Overview of The Domino Foundation, The Domino Trust and Domino Business
Originally registered as a non-profit organisation in 2004, The Domino Foundation is growing into an NPO with a presence in an increasing number of communities across our nation. Through seven structured programmes and with the help of over 50 staff and more than a hundred volunteers, The Domino Foundation aims to equip individuals physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively and spiritually. As a brand, Domino has three distinct but intimately linked entities: The Domino Foundation, The Domino Trust and Domino Business. The Domino brand ultimately speaks of initiatives geared towards effecting sustainable social change in our nation by assisting and empowering the neediest in our communities.
The Domino Foundation runs focused interventions to support and empower communities holistically to be active participants in our society. The Foundation believes that, by addressing three key pillars, effective social change can be achieved: social charity – to come to the aid of those in need; social justice – to correct the systems and practices which trap people in injustice; social entrepreneurship – using economic development to empower communities.
In its determination to be instrumental in seeing social charity accomplished in our community, the Foundation’s seven programmes impact over 7000 people on a daily basis and cover a broad range of individuals and groups, from new-borns to pre-schoolers, primary and high school and tertiary education learners to victims of human-trafficking. The Domino Foundation’s is unique in that it offers is support for the orphaned and vulnerable child in a disadvantaged community throughout the life-stages of their development – Early Childhood Development, schooling and Skills Development.
The Domino Foundation’s Feeding Programme’s vision is to feed the hungry in their most desperate time of need. Feeding over 2 000 people daily, it operates four kitchens in the Ethekwini area: two sandwich kitchens, one catering for schools in the North Durban area and another for schools in the South basin (Amanzimtoti); a soup kitchen providing soup and porridge to crèches and needy individuals, and a relief kitchen which operates when crises strike Durban communities.
As the number of volunteers and donors grow, the programme moves closer to realising its dream of communities where no child is too hungry to concentrate and learn, where learning is enhanced through children’s need for healthy and balanced nutrition is being met. All feeding is accompanied by a matching development programme, freeing the hungry from the injustice that caused them to be hungry in the first place. These places of development include crèches, schools, churches, counselling centres, aftercare programmes and youth holiday clubs, The Domino Foundation Feeding Programme serves close to 4500 meals every day (a combination of porridge, soups and sandwiches) and reached the significant milestone in late 2017 of having provided over 1 000 000 meals in the year.
The Domino Foundation’s transitional babies’ home was established to provide an answer to the problem of babies being dumped in local urban and rural areas. By the end of 2017, the home celebrated more than 150 babies having been nurtured during its fourteen-year history and then either taken into adoptive families or reunited with their birth families. The programme liaises with Durban Child Welfare to provide 24 hour-a-day care for all children entrusted to the Home and facilitates contact between children and potential adoptive parents. The staff work with medical and healthcare professionals to ensure the well-being of the children in the programme’s care. Representatives of the Home and of The Domino Foundation are committed to challenging legislation and processes to safeguard justice for abandoned babies.
The Early Childhood Development programme aims to empower crèche owners to be able to improve the quality of learning and preparation for school readiness of the crèche children and to help these ECD centres to become sustainable businesses making a lasting economic and educational impact in the community. Basic business training for ECD owners is given, working with ESS (Entrepreneurial Support Services) who provide classroom training on developing small business management skills using modules developed for ECD centres. In the classroom, ECD owners and educators receive formal educational training. The ECD programme partners with ECD training centres like NELRU (Natal Early Learning Resource Unit) and TREE (Training Resources for Early Education) who provide classroom training modules in ECD training.
The programme’s trained fieldworkers do on-site mentoring and monitoring, spending a day a week with ECD centre owners, assisting with post-training implementation. “Change-management” is at the core of the success of the development programme.
The ECD programme partners with local artisans to build, repair and upgrade the physical spaces at ECD centres so that learning can take place in safe, stimulating environments.
In conjunction with The Domino Foundation’s Feeding programme, the nutritional needs of ECD learners is addressed. Most of the ECD centres start off with no kitchen, but each fully developed centre will be provided with a fully functional kitchen so it can provide its own meals, good nutrition being essential for the development of young children.
The Life Skills programme operated by The Domino Foundation aims to empower learners to make wise life choices and instil in them a sense of self-worth and purpose, offering them hope for the future. Learners in the five schools in which the programme works are guided in their understanding of who they are as unique human beings and what they value, and to develop a vision for who they would like to be. They are also taught how to develop healthy relationships based on respect, accountability and honour and are helped to develop a personal vision to plan for a future without HIV/AIDS. Individuals are encouraged to realise their capacity as future leaders and a team approach is encouraged. The programme runs leadership development courses with the learners and a service leadership mentorship programme has been started at one of the schools. One-on-one sessions are provided to help those learners the school identifies as needing help with psychosocial problems. To address the lack of after-school recreational facilities, the programme has created safe opportunities for learners to have fun and to participate in extra-mural activities. As educators and management at under-resourced schools are often overwhelmed by their many challenges, the Life Skills programme’s support-initiatives include teacher workshops, networking with other schools to share best practices, as well as constant encouragement, motivation and problem-solving support. With its partners, the programme also facilitates the development and upgrading of the learning and material environment of the schools.
