Youth Development, Health, April 16, 2020, 6:46 p.m.

Resilience and well-being in these times of uncertainty

Author: Mamelani Projects

The advent of Covid-19 has brought about unprecedented challenges. We realise our work cannot be business as normal, and it's okay when we have those moments of uncertainty and fear descend on us.

For many of us at Mamelani, it is important to acknowledge how change, especially during crises, disrupts people's expectations of the future, reducing their sense of control and their ability to process information. Being present to what staff and participants are experiencing has helped create a sense of universality – the feeling of not being alone. WhatsApp chat groups, Zoom meetings, WhatsApp video calls and voice notes have helped us transition to providing online support to the people we serve. Our well-being and resilience are being tested like never before as we try our best to ensure people in communities have what they need, remain informed and feel supported during this time. Part of enhancing resilience is practicing gratitude and focusing on strengths. Even though it's been a challenging time we look forward to understanding what supports resilience and well-being during times of uncertainty.
Of course, apart from the outbreak of a global pandemic, much has happened over the last quarter! Among other developments, we have moved to our new office premises at 2 Forest Drive, Pinelands. We also welcomed Claire Jacobs as our new Youth Transitions Facilitator, and Michu Vitu (a past participant in our youth programme) as our new Social Media Intern. In this newsletter we're delighted to share even more of the highlights from the past quarter.


Being resilient and innovative in a time of crisis: Supporting our participants and communities during Covid-19

During this challenging time, we continue as much of our work as we can. The health facilitators have found creative ways to continue engaging with the groups recruited at the beginning of the year. They have also continued checking-in with current groups, sharing key health information and continuing their 8-week training in a summarised way via WhatsApp chat groups. Our participants with access to data and cellphones continue their usual weekly support group meetings with facilitators. Mamelani is supporting staff and participants by providing airtime and data bundles. Our facilitators are also supporting Community Champions and previous groups by answering questions, providing online counselling and sharing protocols and information about Covid-19. In this way, we are hoping to create a community of support and to continue building a strong social network, even as we are practicing physical social distancing.
























Mamelani Community Champions - a community of support


In our ProSeed programme, we have shifted all our mentoring sessions online. Our young people still continue to connect with their mentors, both individually and in a group context, via WhatsApp, Facebook and Zoom. We are also using these platforms to drive key messages as recommended by the department of health, and to provide updated information and resources. The provision of extra data has enabled youth to connect to individual and group sessions online. We are making sure every young person preparing for their transition, including those already out of care, are informed and feel supported during this time.











































It's exciting to be part of the ProSeed programme


Home from Home and Mamelani Projects partnership: A system-wide approach to building resilience in Alternative Care Institutions 

In our December newsletter, we mentioned we will be embarking on an 18 month-long journey with our longstanding partner, Home from Home. We are delighted to share that we have had a successful start to our journey together! We kicked off the process with an introductory session with the foster mothers, followed by a session with the youth, and finally we spent two full days with the management team of Home from Home. A big thank you goes out to all those we have engaged with, and we feel honoured to be a part of your journey!


















An introductory session with the Home from Home foster mothers























The youth of Home from Home were keen to listen carefully for pearls of wisdom


Building community: Running alongside participants and partner organisations 

Part of building resilience is helping young people develop a web of positive relationships that will help them successfully to cope with transitional times. In February, youth in the programme joined a fun-run organised by Echo House, a partner organisation that provides transitional housing for young adults. After the event, the group had a time of reflection with two graduates of the Mamelani programme. They shared important advice about saving and budgeting, facing their fears and making use of resources like speaking to their mentors to prepare them for what lies ahead. They also reflected on the importance of building a network of support to become part of a community that can help them once they transition from residential care. We are proud of how this group has bonded, and it is a privilege to witness their increasing emotional growth and maturity. Go Royal Chaos!


Community Health Programme: Enhancing social solidarity 

We are so happy to share that Noncedo Mkhohli, our community ARV Adherence Club Facilitator, completed a 10-day HIV course, which involved training in testing as well as pre- and post-counselling. The course has strengthened and encouraged her support of 270 clients in nine Community Clubs. It will also prove valuable in supporting vulnerable community members during the Covid-19 epidemic. We remain very proud of the wonderful work she does and all the positive feedback she receives from those placed under her care.
The first quarter of the year saw Mamelani finalising an 18-month Community Champions process (our programme supporting grassroots leaders to grow and develop interventions that positively impact their community) with an event at Rands Cape Town in Khayelitsha. One participant shared, “The empowerment that I got from Mamelani has been the best. I got back my dignity.” We are very excited to see how these 10 Community Champions are growing in leadership and influence as they continue to implement projects in their communities. Previous Community Champions also met in Green Point Park for a day of relationship building. The opportunity allowed reflection on challenges, successes, and the impact Mamelani has had on their journey so far.
As Mamelani navigates our way through this unknown territory, we know we are not the only ones facing challenges. We all need to remain strong and innovative during this time. We wish all our supporters strength, courage and hope for both the current challenges we face as well as the future path ahead.
In gratitude of your support
Gerald Jacobs