Missionvale USA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the poor and underprivileged of South Africa. This organization supports the efforts of the Missionvale Care Center in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to provide hope and a positive future through sustainable programs focused on education, nutrition, healthcare, skills development and shelter.
Sue and I recently returned from a trip to South Africa and a visit to see Sr. Ethel and the Missionvale Care Center (MVCC). I was so excited to see the extraordinary work the Care Center staff is doing and the positive changes that are being made. By nature, I generally focus on the positive of every situation. So throughout my time at the Care Center, I was ecstatic to see how much things have changed since I last visited two and a half years ago. It wasn’t until later while reflecting on the visit did the reality of things settle in.
There are more than 70 new gardens growing at the homes of people within the township, BUT the waiting list for food assistance is three times what the Care Center can handle.
The new medical clinic is run with higher efficiency and professionalism than many practices in South Africa (almost completely on a volunteer basis), BUT there is a continual need for funding to cover wellness supplies including food. Plus, people need to eat properly in order to take their medications to be effective.
The school offers an amazing opportunity for children to receive a proper education that otherwise would not be possible, BUT finding funding for the teachers’ salaries each year continues to be a struggle (one teacher’s salary for a year is $7,200).
The government is building more than 2,000 new homes (still no running water) for some of the people of Missionvale, BUT that is a small step when the total population exceeds 100,000.
Everywhere I looked I saw children wearing TOMS shoes instead of running around barefoot, BUT when entering the Clothing Warehouse at the Care Center, the shelves were empty and winter is approaching increasing the need for warm clothes and blankets.
These are just a few of the contradictions I experienced. I am both happy for the progress yet troubled by each one. It was a powerful demonstration of how much good the donations raised by Missionvale USA can do, yet further reinforced the needs that still exist. I find that with each visit back to the Care Center I am more inspired and motivated to continue the work we do in the U.S. to help.
Nutrition in Action
Hope in Action
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Words from Sr. Ethel
"There's no point in giving medication without food. I've grown into the fact of knowing that food is medication in Africa today.
Everyday over 600 to 800, sometimes 1,000 heads of family come to us for one half loaf of bread and a cup of full of raw soup."