A message from Heartlines CEO, Dr Garth Japhet

News , Garth Japhet

This tumultuous year has brought with it great loss and hardship. Despite this, as Heartlines, we have much for which to be grateful.

Early in March we realised that we were ideally positioned to communicate accurate, empowering and accessible information about COVID-19 to the church in particular but also to the general public as we have a unique blend of access to medical knowledge, a Christian worldview and communication skills. This led to a partnership with the South African Council of Churches (SACC) resulting in the formation of a communications team and the creation of a website, www.churchinaction.org.za. With the support of the Solidarity Fund, we have developed hundreds of communications resources, many in 11 languages, including animated videos, voice notes and posters which have been circulated via Church in Action’s social media channels, our designated WhatsApp platform and email updates. These resources have dealt with a range of issues from key prevention messages to other highly relevant matters such as church openings, funerals and care and support. We are grateful for the opportunity to have made the contribution with the SACC and pray that we will be able to continue this work in the new year.

COVID-19 and lockdown also meant that we had to reinvent our usual way of working, which predominantly involves engaging face-to-face. To use a term made popular by Covid - “to pivot” - this reinvention saw our What’s Your Story? and Fathers Matters teams pivoting into hosting a whole series of webinars and online storytelling events. Our Values and Money facilitators creatively employed technology to present workshops (sometimes even from a car) while the participants attended from within their homes. Community radio broadcasts and social media communication also served to fill in the gaps left by the in-person workshops. We are tremendously proud of our staff, who showed great adaptability in very trying circumstances - not once losing their usual passion for their projects.

Another thing for which we are very grateful is our current funding position. This is something that we do not take for granted, as many NGOs faced tremendous financial strain this year.

This year has taught and shown us much - including the seemingly-unending resourcefulness, dedication and kindness to be found in our midst. More than ever, as Heartlines, we are mindful of the necessity to work as a united team. Corinthians 12 highlights how important - and interdependent - each unique part of the body is for it to function effectively. Because of this, “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it”. Think of the concept of ubuntu, for those who do not read the Bible - it is similar. The conclusion leads to this: we cannot do what we do without one another.

On that note, thank you to you for the role you play within the Heartlines story. While a united team is important, so is having a community to walk alongside you as an organisation. We are honoured to have your support.

We are planning many new things for 2021 and hope you will join us on the journey. Wishing you and those you love a peace-filled, restorative festive season.

This tumultuous year has brought with it great loss and hardship. Despite this, as Heartlines, we have much for which to be grateful.


At Heartlines, the Centre for Values Promotion, we believe in the power of story and positive values to touch hearts and transform behaviour.


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