CAST’s relationship with Noodsberg began more than 40 years ago, when Westville Baptist Church developed a relationship with Ephraim Mzobe, a young milk-delivery man in Westville and a strong Christian. After Ephraim had studied for the ministry at Union Bible Institute, he went back to his home in Noodsberg and established the Noodsberg Baptist Church. Ever since then Westville Baptist Church and Noodsberg Baptist Church have been sister churches in spreading the Gospel.
Noodsberg and the surrounding communities of Appellsbosch and Chibini are a 90 minute drive outside of Durban. Rural communities such as these lack resources, with people living mainly off the amount of food they are able to farm, with low rainfall and small tracts of land. Access to water, electricity, and other municipal services are limited; nearly 38 percent of the population in this area has no running water.
As a part of the greater ILembe district, the population in this area also has a high proportion of those under the age of 34 years, with 49 percent of the population 19 years or younger. As the smallest district in KwaZulu-Natal, this area also has a high unemployment rate, at 48 percent, with most people dependent on government grants and temporal jobs in farms earning less than R2000 a month. As a result, most individuals who are able leave the farms to work in the city leave children to be raised by grandparents or other family members. Drug abuse and teenage pregnancy are the major problems this community faces.
CAST has implemented programmes in all 4 departments: 54 people have participated in the Local Economic Development business training; more than 80 families receive assistance from Relief Services, and more than 300 youth have participated in our sport, tutoring and mentoring programmes.
CAST has also helped to build a Church house in Appelsbosch, a jungle gym in Chibini, the Community Centre in Chibini, and fencing of the vegetable garden in Noodsberg.