Common Good (www.commongood.org.za) began as a ministry of Common Ground Church that was developed to help address some of the long-standing issues of injustice in Cape Town. The primary areas of focus are Employment, Education and Early Childhood Development. There are teams that work in each of these areas, and the common goal is to see communities transformed through the gospel and to see hope restored and poverty reduced.
The Zanokhanyo Network (www.tzn.org.za) is the employment arm of Common Good. Through this program unemployed and under-employed people receive research-based training to help equip them for work. The training focuses on holistically preparing people for employment by teaching soft skills, like understanding that each person has inherent worth because they are made in the image of God, emotional healing, character, communication and conflict management. The participants also learn interview skills, basic computer skills and are assisted in putting together a professional resume´. Each day of training begins with a Scripture devotion that fits with the day’s theme. The course has been very successful in fighting unemployment and restoring hope.
Umthombo (Xhosa for 'springs of water') began as a partnership with the Western Cape Education Department, Phambili ngeThemba (the NGO we were with prior to Common Good), and the Mokone Primary School staff and students in May 2011. It grew out of a desire to address the poor numeracy and literacy scores at Mokone Primary. Volunteers are the workhorses of the program, applying their skills to teaching English to Grade 1 children, operating an after school Bible club called Indlela (follow), and using a team of volunteers to help Grade learners with numeracy. In addition, twice per term volunteers from Common Ground Church host a Super Saturday. On those days a Bible lesson is shared, and then the children participate in outdoor games, as well as numeracy and literacy activities. During the winter school holidays (July), we run a holiday Bible club, which usually has 150+ children attending for 5 days. There are many opportunities for growth within the overall school program.
We also play a supporting role in Unakho Children's Home run by Pastor Julius Bonani and his wife Irene. They provide love and care for 30+ children in Barcelona, part of the township of Gugulethu in Cape Town. We help with holiday clubs, a garden, homework assistance and financial support.
South Africa is an amazing country filled with incredible diversity, seen both in the beauty of its landscapes and the faces of its people. Our desire is to join with the local church to facilitate a movement of the gospel that engages poverty and inequality in a way that makes Jesus known and worshipped.