Shiloh Synergy is a nonprofit company operating in Cape Town’s northern suburbs. The organisation’s vision is to uplift with excellence. Shiloh Synergy has its humble beginnings back in 1995, through the inspiration of Pastor Nanda Govender in the Wallacedene settlement outside Cape Town. Andre Beeton joined hands with Nanda Govender and they started a working committee that founded the Wallacedene Soup Kitchen.
Since then, the organisation’s borders have expanded. Interest in its social upliftment work increased, with more people across denominational and cultural borders becoming active and pledging support for needy causes. The Shiloh Christian Upliftment Centre was founded and officially registered by the Department of Welfare in 2000 as a nonprofit organisation and as an Article 21 Company in 2004. In 2004, Community in Action (CIA), a mass food producing kitchen, joined the ranks of Shiloh, and in 2006, Masincedisane Klipheuwel, a pre-primary school in Klipheuwel, also came on board. In 2010, the Shiloh Christian Upliftment Centre was re-registered as Shiloh Synergy, complete with a head office providing shared services to all initiatives.
Shiloh Synergy has, over a period of 18 years, had great success in the Western Cape, through the goodwill of both the donors and stakeholders involved. This gesture of faithful contributions by committed people has enabled the organisation to extend and uplift those living in some of the poorest communities.
Today, Shiloh Synergy’s arsenal of projects is delivered through six main initiatives:
Shiloh Jubilee Excellence Schools (JES)
Hope Africa Collectives
These initiatives are either location-focused (many projects, one location) or project specialised (many locations, one project). Because of the diverse background of Shiloh Synergy, it is understandable that a myriad of projects will ensue. Yet, because excellence is the goal, Shiloh Synergy has, in the last three years, shifted its focus to the more specialised projects delivered at the various project locations. The projects that fall outside of the organisation’s specialised fields have become opportunities for partnerships with different organisations.
Shiloh Jubilee Excellence Schools
Jubilee Excellence Schools (JES) is a complete holistic model of upliftment. This project covers the whole school structure, including the physical buildings (classrooms, premises, and furniture), the curriculum taught, as well as the training and employment of teachers. JES also provides a platform for various other community upliftment projects, through partnerships with local NGOs, churches or corporates.
The classrooms are larger than in other nursery schools, and there are 40 toddlers in a group. Three teachers manage such a group. Yet, when the teachers have obtained their full qualifications and gained sufficient experience, one teacher and two trained assistants are sufficient. There are very specific conditions regarding the construction of a classroom, which may not be deviated from. This arrangement is necessary so that the toddlers know precisely where to find the apparatus and where to store it once the activity is completed. There are six areas in each room: a practical living area, a sensory area, an art area, a cultural area, an arithmetic area, and a language area. In each classroom, there should therefore be enough shelves to enable the specific apparatus to be displayed for each area’s specific theme. This apparatus is enough for all activities offered. However, teachers can use an extra apparatus for the theme they are presenting.
The syllabus is designed so as to provide for the specific needs of the nursery school being built, and with the aim of uplifting the community in mind. The JES slogan: beauty, excellence and order, applies to the grounds, building, rooms, syllabus, general work style and the appearance of the staff and children. The aim of this syllabus is to prepare the children not only for primary school but also for life. Attention is given to their emotional, intellectual, social and physical development, and to the development of their full potential. Characteristics that are given specific attention are: a healthy self-image, inner motivation, inner discipline and independence. The aim is to broaden the toddlers’ horizons.
Benefits of JES
The vision of uplifting a community in any given area would begin by erecting a JES School. Teachers should be drawn from that community, because when they are from another community, it implies that their own people are not good enough. Experience has proven that in these communities, there are no trained teachers available, and in any event it would be too expensive to appoint them. The persons who are appointed should therefore have at least a Grade 10 qualification, but preferably Grade 12. All they need in order to become a teacher is provided for. Most of Shiloh Synergy’s teachers do not have their Matric, but are currently pursuing further studies.
The benefits to the children are almost incalculable and worth every ounce of effort. The effect as described above is not only for the immediate future, but for life. Not only are the children taught knowledge, but they are taught skills and attitudes that will stay with them for life.
For ten years, Shiloh Food has focused on building relationships with farmers, butchers and other entities to enable them to make a difference. Their food production plant is equipped with bulk food processing equipment, massive cooking pots, and walk-in freezers. The organisation’s team of dedicated staff members makes sure that only the best quality food is provided. For this endeavour, around 600 kg of potatoes and 600 kg of meat are used per week, not to mention the amount of other vegetables, rice and samp.
Though based in Brackenfell, Shiloh Food’s 63 000 meals per month reach organisations as far as Upington and Grabouw. Many underprivileged schools, churches, soup kitchens, children’s homes and old age homes rely on the organisation’s meals for sustenance.
The main challenge Shiloh Synergy has come across is that several institutions who desire to make use of its meals cannot afford to pay the R3 asked for per meal. This is where Shiloh Synergy continuously seeks to create awareness, so that companies and individuals that do have the capacity to take an organisation under their wing by sponsoring their meals may do so.
Through the years, Shiloh Synergy has built invaluable relationships with businesses, local community leaders, churches and the people from the community. Its impact can be measured only in the myriad of smiles after a warm meal, or a child receiving their certificate, the homeless receiving blankets or the young man / woman being given an opportunity to make a living for themselves. Shiloh exists for the community: uplift with excellence.
To view Shiloh Synergy in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.