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Look back in... happiness

Breaking ground to opening ceremony in 15 days

A few weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic locked down the world, a team of 19 volunteers from the UK went to join forces with people from the Munsieville township community to respond to a plea for help from the principal of Extension Five Primary School. She was desperate for a beautiful and secure space to support young girls who were in crisis.

The challenge: to construct a single storey centre, with two large activity rooms, consultation room, shower room and veranda opening up to carefully landscaped gardens ….. And to complete the project from breaking ground to opening ceremony in just fifteen days!

The basic structure was erected by local casual construction workers, and the task of the entire internal fitting, interior and exterior decoration and artwork, and the extensive landscaping was undertaken by the UK team, along with interactions with the children at the school, and providing advice and support to school staff preparing to provide support services to vulnerable girls.

The project was delivered on target - just! As the official opening speeches started, the last of the thirty-six panes of glass was being popped into place! And all costs were covered by fundraising by the intrepid volunteers, half of whom were beyond retirement age!

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“Leaving behind the fragrance of Jesus”

Thirty-five young people and leaders from churches in the Parish of Great Chesham, Buckinghamshire worked together for  eighteen months, raising funds for an adventure of a life-time and training to take on a massive group challenge. They were aiming to install thirty-six drought-resistant family nutrition gardens across the township of Munsieville, rebuild two pre-school centres, renovate another three, and install two playgrounds.

Over the two weeks of their Transform Mission, the team exceeded all their goals:

  • 60 family nutrition gardens were created

  • 2 pre-schools were rebuilt - one with a brand new classroom

  • 4 pre-schools were renovated inside and out

  • 4 children’s playgrounds were installed

And although they pulled out all the stops to deliver what they had promised, they also managed to spend time playing with hundreds of children, and visited scores of homes in the township’s “squatter camps”, observing the challenges faced by those living in abject poverty.

There were also visits to the world-famous Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, a day-long mini-safari, exploration of the caves in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, and an evening exploring the rich cultural diversity of South Africa.

Over the weekend, the team visited several township churches. After the team had returned to the UK, Jeremiah Molotsi, the senior pastor of one of the churches said, “Everywhere these young people went, they left behind the fragrance of Jesus. Can Root and Branch Change help us to develop servant-hearted discipleship so we can continue to reach out to our own community with the good news?”

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