Simunye means "We are One" in Zulu. The Simunye Project is a 501(c)3 designated not for
profit charity to help
the impoverished people primarily in
the KwaZulu Natal area of South Africa. By establishing The Simunye Project as a 501(c)3 we are subject to United States Laws that govern registered charities, including financial reporting and audit requirements. The
Simunye Project is an international initiative program supported solely by donations to assist with basic
HIV/AIDS testing and awareness and
human development. We also provide scholarships to gifted children which enables them to attend college.
Dear Friends of Simunye,
I want to take this opportunity to bring you up to date on the Simunye Project activities and tell you about my trip to South Africa in December and January.
Christmas in Zulu Land was incredible! Joy was abundant and many needs were met. The Project held a Christmas dinner at the Simunye Lodge for over 300 local residents. In addition to an abundant meal; toys, clothing, and gifts were distributed. Another Christmas meal was held at the Offanoko School for 200 students and 100 parents and teachers. All of the students received gifts also.
We were able to visit with our dear friends at the Jubulani home for crippled adults. A Christmas lunch was served for 75 residents. While there we distributed food, clothing, medicine, and gifts
I am thrilled to report that the Simunye Food Bank is a HUGE SUCCESS. Currently we have 23 families participating in the food bank. Each member deposited 100 rand per month and the Simunye Project matched the bank funds with 3,900 rand. Over the next six month families will be increasing their monthly deposits to 150 rand. Twice a year the food bank buys bulk quantities of food, at a much reduced rate, and distributes the purchases to the participants. The food distributed will last these families for six months.
On December 29 Soka and I met with the Zulu Chief Inkosi Biyela and his indunas (underlings). We requested this meeting to discuss potential projects which might improve the living conditions for the citizens in the 11 county-type areas which constitutes his tribal area.
Chief Biyela’s primary interest is the possibility of establishing community gardens in an attempt to stave off the widespread hunger which plagues his people. Because of the abundant wildlife in the area, gardens cannot be successful without substantial fencing. The Chief agreed to provide the Project with quotes for the cost of fencing and seeds. Currently there is one fenced garden. Jeffrey indicated there is a need for water pipes and cement to construct a small irrigation system there. He will provide quotes for consideration.
Jeffrey has asked for assistance to obtain uniforms for a teenage singing group. In exchange for our assistance these young men have volunteered to provide manual labor to rehabilitate the home of the poor lady who lives in the mud hut. We have underwritten this woman’s participation in the food bank. Her sole source of income is what she receives from pulling weeds by hand in the sugar cane fields.
I learned that over 500 cattle died last year during the extended draught. I personally purchased a pump which is now installed and operational to avoid a repeat of this tragedy.
Another need which was identified is for the two young teenage girls supported by the Project. The hut they live in is meager at best and has no electricity. 1,400 rand is needed to connect electricity to their hut.
Paula Cline suggested that the Project publish a children’s book, written by Zulu students. This undertaking has the potential to raise additional funds for the Project. Lethiwe Skhoklore, a nine year old Zulu girl has written three stories which will provide an excellent basis for the book. Various friends of the Simunye Project, who have a background in publishing, have volunteered to assist with this project.
While in South Africa, we traveled to Eshowe and met with Dr. Paula and Melmouth Hospital administrators. You will remember that we raised enough funds to purchase a computer system which will allow the hospital to track the medical records of the local HIV/AIDS patients. There was a slight technical problem associated with networking this system into the hospital’s existing system. We were able to overcome these obstacles and the hospital accepted the system.
Soka has reordered the HIV/AIDS dietary supplement, Future Life which will be distributed to approximately 50 local residents over the next four months.
While in South Africa, I met with the first United States doctor to treated a pediatric AIDS case in America. We discussed the Simunye Project at great length. He was very impressed with the achievements of the Project and praised the efforts to improve lives of the desperately poor and ill citizens of Zulu Land.
SAVE THIS DATE: July 10, 2011 for our annual Simunye Project Summer Gala which will be held at Parker View Farm. Let me know if you have friends who need to be included in the fun. We will again hold an auction to raise funds for the Project. If you have special items which you wish to donate to the cause please let me know. Remember all donations are tax deductible.
I cannot thank you enough for your support and ask that you continue to remember the Simunye Project throughout this year. You see we have identified many worthy projects, which if undertaken, will require additional donations.
Through your generosity, we have accomplished incredible things in this far corner of the earth. Children are receiving an education, AIDS patients are experiencing extended lives, and an extended community is becoming more self-reliant.
Again I want to thank you for your kindness and support of the Simunye Project, Inc. During the recent Fourth of July party we were able to raise close to $20,000! I have just returned from Africa and want you to know about all of the wonderful work we were able to accomplish through your generosity.
It is winter in Zulu land and through the kindness of the Keeneland Association we distributed dozens of sweatshirts to children who had no warm clothing. Another friend sent several hundred Beenie Babies which were an instant hit with all of the kids who have never had a stuffed toy before. We also gave donated eyeglasses to villagers who have not enjoyed good sight for many years.
The most important work, accomplished through the cash donations included:
- A complete computer system was purchased for the Eshowe Community Hospital. This technology will enable the hospital to maintain accurate and up-to-date medical treatment records for over 6,500 HIV/AIDS patients. Prior to this gift, the hospital tracked this information in longhand. Dr. Paula Daub was overwhelmed by this new weapon in her fight against AIDS.
- Fifteen cases of Future Life porridge, a nutritional supplement which boosts the immune system, were purchased for distribution to the desperately ill HIV patients. Enough funds were left banked in South Africa meet their needs through December.
- The food bank, which was established this year, experienced its first distribution to participants. Thirty-one Zulus deposited roughly 18,600 Rand ($2,600). the Project matched their money with 6,000 Rand. By buying in bulk, the funds were able to supply enough staples for these families to last for four (4) months.
- The Ofankomo Primary School, built and supported by the Simunye Project, continues to prosper. We provided the school with enough funding to feed the students with a modest, but healthy, daily lunch through December. While there we also distributed clothes, toys, and fresh fruit to the children.
- At the Jubulani Homestead, a village for crippled adults, we were able to meet with our old friends and served a special lunch to all residents. Their goal is become more self sufficient through their handicrafts.
- We were able to provide $3,000 to the Little Hope Children's Orphanage. These funds will ensure the 20 children living there have sufficient food, medicine, and care for three (3) months.
- We provided cement and sand used in the construction of a hut for orphaned sisters Tentua (14) and Kizi (13) in addition to funds for new shoes and electricity. As some of you know these girls were orphaned when both parents died from AIDS. They were found living alone with no means to buy food, clothing, or attend school. the Simunye Project found an adult to live with an care for them. Both girls have excelled at school and are at the top of their respective classes. The girls have been cutting thatch to earn enough money to buy materials to build this hut.
I will be returning to Africa in December to continue our work. We must find a solution to the need for accessible, clean, potable water for this area. Currently, many of these people must walk 3 to 4 miles daily to fill their water cans, We also hope to assist the Jubulani Homestead with efforts to broaden the marketing of their handicraft wares.
We are so heartened by the incredible progress made, but the same time we are staggered by the needs that yet wait to realized. We cannot begin to adequately thank you for your support and kindness.
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