In August 2018 in a church in Khayelitsha, a new story was being written in the hearts of Thembinkosi Fati, his wife Bongiwe, and Siyabonga Maqina and his wife Cikizwa. Common Good was presenting its research into the opportunity for the local church in the critically important time of the First Thousand Days (FTD). Nobody knew that five years later they would have had such a powerful impact in the lives and flourishing of families.
At the beginning of 2020, Pastor Fati and Pastor Maqina planted a new church, Light Restoration Centre (LRC). Having committed themselves and their church to caring for families in the First Thousand Days, they activated their church with Sikunye. This means that they are doing what they can with what they have to be the modern-day village around families in Mfuleni, Cape Town. This is what an FTD-friendly church is all about.
As an active and passionate church, LRC has taken up most of the training and equipping opportunities made available to them. For example, they have had a group of volunteers trained as Home Visitors who are now actively supporting mothers through their pregnancy and after birth, with a beautiful impact in the lives of those visited. They have made use of Team Leaders’ training and many of the Practical Workshops that have given them information and skills for address FTD needs and opportunities.
LRC has connected with a range of different NGOs, churches and service providers to see that families are cared for. This includes other programmes within Common Good (the organisation that launched Sikunye), Flourish hosts, the Parent Centre and Heartlines. They continue to look beyond themselves to see that every family has enough support to thrive in this important phase of life.
Pastor Fati and Pastor Maqina are passionate about the First Thousand Days and continue to find ways to raise awareness and speak up around the topic with their church, and church leaders in the Khayelitsha area and beyond. They are community mobilisers for Sikunye and have encouraged many church leaders and pastors to join the online webinars and trainings that Sikunye offers and to activate their churches to also become FTD-Friendly. These church leaders have gone on to join a WhatsApp group that empowers them with more information, and we have also seen some of their members trained as Home Visitors.
We count it a privilege to walk this journey with the leadership and congregants of LRC. It is always encouraging to hear their hearts and passion for impacting their community through families. Our hope as Sikunye is to see many more churches being the modern-day village around families. Our dream is to see every child be within reach of a church like LRC.
“We at LRC understand that we cannot do everything; we need to build relationships with other organisations, so that we may refer and collaborate”. Pastor Thembinkosi Fati