There will be an update on Project Gateway on Thursday 16th March 2017, 7.00 for 7.30pm in the Rose Room. Come along and hear the latest on Project Gateway. Refreshments provided and Zulu crafts for sale.
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The Project Gateway slideshow, 'The Way Forward', shown after the morning service on 9 October 2011 is available here.
Pictures from the church visit to Project Gateway, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in May 2011 are available here.
What is your view of Africa? Seven church members were able to see for themselves a small part of one African country at the beginning of May. Our home was a prison block built in 1881 which was very different from Berkshire. Here we have a bedroom where one can control the tem-perature with no draughts through the prison cell bars; a shower and bath that can take away the pains and the dirt; an opportunity to leave our gate and walk freely instead of being locked into the prison area for safety reasons; an opportunity to walk the dog as a friend instead of having one for security. We live in a very blessed country. Our trip to South Africa showed a very different side to life for a huge population who have very, very little except warm hearts and a strong faith.
Project Gateway was established in 1992 as a social outreach of the churches in Pietermaritzburg. The base for the project is the redundant former prison. During our stay we met many of those working on the project and talked to them about numerous aspects of faith and life in South Africa.
Project Gateway aims:
- to educate – teach about HIV/AIDS and TB so that children grow up without the stigma and loss of family; teach about avoiding pregnancy; teach about survival with little or no money
- to care – run a homeless shelter for 40 in ship containers and an outhouse; provide accommodation for teenage mothers with young children; support a crèche for 65 children in a building the size of a double garage with no running water, sanitation or outdoor play area; support a 1,200 pupil school with little equipment and poor accommodation and feeding station where half the school once a week were fed and the other half of the school the following week but their nutritious meal contained only about a teaspoon of meat per child
- to empower – training in textile and craft skills in order to make a living; train crafters basic business skills such as ordering, invoicing and time management so that they become more professional; provision of a Christian school, computer training using the equipment we sent
- by being there and paying for our accommodation and food
- installing networking and anti-virus on the laptops Rose Street sent out
- preparing flaking walls and rotting wood in the gents loos before painting
- taking the teddy bears and sweets from church members to the delight of children in the crèche
- buying pencils, crayons, abacus for the township school to support children who could not afford them; buying two potties and a large plastic bin with lid for use in the crèche – no room for more and to take the place of 2 x 5L paint pots with no lids; buying more ladles for the feed-ing station
- helping out at the feeding station ensuring that all 600 pupils received a share (a ladleful each) – some of the pupils had a small plastic box with lid and they ate only half so they could take some home
- taking a teacher's service; being involved in the school assembly
One impression we got was how much our presence was valued. Lasting memories from this were the hugs from people so grateful we were there, tears that God had answered their prayers so quickly with what we thought was so little and yes we can do more. For our church the important thing is that channels exist for us to be able to directly show our love for our neighbours. Seeing live pictures of the Sunday service at Rose Street 6,000 miles away drove home the reality that our village is global.