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C.A.S.T. paves the road to recovery in KwaZulu-Natal

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C.A.S.T. paves the road to recovery in KwaZulu-Natal

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The impact of the KwaZulu-Natal floods has certainly caused a massive upheaval in most residential areas. Communities all over our beautiful province have been ravaged by the devastating floods that caused the destruction of roads and houses and left many homes and businesses without electricity and water for days on end. The after-effects have been catastrophic and seen thousands of people displaced from their homes, jobless and without any resources or ways to provide food, clothing or shelter for their families. 

Ready to assist in any way they can
A local non-profit organisation based in Westville has risen to the challenge and been instrumental in getting aid to those most affected by the flooding in KZN. C.A.S.T. (Church Alliance for Social Transformation) has rallied support from local businesses and donations from the public to provide urgent relief to those in need. Operating out of Home Ground Church in Westville, members of the community have been dropping off food, warm clothing, blankets, toiletries, and baby supplies, which C.A.S.T. then distributes to the group's ten affiliated churches, who in turn reach out and aid the affected communities. Every day a new request for aid and support comes in and C.A.S.T. is on the ball, ready to ship out and assist in any way they can. From mattresses to food and clothing items, the team relies on donations and support from the community and their church groups to keep going.

Still so much to do
We spoke to Programme Manager, Sandy Reid and PR Manager and Head of Fundraising, George Mwaura to learn more about how this organisation has helped local communities so far and what more needs to be done. "We have significantly changed our approach since the pandemic," says Reid, "We ran many education, business and youth programmes from our churches and schools, but since COVID-19 and the floods hit, we've been more focused on providing relief to those in dire straits." 

With C.A.S.T. quickly shifting gear and going into survival mode, the initiative shown by the members of staff, along with the influx of new volunteers, has been astounding. Mwaura says he would love to invite members of the public to volunteer even for a day, to witness firsthand the groundwork that still needs to be done in the most affected areas. Even though C.A.S.T. has helped over thirty communities cope with the floods, there is still much to do. The organisation's social media pages have been a great platform for fundraising and have rallied numerous volunteers to reach out across the province. The most highly requested items the public is encouraged to donate are non-perishable foods, clothing items, blankets and toiletries. 

Fulfilling the needs of the communities
In some parts of KwaZulu-Natal, major efforts are being made to rebuild shelters and homes that were washed away in the floods. The demand for building supplies and materials like bricks, cement and corrugated sheets has risen but is currently low in availability at the organisation. Monetary donations received go towards fulfilling the needs of the communities being helped and are used for everything from schooling supplies to nappies and care packages for the elderly. C.A.S.T. is dedicated to assisting every age group, as the very young and old often cannot help themselves.

Pushing forward despite the odds 
Access to most of the severely impacted areas has been tough. Reid and Mwaura say that there are many challenges in terms of delivering aid, however, they've managed to work around them. No matter how impossible it may seem to reach certain areas, they've carefully manoeuvred their way across risky terrains to reach their destination. As the ongoing construction rebuilds major access points, the team has hope that it will become easier with time as the relief drives will continue for the foreseeable future. "There is a long way to go," says Reid. "We want to thank the community for their support and urge them to continue to drop off any physical donations at Home Ground Church, 4 Church Place, Westville." Monetary donations and contributions can also be made through the C.A.S.T website and online shop to help communities with items that will in turn help them to generate their own income or food supply. 

A beacon of hope
In times like these, it's important to focus on basic services and empathetic understanding. Partnering with local churches has helped C.A.S.T. deliver more than physical and monetary donations. It's given residents who have lost everything hope to continue and the will to uplift themselves and their communities. The practicality and action-based faith that C.A.S.T. exhibits have inspired many residents, businesses and NGOs. They've consistently been a beacon of light and positivity in the community of Westville and that has spread across the province and is being felt from the suburbs to the rural areas. 

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation to this worthy non-profit organisation, please visit www.cast.org.za or call Sandy on 082 375 9102.

Author Shelley Residential
Published 29 Jun 2022 / Views -

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