Another Update on #LetsBlessBlessings -We Did It.. Let’s Carry on!!

UPDATE ON BLESSINGS – 9th September 2016

UPDATE ON BLESSINGS – 9th September 2016
It was so incredible to see ‘Turbo’ Blessings at our house today, as he starts to do odd jobs for my folks.
He gave me a heartwarming update, that had us both smiling from ear to ear!
Not only did him as his wife have a safe return from Malawi, but they are in the process of getting permanent residence!
AND blessing of all blessings …
After the devastating loss of their baby to Malaria, Blessings wife is now in the early stages of pregnancy!!!
Thanks again to so many incredible people for helping this special guy out! Lyndall Smith Mikhaila Katz Roxy Mulder Tayrene Barrett Justine Miller Maggie Miller Megan Fellner Dominic Darne Kerry Pallas
He is literally radiating from all the love shone upon him and still a little in awe and amazed that people would help him!
Because this has turned out to be such an amazing initiative started by my selfless brother in law Bruce Darné and because our Turbo is just the most grateful, special person even through his heart wrenching and tough journey in life, I would like to think that we can all carry on with helping to #BlessBlessings.
He still has no home and with a new baby on the way any donations would help in the form of clothes and nappies etc.
We also need to ensure that when going to Malawi his wife, himself and new baby are protected from Malaria with items such as mosquito nets,citronella candles and oil.
If you are keen to assist please let myself or Bruce know and we can organize collection of items.
Alternatively we still have his donor page set up and you can donate on this page via PayPal or into Bruce’s bank account via EFT.
Banking Details:
Bank: Nedbank
Account Holder: Bruce Darné
Account Number: 1009742647
Branch Code: 100909
Proof of Payment can be sent to Bruce at or 0823370962.
Please use your name and what items you would like us to use your donation for, in the email subject line or as a reference.
We will always credit and mention you amazing, kind and beautiful souls who help make another life one worth living …. Please let us know if you would rather stay anonymous.

Blessings Done copy
….and with the extra funds YOU have made it possible to help him start his life in South Africa….to my amazing brother-in-law Bruce Darné who started this initiative, you have a heart of gold I am proud to have you as a brother!
MOST IMPORTANTLY ~ AN INCREDIBLY HEARTFELT THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, SPECIAL, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE for your GENEROUS DONATIONS… this world needs more people like you as there are so many stories like this one where people in dire straits need assistance.

Kerry Pallas – R 1530 | &100

Tayrene Barrett R 1000 | $66

Lyndall Smith  R 765 | $50

Mikhaila Katz – R 300 | $21

Roxy Mulder – R 500 | $33

Anonymous donor – R 7000 | $463

Kathryn-Leigh Storm –  R 500 | $33

Dominic Darné & Barclays Bank –  R 2000 | $131

Amanda Grose –  R 2000 | $131

Adriaan Theron – R 200 | $13

Justine & Gary Miller  – R 200 | $13

Megan Fellner –  R 500 | $33

Jojo & Debs Bayvel  – R 500 | $33


Let’s Bless Blessings – By Bruce Darné co-written by Jojo Bayvel

Blessings Pic copy

An initiative started by my amazing brother in law “Bless Blessings journey Home to South Africa” — story co-written by me… and lets fund!

Blessings came into my life in January 2013 and for some reason – I would like to think it is an inherent instinct I have to recognize good and kind people – my heart immediately went out to this tiny but strong young man.

At this point Blessings was absolutely desperate for work and trying to support his wife – then pregnant with their first child. Having been in South Africa for a few months he had overstayed his welcome and his visa and was in dire financial straits, yet making the trip back to Malawi, his place of birth, was not possible if he did not earn the money to do so. Add to this the additional stress caused from the knowledge that returning to his country would mean that Blessings would battle even more to support his little family, in a place where jobs are so few and far between. Blessings was a truly desperate man, and seeing this I knew I had to give him a chance.

I started giving Blessings odd jobs around the house and in the garden. In time this man of such diminutive stature proved to be an unbelievably strong, dedicated and hard worker. Putting in the effort of 3 men when doing any job I asked of him.

