What sets Izandla Zethemba apart?
Izandla is about the hands of Jesus reaching out in love. Izandla is a ministry of Khanyisa Community Church, and all staff and volunteers are committed followers of Jesus Christ. The services of the organization are offered to all people, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. However, the message of Jesus’ love is shared in word and in action. Our support group topics for children and adults have a strong biblical foundation. Prayer is integral in our work. We cannot deny the power of the cross, and do not hold back from sharing this with our beneficiaries, through our counseling or mentoring sessions or on our camps. Some are yet to allow Jesus to be their Lord and Savior - they are not forced, only loved. Many others come to follow Jesus and are integrated into the church family.
Izandla is embraced and backed by a local church community. As mentioned above no beneficiary is coerced into joining this faith community, however should they require a loving, accepting place of belonging they are warmly welcomed. This has been very meaningful to the HIV adult whose status has meant rejection from family members; it has given the orphan with a sense of family; and it has provided a new and healthy friendship circle to the young person who wants to change his/her lifestyle from crime and promiscuity.
Izandla has a strong culture of empowerment of grassroots people. The majority of our staff members started as volunteers and have been trained and coached in the skills required to be employed. One of the HIV support group members worked as a staff member for many years. Despite her tough circumstances, she made good use of the training she received through Izandla, and now ministers to others. At least seven of our HIV Support Group members were employed by the local clinics to provide counseling. They became employable through the knowledge and skills gained through the Izandla support groups.
Izandla has a long history of volunteerism, with many people from the local community giving their time and skills to support the services. In addition Izandla also creates opportunity for volunteering from people from the more affluent suburbs and from overseas – thus building on the value of cross cultural partnerships.
Izandla has deep roots in the community; having built excellent relationships with local clinics who regularly refer clients; and schools who allow us to use their premises for activities. Over the 10 years we’ve been working we have built up credibility, trust and mutual respect with community members and other community structures.
Our beneficiaries fundraise for us! In the past two years when our organisation has been struggling financially, our beneficiaries initiated local fundraising efforts to ensure that our services could continues. The young people hosted two youth events, and the adults arranged a luncheon. This is remarkables given that our beneficiaries live in areas defined by their poverty and unemployment. It was very touching to our staff members, who have built real relationships with the beneficiaries, not just seeing them as targets.