The Domino Foundation Skills Development Programme is an education platform through which disadvantaged individuals are empowered and equipped to reach their full potential. It provides opportunities for young people to achieve an education in their chosen field by giving access to funding for tertiary qualifications, living and travel allowances and educational resources. The programme also supports and walks alongside candidates through a mentorship programme to ensure they have the confidence, knowledge and tools required to seek employment. To ensure relevance and effectiveness, all activities are monitored and evaluated.
Qualified programme coordinators assess candidates and each situation is critically weighed up to determine a tailor-made funding plan. In parallel to their studies, each candidate completes a one year Life eQuip Course through an online learning portal. This course has been specifically designed to incorporate essential life skills and tools to assist in job-seeking, household budget-planning, CV writing and other critical life lessons.
The scope of the Skills Development programme has been broadened to include learnerships to equip school-leavers for work in trades and other skilled areas.
Recognising the wide-spread scourge of human-trafficking in South Africa, The Domino Foundation’s Red Light Programme was established to reach out, restore and release survivors of exploitation. The Programme reaches survivors of sex-trafficking in Kwa-Zulu Natal and builds sustainable relationships with them. Having been identified, sex-trafficked survivors are referred into a restoration programme, either with Red Light or network partners. The second phase of the programme’s operations is to restore individuals to health and wholeness through individualised and group rehabilitation programmes. When this has been achieved, the survivors are released into and supported through a reintegration programme, which ensures they have the confidence, knowledge, skills and tools required to seek employment.
Prevention and awareness are the most effective tools in the fight against human-trafficking. Red Light’s presentations to schools, corporates and other groups form the programme’s prevention initiatives to raise awareness of the atrocities of human-trafficking, to enable people to identify suspicious activity and to teach the correct communication channels for reporting such activities.
It will take the power of partnership and networks to end human-trafficking. The pursuit of social justice and advocacy on behalf of the voiceless and marginalised in South Africa is the aim of the second area of Domino activity. The Domino Foundation’s Red Light Programme is the KZN representative of the National Freedom Network (NFN) which is dedicated to supporting anti-human-trafficking initiatives around the province. Red Light is also a part of the HHPPB taskforce which has been established to combat human-trafficking with local government and organisations.
The Recycle Swop Shop, operating in the Western Cape, uplifts Informal settlement communities through their using recyclable goods as a means of exchange for basic necessities. As an empowerment initiative, the programme affords communities the opportunity to help themselves and aims to break the mentality of hopelessness. The Swop Shops operate weekly at three locations in Cape Town. In exchange for tokens, community members bring recyclable waste collected in the informal settlement. The tokens are used to ‘purchase’ essential personal and household items (clothes, food and school resources) from the shops. The recyclable materials are sold to organisations that recycle the materials. This reduces the communities’ carbon footprint, waste products and combats pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The second of the key pillars of Domino’s focused interventions is the taking-up of the challenge of addressing unjust systems and practices in South Africa and working to see them eradicated. The Red Light programme is the provincial representative of the National Freedom Network and works with a numbers of other bodies engaged in the fight against human-trafficking. A representative of the Babies’ Homes programme has been invited to sit on the Board of the KwaZulu Natal Adoption Coalition. This will enable The Domino Foundation to have voice in local and ultimately national fora where the critical decisions are made concerning the orphaned and abandoned children in the country.
The Domino Foundation’s approach is simple – their track record of community upliftment is well over a decade long. It is a record of good governance, compliance and strong business relationship management. To the end of seeing social entrepreneurship grow and flourish, Domino Business uses economic development to empower communities, the third of the key pillars. To enable the corporate world to partner in this process of social transformation in South Africa, Domino Business seeks to take greater ownership stakes in companies as the broad-based black shareholder. It pursues deepened integrated stakeholder relationships and building momentum in the transformation process whilst providing sustainable cash flow to grow The Domino Foundation’s Social Change activities. Specific and individualised solutions have been developed for businesses to actively engage in Social Change. Their programmes are aligned in accordance with the latest B-BBEE codes and they are assisting a number of organisations with innovative solutions to achieve their BEE objectives. Certification, documentation and Section18A tax receipts are provided when needed. For practitioners seeking specific alignment with company CSI policies, The Domino Foundation has a variety of programmes that satisfy Corporate Social Responsibility and Investment goals. Businesses are finding Domino Business is creating innovative ways for better positioning to capitalise on the B-BBEE legislation through becoming compliant in pertinent and agile ways.
Domino Business is the sustainability plan for the NPO so that reliance on grants and donations in the long term is reduced. Its activities cover a number of areas, one of which is taking ownership stakes in companies. As the black, female shareholder, Domino Business’ taking minority stakes in companies releases value in the business as a compliant company. Domino Business is a trader in products and services and its current product range includes paper, stationery, coffee, corporate gifts and PPE. In conducting Enterprise Development activities, Domino Business seeks to empower black owned companies in order to give opportunities to entrepreneurs and help established companies achieve their Preferential Procurement targets.
The driving force behind the Domino brand’s belief and activities is the belief that, through an individual’s life being changed, they will in turn change their community, thereby becoming part of ‘The Domino Effect.’
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