Slowly but surely because of his amazing work ethic together with his gentle, kind and willing nature, Blessings began working as a gardener for other people including ourselves.

Blessings had found work and was able to support his little family as his wife had given birth to a beautiful baby boy – He also quickly earned himself the nickname among his employers of ‘Turbo’ due to his ability to get everything done so efficiently and so quickly!

And then whilst everything seemed to be coming right in this mans life the worst tragedy struck.

Blessings family back home in Malawi were desperate to meet their new grandson and nephew – yet another thing I found endearing about Blessings and something I can relate to as a husband, son, brother and father, is his closeness and dedication to his family – and so with the little money he had saved up Blessings sent his wife and new baby boy to meet his family.

On their return, less then a week after being reunited with his wife and baby boy, Blessings little guy became terribly ill and landed up in hospital with Malaria. Three days later Blessings and his wife had to say goodbye to this tiny new member of their family, when he sadly and tragically passed away.

They say a parent should never have to bury their child and I think that this cannot be more true especially when it comes to having to bury a tiny baby. A little human completely dependent on you to exist and a precious soul with their entire life stretched out before them – as the father of a three and a half year old and a one month old, I cannot even begin to imagine the heartache and sheer desperation Blessings and his wife felt and still feel to this day.

BUT upholding his incredible work ethic and knowing he is the sole provider, Blessings continued to work 6 days a week for fourteen months and at full ‘turbo’ in order to save the money he needed in order to return to Malawi and reunite with his wife to be with their family and finally have the chance to mourn the loss of their baby boy.

Fast forward to the 3rd May 2016. Taking R 7000, all the money he had earned working so hard for me and other people, Blessing began the 3 day journey from Cape Town to Johannesburg where he would then get on a bus and return to Malawi.

Desperate to keep his life savings safe; Blessings hid this money in the very shoes and socks he was wearing – The tragedy that a man should have to hold on so tightly to an amount of money we could spend so very easily in just a few days on trivial and nonessential items again strikes me as so very sad and burdens my heart.

And then Tragedy struck this man again. On arrival in Johannesburg, Blessings was stopped and searched by corrupt members of the Johannesburg police service. These men, meant to stop crime and corruption, not only stole all of the R 7000 Blessings had worked so hard to earn but also locked him up in a cell and threatened him with deportation if a bribe was not paid. For these men stealing another mans hard earned money was not enough, having the upper hand in ‘terms of the law’ they knew that Blessings should not be in the country and so further tried to exploit this already desperate human being.

Blessings contacted me and in sheer desperation for this young man I have come to respect, I decided that I would pay a bribe of R 1000 to the police – let it be known this is something I am completely against – and then get Blessings on his bus to Malawi. He needed his family and he has worked so hard for the dream which was just within his reach that was so very nearly snatched away and perhaps still was as Blessings is left penniless.

Blessings dream and plans, were and still are to return to South Africa with his wife where he wants to apply for a proper working permit.

However this money stolen from him, his life’s worth and savings, was the money he would use to take time to grieve and then return to South Africa in a timeous fashion in order to continue working on the jobs he had fought to secure and worked so hard at, in order to keep.

My fear is that Blessing now returns home empty handed. Which means he will not have the means to return to South Africa and keep these jobs which belong to ‘Turbo’ our hard working blessing.

This young man has suffered too many tragedies in this life and as I mentioned in the beginning of this story when meeting Blessings my gut instinct was correct. This is a good, kind, gentle, humble and hard working man who deserves a little break in life.

And so I would like to start and initiative to bless Blessings. Let’s all get together and get Blessings back to South Africa as soon as we can so he can keep his jobs and carry on being the ‘turbo’ he is!

If this story touches your heart and you would like to, or are able to assist with any size donation towards Blessings and his wife’s journey back to South Africa, where he can fulfill his dreams then please donate by following the prompts on this page. Donations can be made via PayPal here

You can also donate money via EFT into my bank account and this donation will then be shown on this page as “Money Raised Offline” with your name (if you would like) and the amount you donate.

Please use your email address as your reference!

Banking Details:

Bank: Nedbank

Account Holder: Bruce Darné

Account Number: 1009742647

Branch Code: 100909

Proof of Payment can be sent to Bruce at or 0823370962

I will then make sure this money gets to Blessings in his own currency – the Malawian kwacha.

