first_imgthe Choice Trust offers training to community-based health workers and community members who are then able to provide care to their communities. (Image: Choice Trust, via Facebook)The threat of illness is always something we have to keep an eye out for, and access to medical care is important for living a healthy and fulfilling life.But for people living in South Africa’s rural areas, access to medical assistance often means having to cover large distances to get to the nearest hospital or clinic, which makes regular check-ups difficult.This is why the Choice Trust has shifted the focus onto rural communities around Tzaneen in Limpopo and has developed community home-based medical care through training and outreach.WHAT CHOICE TRUST IS ABOUTAccredited by the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority, the Choice Trust offers training to community-based health workers and community members who are then able to provide care to their communities.“It was established in greater Tzaneen originally and focused predominantly on the needs of farm workers,” explains Nicola Stuart-Thompson, the director of the Choice Trust.“Soon, however, the organisation realised that addressing just the needs of farm workers wasn’t sufficient and we needed to move into the rural community.”While spreading their reach further into Tzaneen’s rural areas, members of the organisation realised that health needs are very broad and therefore developed the organisation in order to provide a variety of services.“One of our programmes is the home-based care programme through which we have 65 caregivers,” Stuart-Thompson explains.These caregivers service around 10 000 households, offering a variety of services including screening and prevention in order to catch health issues before they become more problematic.“There are a number of challenges that we face,” says Hilary Saichitima, the programme coordinator at the Choice Trust.“One of the biggest challenges that we face is the distance that patients have to travel in order to get to a clinic or in order to get to a health facility as well as the distances that our caregivers have to travel in order to get to the patients.”Knowing where to go when in need of help is one of the major benefits of Choice Trust. It has also grown into a good referral system for those looking for help from social workers and support groups.GET INVOLVEDIf you’re looking to get involved with the Choice Trust, have a look at their website for details.You can also contact the organisation on +27 15 307 6329 or via email at YOUR PARTAre you playing your part to help improve the lives of those around you or the environment? Do you know of anyone who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.last_img read more

first_img03 May 2016When Laduma Ngxokolo’s mother Lindelwa taught him to knit, she sparked a love of fashion that inspired him to become a designer. Today her son’s collections are showcased on the catwalks of Europe’s fashion capitals. And earlier this year he walked away with the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa Award at the 2016 Design Indaba. These are some of Laduma Ngxokolo’s designs from his women’s collection. (Image: MaXhosa by Laduma)The beginningWhen he was in Grade 8, Lindelwa sat Ngxokolo down and taught him how to use the family knitting machine. Knitting became his hobby, and changed his life. He went on to study textile design and technology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth.“I was influenced greatly by my mother as I grew up doing craftwork and beadwork with her,” he told digital publishing company Between 10 and 5 in an interview. “I believe that that was the beginning of my design experience.”The researchHis 2010 thesis project revolved around innovation. Inspired by traditional Xhosa patterns he designed a range for initiates to wear. This project was the first stitch in his knitwear company – MaXhosa by Laduma – and also his winning submission to an international design competition sponsored by the Society of Dyers and Colourists.“This gave me the opportunity to speak about my project at Design Indaba 2011, which led to a lot of positive press coverage. It ultimately helped me establish my knitting brand in February 2011.”His own Xhosa initiation, in 2011, confirmed to Ngxokolo that there is a market for his brand. “I felt that the outfits for the initiation ritual were too westernised. Xhosa initiation is a traditional ritual and even though we are all living in a modern time, I felt that there should still be an element that resembles the Xhosa culture.” The designs of MaXhosa by Laduma are showcased on international catwalks, such as in Milan, Italy. (Image: MaXhosa by Laduma)Ngxokolo’s creations are inspired by his Xhosa background and the local mohair industry. Visits to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum helped him discover the richness and creativity of Xhosa cultural beadwork. Incorporating those designs into his own work have helped him celebrate and preserve his own cultural identity.“I also decided to use mohair from my hometown and discovered that Port Elizabeth has the biggest mohair industry in the world, and has the biggest wool industry in Africa. So I decided to take advantage of the local material, which is usually exported.”Many accoladesNgxokolo was fortunate in his choice of university. He arrived in the year the institution set up an Art and Design Incubator. NMMU provided him with seed capital to start MaXhosa, but his ongoing success is also a result of his talent and hard work.His sister Tina, also a designer, has become one of Ngxokolo’s collaborators at MaXhosa. According to the MaXhosa blog, he has also worked with several Norwegian entrepreneurs, and given the chance to showcase their joint creations in Norway.In 2014 he won a WeTransfer-sponsored two-year scholarship to study for a Masters in Material Futures at London’s prestigious Central St Martins of the University of the Arts.That same year he received a standing ovation for his Buyel’mbo women’s range at Johannesburg Fashion Week. He described this local appreciation as overwhelming, even more than being identified as 2015’s Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa prize winner.According to the international news broadcasting agency BBC, most of his sales are from Merchants on Long in Cape Town. Ngxokolo also has an online store.South reporterlast_img read more

