future.  In particular, she would like to stop seeing “children marrying children”, but rather that they be given the educational  opportunities  to improve their  quality of life.

Matt, Brian, Miss South Africa Bokang Montjane, Betsy, Mike
Rabbi Dovid Hazdan concluded the ceremony with a song we Americans did not understand, but the joy and enthusiasm of the crowd singing it was the perfect ending of this significant event.
Next Stop:  MaAfrikan Tikkun in Diepsloot
Diepsloot--a community within a community.  These great folks are doing wonderful things here:

Maintaining a garden to help feed the centres' children and families. 
(Picture to come)

Pumping water which is fed by the childrens' "merry-go-round"...the more the children turn the merry go round around, the more water is fed into the holding area (see picture).  This provides water for the centre, as well as for the irrigation of the centre's garden, which provides some of the fresh vegetables and fruits for the children and some of the eligible community members.

Computer Lab for children and teens to learn from the ground up, these important skills.  Wendy, 18, is working on a homework assignment and kindly allows me to participate (see picture.)  Her assignment is to focus upon the question:  "What is a memorial, and what should be memorialized?"  She has chosen to focus upon the women in South Africa who were a part of the early voter registration movement (from 1930's to 1950's.)  Wendy was not as familiar with Google as we are-- I was able to show her some of the navigation tools within the site to find her information.  I was very impressed with the care she took to NOT plagiarize (which her homework greatly emphasized), and the effort she made to name all of her sources within the paper she was drafing.  Wendy will be submitting her assignment next week, and promised to have the MaAfrikan Tikkun computer instructor, who has email, send me the grade she receives on her project.  I hope to send her a message after this as well.  This centre is the only opportunity she and others there have to work with a computer, which is essential to creating a CV/Resume, in order to seek employment. 

Below:  Creating a library for children to have access to information not available to them within their community:  see picture, in the background.  Note:  bicycles donated by Safelite were used for 30 minute ride into outlying community during visit.)

Each one of these centres is like a unique community, within a community, filled with strong and hard-working people taking care of each other.  We are grateful to Diepsloot's leaders and members who were so open and willing to share the great initiatives in which they're involved, as well as the challenges they still face.


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