I feel we can do this in two weeks – I challenge myself and all of you to get this done. Let the bless Blessings journey back to South Africa, begin now!

By Bruce Darné co-written by Jojo Bayvel


An Open Letter Of Appeal To Help a Child For R 160/month – Lesedi Childrens Pre-School – My Story On Why & How

Lesedi Pre-school










Lesedi Children’s Pre-School – You can help to

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Little did I know that going with a friend to a Charity day -organised and sponsored by the company he works for – would change my life and heart forever. Being a gentle person by nature I have always felt sorry for the very less fortunate – from car guards to domestic workers –  who always have a smile on their faces yet earn a tenth of what the people I socialise with do. Then I met the children, teachers and people who run the Lesedi Children’s Pre-school and my eyes were opened to a world where feeling sorry for people is not enough. Where teachers earn less then you or I do in a day (approx R 600/month) and work from 5 am to 7 pm. Where children are born blind, deaf, autistic or paralysed and their parents are unable to feed them for days or weeks at a time. Where parents have to leave a family at 5am to get to work at 7am via our South African public transport systems, only to return home at 7pm each night, earning not even enough to put food in their families mouths, candles for light, clothing for warmth and water for cleaning. As I watched these children with tears welling in my eyes I realised that my day had to be shared – even if it means I am able to touch only one other person who is willing to help just one of these children or teachers. I arrived at the Elf restaurant in Chartwell on a day when I was not feeling very happy with what I had: my life, my looks and my lack of being “loved” or being in love. In this state of mind I walked through the restaurant and gazed upon a sight that would haunt me that night and possibly forever. In my selfishness I honestly thought I had it bad…. until I glanced at one child and her smile turned my world upside down. Little did I know that she was blind, a spastic quadriplegic and has cerebal palsy and could only sense me standing next to her… this was enough to make her beam and giggle. My Refilwe, my little angel. Being the person I am, not one to stand aside, I walked right into the midst of about 80 children between the ages of 3 months and 6 years and began to interact with them and start a journey which changed my mindset and hopefully yours as you read this. 80 children where playing on a trampoline, wandering in and out of old cars and train tracks and playing games with teachers and assistants who had arranged little groups to play everything from ring a rosies to clambering over obstacle courses. These children were not screaming or crying for the food and sweets set aside on a table within their reach (they had been told to wait) they were not begging for an ipad to entertain them: they were happy to be in a new place where playing on a trampoline, in an obstacle course and venturing through an old volkswagen beetle meant the best things in life had come to them -makes you think how “wealthier” children would have behaved. I sat down on a blanket with one teacher who had the largest smile in the world, she introduced me to her new baby girl and told me she was so happy. Happy? earning nothing and battling through life? Yes happy because she was fulfilled from within, not through material or superficial items – her soul was happy. And that’s when Refilwe caught my eye again. I reached over to her as she lay on the blanket, alone, no mother tending to her or comforting her and i gently tickled her tummy which resulted in a gleeful giggle. I then sang to her quietly and again she emitted these little squeals of delight. At this stage Bronwen walked up to me introduced herself and told me that Refilwe was born blind and spastic (we have since had her properly diagnosed). Her mother walked out on the family and her aunt, who now looks after this little treasure, has three other children and cannot afford to look after them even though she works 3 days a month. Refilwe, my little angle, was happy just because she was given attention and love. Again how selfish am I to think that I have it bad because I don’t drive a Range Rover and I ‘only” have a family to go home to anytime I need, for comfort, love and monetary support. Refilwe thank you – you gave me back a piece of me that had become superficial. For that I am in your debt always.

