Durban - The Church Alliance for Social Transformation (CAST) held its charity golf day at the Kloof Country Club (KCC) in Durban this past week and recorded a successful event, as 25 four-balls entered the day totalling 100 participants.
CAST interim CEO Debbie Austwick spoke to IOL at the event about their plans to help uplift the upper highway communities through their partnerships with local churches, with the funds raised at the KCC.
The organisation was born out of the Westville Baptist Church in Durban, and has since expanded its footprint across the metropolitan area.
Austwick said CAST had three main areas of focus - food relief, flood rebuilding and trauma counselling.
It does this by connecting with churches that have already established a connection with the community, and then enable these churches to carry out the work.
“Rather than us trying to be in every community, we know there’s a church in every community and if we can equip and empower that church to reach their own community, then the footprint is way bigger. It is more sustainable as well because that church will be there for a long time,” Austwick said.
“We believe in adapt, adopt or create.”
Austwick said often NPO’s think they know best about what a struggling community needed but in reality only people living inside the community actually had an understanding of the issues, hence the partnerships with the churches.
The organisation acts as a bridge between two worlds, those who want to give and those who need to be given to.
After the 2022 floods in KwaZulu-Natal which claimed the lives of more than 400 people, CAST set off on a building project in the KwaNdengezi area, west of Durban, where they helped seven families benefit from their efforts.
The funds raised at the charity golf day will go towards the organisation's just leadership programme, trauma counselling project and the flood rebuilding project.
“Training and equipping leaders is quite an intangible thing, and its long term. We are trying to change mindsets, so it does take a while to get there, but the results last longer. We found that the building and feeding projects are easier to raise funds for.
“But developments like the trauma workshops and Just leadership programmes are harder to raise for, so we often use our fundraisers like today for projects like that,” Austwick said.
With 25 teams of four, CAST raised R60,000 from its golf event and also auctioned off golf memorabilia to raise further funds for their upcoming projects.