Missionvale is a shantytown on the outskirts of Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. It is crippled by poverty, disease, drought and hunger. The Missionvale Care Centre is a non-profit organization operating in the midst of this. We are in a transitional phase moving away from a traditional welfare approach, and embracing a more developmental and transformative tactic in our activities, as there is a goldmine of potential within this community! Our Centre was founded by the world renowned humanitarian, Sister Ethel Normoyle, in 1988.
Today we offer the following services:
Education: Normoyle Primary School, Adult Basic Education & Training
Skills Development: Sustainable food gardens, local women making crafts, Impumelelo Training & Development Centre
Health & Wellbeing: Medical Centre incorporating doctor’s consultations, women’s Health, physiotherapy, optometry, pharmacy, Community Care Workers, HIV / Aids awareness, education & counselling, Support Groups, Social Work Services, Nutrition and Wellness, Basic domestic animal care
Youth Development: Academic Support, Literacy Programs, PsychoSocial Support, Human Rights, healthy living programs, surf club, ballroom dancing, drama club, Legacy Art Project
Community Development: Clothing Warehouse / Recycling through our Swop Shop initiative / Church & Community Hall / Christmas Cheer Projects
Normoyle Primary School
Normoyle Primary is an independent community school that believes in teaching whole life education as a vehicle for community transformation and upliftment. The school runs from Junior Grade R – Grade 7 including two preschool classes and a remedial class for pupils with learning difficulties.
In addition to our superb academic program, we also offer the following extramural activities:
Adult Basic Education & Training (ABET)
We know that many were unable to complete their schooling when they were young. Our ABET classes provide a second chance to finish high school and to become more employable. Trained facilitators use our community hall on week days and accompany the learners on their journey.
Our wonderful youth development team have created a number of educational and fun activities for children and teenagers to enjoy after school.
While many activities are offered on site, our team also visits other schools in the area to ensure no one is left out.
A big focus is on supporting learners academically, through homework help and literacy programs. Lessons also include Human Rights and healthy living topics.
In addition kids can learn ballroom dancing, take part in the drama club and even go surfing! There have been many accolades and awards for these programs, but our biggest reward is seeing them flourish and having a happy escape from life’s harsh realities!
We have learnt that it is extremely important to also be cognisant of the emotional state of each child, as many have sadly experienced great trauma in their young lives. For this reason we also have a psycho-social support program where we work with a network of mental health professionals who assist with counselling services.
The Johann Strömbeck Medical Centre provides essential, quality health care to the deeply impoverished community of Missionvale and surrounding areas.
The need in the area is incredibly overwhelming, and our medical centre came into existence as we saw basic illnesses turn into serious and life threatening conditions because accessing healthcare is so problematic when one is dependent on the State health care facilities.
We work on a referral system from the municipal clinic adjacent to the Care Centre. They do not have a doctor on a daily basis, and when one is present, it is usually only to write chronic scripts, not consultation / diagnosis. Our agreement with them is that their nurses assess each patient and refer the most urgent and or complicated cases to us.
Our compassionate team of caregivers provide Home Based Care services for patients too ill to come to the clinic.
A health promotion team offer door-to-door activities that focus on the prevention of disease, and lifestyle education.
A social worker and her team see to the general well-being of children and community members, and also assist with access to grants, ID documents, birth certificates etc.
Our Support Groups include: Substance Abuse, HIV / Aids, Bible Study, Young Women’s Group, Young Men’s Group, Breastfeeding group, Parent support groups and support groups for parents of children with learning difficulties.
Our health activities further expand to domestic animal care. Once a week we provide vaccinations, dipping and deworming for dogs and cats in the area. Sterilisations and injured pets are referred to a network of local vets who assist pro bono, or at a greatly reduced rate.
Sustainable food security is one of our highest priorities. We are fortunate to have a large vegetable garden and a superb team who train local community members in the principles of “Farming God’s Way”. Groups of approximately 20 at a time complete an 8 month course on site, after which they have an opportunity to begin a home garden where we provide mentorship for an additional year. Trainees receive a token currency called “MCC bucks” in return for working in the garden. These MCC bucks can be used to “buy” some produce back, or for other home essentials such as groceries, clothing, toiletries etc. The harvests are sent to our Nutrition unit for inclusion in food parcels for families in need.
Local Women Producing Crafts
The women in the Crafters Unit produce variety of handmade goods including tracksuits, fabric shopping bags, placemats, aprons, beaded jewelry and more. These items are sold at the Missionvale Care Centre shop providing the women with a source of income. An embroidery machine has made it possible to produce branded goods for corporate clients, sports clubs and schools.
Impumelelo Training & Development Centre
Our Impumelelo Training and Development Centre (ITDC) strives to improve livelihoods to end the cycle of poverty and social exclusion. The word Impumelelo means success, and it has certainly lived up to its name!
Of the 40 candidates that attended our pilot training program in 2022, 33 have found temporary or permanent employment!
Interested applicants submit a business idea and the top 25 are selected. Our approach is to mix theory and practical learning. Class topics include (among others) literacy, mathematics, putting together a business plan, budgeting, life skills, ethics, code of conduct etc. Upon successfully completing the theory, once off seed funding of R2000 is provided. From here learners gradually work more and more towards their business, have volunteering opportunities to gain experience and continue mentoring sessions with our facilitator.
The ultimate goal is self-sufficiency either through employment or through a successful new venture.
In 2021 we launched a recycling project entitled the “Swop Shop”. Residents collect and sort through recyclable items in the area (cardboard, glass, tin, plastic) – all found in the endless mounds of litter in the area. The items are then brought to the Centre where it is weighed.
For each Kilogram, points called “MCC Bucks” are allocated. The MCC Bucks can be exchanged for items in our Swop Shop so participants are able to select things they need most, rather than relying on a handout. The Swop Shop is stocked with basic food items, clothing, toiletries, household goods and stationery. Basics like maize meal, salt, rice and oil have been the most popular – a testimony to the need in the area.
The recycling collected is sent to the Waste Trade Company. We are proud to say that with the funds it generates, we are able to pay 5 previously unemployed community members a small stipend to work at the recycling site! Of course there is the huge added bonus of the community being cleaned up, though there is still much to be done!
Church and Community Hall
The Church and Community Hall are wonderful gathering places for the people and it is in it that they celebrate the special occasions of life i.e. weddings, funerals, birthdays, community meetings, training and upliftment programs. The hall is available for rent and provides a small income to sustain the Care Centre’s activities.
Every year we distribute 5000 Christmas presents to the children in the area. This is all made possible through the generosity of people who donate toys throughout the year. We also pack and distribute 3000 Christmas food parcels per year to ensure everyone has something to eat on Christmas Day.