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I then took a walk to an older boy sitting quietly by himself watching the children play. I tried to initiate a conversation or ask him if he wanted to join in the games – this boy I later learned was to old for the pre-school but at 16 he is a quadriplegic, has never been taught to read or write and was often left alone in his family shack as his parents have to work – in winter this meant he was left with a fire burning in the shack for heating, it gives me chills to think what he would have experienced had something in the shack caught alight – think about that for a minute. No way to run, no way to shout, no way out…. Lesedi now looks after him. Bronwen then introduced me to the boy who has taken over from his mom, Maria,  who started the Pre-school from her shack with one child. Mamma Maria sadly passed away in October of last year she did however leave an amazing legacy. Look what she built? A safe-haven and educational facility for children, I am sure she is looking down and smiling right now, in a happy place blessed beyond measure for her good works. Her son, at 21, instead of running away from this responsibility has embraced it and taken over all obligations to do with the Lesedi creche. How can we help him? Perhaps a bursary or sponsorship to study part time. After this I mingled with the kids, I jumped on the trampoline with a curly haired child, wide beautiful innocent eyes, I leant down as her shoelace appeared untied and realised that her sneakers were broken, the laces tied together in knots, the soles loose and glued together – how many pairs of shoes do you own… the number in my cupboard, not worn for months or even years, haunted me in an instant? I then decided to take on the obstacle course and ring a rosies. Wow this is when the teachers impressed me further. They give these kids there all. They love them, entertain them, teach them manners, teach them right from wrong, teach them how to have fun with the little they have and most of all they do this without a hint of bitterness or sadness – they smile and laugh more then I see in ten lunches with friends… they earn R 600 a month and work 12 hour days. Why am I telling you this story? Well so you to can support one of these children or perhaps a teacher so we can increase their salaries. Looking after one of these children, our future, inclusive of meals and medical bills, costs less then you or I could spend at a petrol station buying coldrinks and magazines. It costs less then a round of drinks at a bar for two people, it costs less then downloading your email for a week. It costs R 160 a month… Bronwen runs Lesedi and is amazing. Read below to find out all the legalise and information on this Pre-School and how you can help. Then please contact me so I can get you in touch with her and you to can begin a journey to happiness from within whilst you make a child smile instead of crying from hunger, whilst you educate a child and in doing so build hope for our future in South Africa. Please also ‘Like’ our page on Facebook here Lesedi Pre-school I am in teh process of building our website where one will be able to give donations online. A note from Bronwen:

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Lesedi is a registered non-profit organisation based near Lanseria airport. There is no running water or electricity and it is the only creche servicing Malatjie township. We have 120 children aged 3 months to 6 years and all live in extreme poverty. In the year and a half that I’ve been involved at Lesedi I have raised funds to expand the creche by building 2 classrooms, a kitchen, store-room, 2 long drop toilets and a jungle gym. In February we start building 2 more classrooms. We opened a special needs project at Lesedi and have 5 children with various disabilities ranging from autism to blindness and cerebral palsy. This year we have started a library where each child takes a book home every week. We have a group of volunteers who go up on alternate Wendesday mornings to do arts and crafts with the older children and textural play with the younger children. The children now enjoy an annual outing – in 2012 we took them to the Lory Park Zoo and in 2013 to the Lonehill Fire Station. We also host a Christmas party and other events occasionally during the year. We have also started a sponsorship programme where the poorest families receive payment relief for school fees – this is where you come in. The sponsorship programme runs from Jan – Dec and for 2014 will be R160 per month. The child receives a sponsorship certificate specifying the sponsor’s name and the duration. A photo is taken of the child with their certificate and sent to the sponsor. The sponsorship will then be re-assessed in November to determine whether you would like to continue or if your child has graduated etc. Payment can be a lump sum into the Lesedi bank account or a monthly direct debit. All bank details will be sent to you along with a picture of your child. The reference on your payment will be the child’s name. Please find a few pics of the project above. The first pic shows the neighbours shack we bought in Dec 2012 and the next 2 pics are of the new classrooms & jungle gym built mid 2013. Also a pic from our outing to the fire station and of 2 of our special needs children. Lastly I’ve included one of a sponsored child with their certificate so you know what to expect on my next mail. There is a Facebook page – Lesedi Creche – if anyone is keen to join. With warm regards Bronwen

A fab thing I found on Mashable … Charity via Social Media

As you all know Charity is close to Jojo’ heart so I found this page on it truly makes it easy to give without having to even move from your PC, Mac, Tablet or any other gadget you use. Click on the links to read more.  Its always more rewarding to give than to receive Peeps.

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