first_imgMobile BlindersEradicating boredom and banishing downtime has its upside, of course. In a recent Bloomberg report, major advertisers, including Coca-Cola and Hearst, expressed their concern over lowered “impulse” sales at the grocery store checkout aisles. This is not at all surprising. Staring into their smartphones, with their “mobile blinders” on, people are less inclined to buy gum, candy or those trashy magazines.“For years, publishers could count on bored shoppers waiting in the checkout line to pick up a magazine, get engrossed in an article, and toss it into their cart alongside the milk and eggs. Then came ‘mobile blinders.’ These days, consumers are more likely to send a quick text and check their Facebook feed than to read a magazine or develop a momentary craving for the gum or candy on display.” Awesome. Score one for the smartphone!But this victory comes at a cost. Spending so much time texting and updating, tweeting and watching, calling and playing at every free moment, from every location, never alone with our thoughts, never allowing our thoughts to drift, impacts our creativity, which in turn can limit our full potential.Edward de Bono, business consultant and self-described “father of lateral thinking” has authored numerous works on creative thinking. de Bono calls moments of boredom “creative pauses,” which allows the mind to drift, and avails the person to new forms of input and understanding. Boredom may be even more important for children than adults. Spending so much time on gadgets may “short circuit the development of creative capacity” in children, according to educational expert Dr. Teresa Belton. Other education experts similarly suggest that a child’s imagination and creativity is ultimately aided through bouts of boredom.Earlier this year, Science Omega examined the benefits of boredom.“Psychologists from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have conducted research into the potential upsides of boredom and found that the time we spend daydreaming could improve our creative ability.”The lead researcher on the UCLan study, Dr. Sandi Mann, emphasized boredom’s role in society:“I do strongly believe that we shouldn’t be afraid of boredom and that we all – adults, children, workers, non-workers – need a little bit of boredom in our lives. Of course I’m not saying we should make people attend boring meetings for the sake of it, but allowing staff downtime where they can daydream and let their minds wander could possibly lead to benefits for an organisation.”Short-term GainThere is the possibility, of course, that by killing our boredom smartphones are freeing up time for better, more productive or uplifting pursuits. For example, psychology professor Gary Marcus distinguishes between the two primary types of pursuits we use to defeat boredom.“Boredom is the brain’s way to tell you you should be doing something else. But the brain doesn’t always know the most appropriate thing to do. If you’re bored and use that energy to play guitar and cook, it will make you happy. But if you watch TV, it may make you happy in the short term, but not in the long term.”So much of what we do on our smartphones, however, is decidedly short-term: a few moments playing a game while we stand in line, a minute to scan Instagram as the person in front of us at the grocery store pulls out their checkbook. A study last year by UK carrier O2 examined the amount of time the typical user spends each day on their smartphone. It’s a lot – more than two hours a day, everyday. Most of that is spent browsing the Internet, on social networking sites, playing games, listening to music, calling, emailing and texting – and not, for example, learning a new language.  No Off SwitchAt work, employees are often encouraged to ‘think outside the box.’ The assumption is that such thinking will lead to creativity, innovation, and newer, better solutions to existing or expected problems. Spending so much time with our heads focused inside the box – staring at our smartphone – may mean, however, that we are ultimately limiting our creativity. There is no time freed up to see the larger picture, to make connections where they previously never existed, to allow our brains rest, to see and hear and accept alternatives. Though I confess I hope I am wrong about all of this.I spend far more time than the average user with my eyes staring into that small, bright and highly receptive screen. I am not sure I am able to shut it off, even now. Image courtesy of Shutterstock. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement brian s hall I love my iPhone. I take it with me everywhere. But I am starting to fear it may be killing my creativity. Numerous studies and much accepted wisdom suggest that time spent doing nothing, being bored, is beneficial for sparking and sustaining creativity. With our iPhone in hand – or any smartphone, really – our minds, always engaged, always fixed on that tiny screen, may simply never get bored. And our creativity suffers.Peter Toohey, author of Boredom: A Lively History, told the New York Times that boredom is the experience of “wanting to, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity.” No wonder those of us with smartphones are able to avoid boredom so easily. We can always engage in some satisfying activity, no matter how trivial – snap a picture of our meal, play a quick game of Angry Birds, check-in on Foursquare or leave a tip. We may be helpless, despite knowing the deleterious effects of these devices. Consider that Apple’s latest marketing campaign perfectly captures the breadth of functions and fun the iPhone readily delivers to its millions of users. There is so much anyone can do with this magical device, so simply, so quickly, from any place, at any time. The problem is that this may not be a good thing. At least, not always.   Tags:#Apple#iPhone Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaceslast_img read more