School Feeding Scheme
Everyday sandwiches are prepared and delivered to schools by devotees of the Society. About 2000 needy children of all races are provided with sandwiches daily.
Several hydroponics projects have been set up for charitable institutions to raise funds. These are at Spes Nova School (Phoenix), Crisis Care Centre (Hillcrest), Natal Blind & Deaf Society (Pietermaritzburg) and V.N. Naik School for the Deaf (Newlands). Vegetables grown at these gardens are of excellent quality and provide the centres with opportunities to raise funds.
The Society undertook two large housing projects. In the late 1990's, 181 low cost homes were built for displaced Indians and Africans at Waterloo near Verulam.
In 2006, the Society embarked on a major housing project at Parkgate, also near Verulam. Phase 1 & 2 of this project saw 346 homes built and allocated to displaced Indians and Africans for occupation. Phase 3 of the Project, consisting of and additional 39 houses, has now begun. In total, 385 low cost houses will be built at Parkgate.
Old Age Homes
In keeping with the teachings of the Master, the Society interacts with and assists all religious groups. When an appeal was made for providing accommodation for the aged at the Christian Care Centre in KwaMashu, the Society erected a large complex consisting of 36 rooms.
The Abalindi Welfare Society takes care of the aged in the rural area of Inanda. It is led by Rev. Arthur Sibisi. Divine Life Society adopted Abalindi Welfare Society for about 10 years from 1979, building a spacious dining hall, kitchen, pantry and two dormitories. The blocks for these new buildings were made by the members of the Abalindi Welfare Society in their yard. A feeding programme was also commenced to cater for the needs of nearly 500 people. The Indian stall-holders of the Durban Municipal Market generously provided the vegetables free of charge for nearly three years. Surplus cement blocks were sold to Divine Life Society for its school building projects. In 1986 another four dormitories were constructed, and the kitchen was equipped with modern cooking facilities, providing succour for the disabled and aged people of Inanda.
The Abalindi Welfare Society is now on its own feet, a well-organized relief unit, self-sufficient in operation, in the midst of a poor rural African community.
In 1993 the Folweni Learning Centre in the Umlazi region was constructed by the Isipingo Rotary Club. The Club approached Divine Life Society to participate in the newly created community facility. A large number of women in the neighborhood were unemployed.
The Society, through the kind help of its many patrons and well-wishers throughout the country, donated 20 motorized sewing machines, 10 Olivetti typewriters, 25 hand-operated sewing machines and one copying machine to the institution.
At Ntuzuma, another poverty-stricken area in the north of Durban, a similar need was identified. The St. John Apostolic Mission, under the direction of Rev. Khumalo, was doing its best to serve the local community. The Society worked closely with this organisation. Four typewriters were donated to it. A sewing centre was started with an initial donation of 10 hand-operated machines, since there was no electricity in the area during that time.
At the Umlazi Technical College, a modern sewing centre has been constructed by the Society and is being efficiently run by the College. The Society donated 30 sewing machines to the College.
The first of all sewing centres built by the Society was at Esikhaweni, near Empangeni. This centre, which is being run by the KwaZulu-Natal Government, provides training for about 100 women. The Society also donated 25 electric sewing machines to the centre.
In 2004, Pujya Swamiji decided that the Society administer sewing centres at its Ashrams. The Society currently administers five sewing schools which house 103 industrial and overlock sewing machines. The Administration Centre is located at Sivanandashram, Havenside, Chatsworth. Two other centres are run at our Ashrams in Merebank and Pietermaritzburg. A centre in Tongaat is managed by the Shree Veeraboga Emperumal Temple. The centre at Newlands West is managed by the Sai Organisation, Durban Region, Newlands.
Training is provided mainly to unemployed adults by qualified trainers who are paid by the Society. Training extends for six weeks, eight hours per day. Certificates are awarded to all â€œgraduatesâ€. Since the inception of this project in 2004, 2300 certificates have been issued. Almost all graduates have been absorbed into the industrial sector.
Trainees are provided with an opportunity of securing a free sewing machine, provided they sell a minimum number of garments sewn at their centre. To this end about 2000 sewing machines were purchased.
Owing to the dire need for early childhood education in rural areas, the Society decided to build creches in various parts of KwaZulu-Natal. Creches play a vital role in providing a haven for children left unattended by working parents as well as children left orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Thus far more than 25 have been completed, while work on 5 new creches is in progress
For the Society's 60th Anniversary this year, Pujya Swamiji had set a target of completing 30 Peace & Skills Training Centres and 30 creches. Thus far, over 40 Peace & Skills Training Centres have been complete, whilst the 30th creche is being built. Both the Peace & Skills Training Centres and creches have a majestic look with the outside walls being clad with exquisite and colourful tiles.
The concept of the Peace & Skills Training Centres began as a poverty alleviation project in 2006. Basic skills like sewing, computing and bead-making are being taught at these centres.
The first Peace & Skills Training Centre was built at Gamalakhe, near Port Shepstone early in 2006. To date, 35 Peace & Skills Training Centres in various parts of KwaZulu-Natal have been completed.
The Centres are playing a vital role in serving the needs of the communities in which they are built. Each Centre comprises a large hall designed to accommodate 40 sewing machines, a computer room and a Peace Centre. The Societyâ€™s policy is to install sewing machines and computers at all the Centres.
The Society offers to provide free accommodation and training to two prospective trainers from each centre in sewing skills. The Computer Centre will provide the youth and others with training in operating computers. Thirdly, the Peace Centre with its most beautiful colourful pictures of exotic birds, flowers, animals, scenic wonders, etc., with inspiring sayings in Zulu and English from the writings of our Divine Master will educate and uplift the people. Especially, school children enjoy reading highly educative instructions in English and in Zulu. There are sayings for the Junior learners as well as Senior learners. The Peace Centre will also help those with problems and conflicts to sit here and solve their differences.