Heidrun, South Africa

Heidrun, born in 1987

Country: South Africa

Church: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (Natal-Transvaal)

Occupation: Student of Theology

Project name: Program for Emotional and Spiritual Support for the Children in the Esigodini Township Area

Short description

All Star Kids Club is a program offered on a weekly basis by theology students of the Lutheran Theological Institute, in collaboration with the Siyabonga community centre, to children aged 7-10 years, living in Esigodini, KwaZulu Natal. Having identified the problem of a growing number of children in South Africa who due to the absence of either one or both parents have to take on adult responsibilities at an early age, thereby often missing out on much of their childhood, the project wants to create a safe space in which children can have fun and at the same time learn about the Christian faith in a child appropriate, playful and creative, way.

Project details

Goals

  • To develop a children’s ministry programme that addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of these children and their particular challenges and questions.
  • To foster in contrast to abusive relationships, positive relationships, especially between the children and the male theology students, as role models.

Goals achieved?

The above mentioned goals were achieved. Firstly,  positive relationships with the children were successfully developed. This enabled the children to open up and to share their particular challenges and questions. By taking time for the children and speaking to them about their lives and the challenges they face, it was possible to informally tend to the emotional and spiritual needs of the children. However, the team fell short in reaching the goal of developing an ongoing contextual children’s ministry programme. While the programme generated contextual issues and questions that were addressed, it was not in itself contextual. In future it would be good to spend more time doing ongoing social analysis of the children’s context and then incorporate such contextual issues into the programme, so as to address them from them directly from the start, not only when issues/questions arise during the programme. This would help the children relate to the content of the programme even more.

Successes and challenges

Our programme attracted more children than were planned for, so on any given day there were  more children than originally planned. In collabortion with Siyabonga (the children’s center) it was possible to offer each child a meal when they came to the kids club. Strong bonds were formed amongst the leaders (theology students from both UELCSA and ELCSA) as they worked on this project together. This is a positive development in terms of the fostering of good relations which are necessary for future moves towards greater collaboration and unity between both UELCSA and ELCSA.

The main challenge was that of language. The children, while they have an understanding of english, spoke predominantly Zulu, and so the programme which was prepared in english had to be translated into Zulu for them. We had Zulu speaking leaders who successfully took on this task of translation, however the process generally slowed our programme down. One of the major successes was also one of the major challenges, being that more and more children came. Time and resources therefore had to be divided amongst more children.

Activities

Each weeks programme comprised of lunch, a children’s bible study, praise and worship singing, a range of games and fun activities, creative craft activities, prayer and occassionaly a puppet show. (in no particular order)

How many people were involved?

Approx. 90

What did you learn personally?

We need to have official leadership meetings on a more regular basis. I learnt that I indeed have a passion and gift for working with children and should pursue doing work with children in the future.

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2 responses to “Heidrun, South Africa

  1. Dear Heidrun,
    Star Kids sounds like it might be a great program of ministry and education! I am an ELCA pastor from Massachusetts, USA. Currently my son and his family live in Maseru, Lesotho. We had planned to visit them ast year, but an illness in our family prevented that. Our home parish (Trinity, Fairhaven, MA) is an active supporter of a sister church in PieterMauritzburg,–which I think may be not too far from KwaZulu-Natal?
    At any rate, I am very interested in Science and theology and human development. For example I was shocked by the film “FLOW: For Love of Water” which shows how water is continually being commodified by large corporations all over Africa. A recent article in the Financial Times said that we are entering an age of serious Drought. I would like to do al;l I can to help others deal with this coming global crisis.

    What resources does Star Kids need at this time?
    How can we help you achieve them?

    Shalom,

    Rev. Dave Buehler
    Advent Lutheran Church, Middleboro, MA

  2. mr montree jannee

    l am montree jannee live in Northern thailand we have orphaned children home.10 boys

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