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Having spent the evening in Newcastle, Wendy and I headed off bright and early to the city of Ladysmith.  Ladysmith is in the Uthukela District of KwaZulu-Natal, and is 365 kilometres south of Johannesburg. Important industries in the area include food processing, textile and tyre production.

There were road works for a long stretch of our journey which slowed us down considerably, but we eventually arrived safely and met up with Matthew and Gina and a long-time friend of Knit-A-Square, Joy Coetzee.  Over a cup of tea we caught up with all that Joy is doing for the babies in and around the Ladysmith area and then boosted her efforts with bags full of your contributions. 

Joy Coetzee is a retired nurse who gives special attention to premature and full-term babies born in the Ladysmith Hospital, alongside several other facets to her charity, the Ruth Mailbag Group, with which many of our own contributors have become familiar over the years.

 From left to right:  Me, Joy, Gina and Wendy in the first photo and me, Joy, Gina and Matthew behind Joy’s very full car!


After visiting Joy and packing her car to the brim, we headed to Morester Ladysmith.  This facility was established in 1981 and makes use of the cottage system, where the children live in 10 separate housing units some of which include:

Bouncing Babies

Toddler World

Developing Potential for primary school children

Young Adults for secondary school children

Special Potential for children with special educational needs


There are 128 children accommodated at Morester Ladysmith.


We arrived at the facility which was a hive of excited activity and the older children helped carry in the blanket packs we had put together for each child. 


Lots of eager helpers!

Each pack contained a blanket, a top, a beanie and either socks or hand warmers.  This was a wonderful opportunity to hand out some of our larger sized items.  Because of the large number of children and the higher day-time temperatures, the bundled gifts were the perfect way in which to distribute your generous, loving contributions.  This area of South Africa can be bitterly cold on winter evenings, with frequent snow falls on the nearby mountains.

Bags and bags of blanket packs – both Matthew’s car and the KAS Van were full!

Wendy spoke to the children and shared with them the KAS message of love and hope sent from around the world.

 The children listening attentively…

We then handed the blanket packs out to the children and there were smiles all around as we spent time talking and playing with them.


After the fun and games the children took their blanket packs back to their rooms to open.  I just love some of the photos of them walking with the colourful bundles.



With a long trip back to Johannesburg ahead of us, we prepared to head off, but Wendy was missing.  She had found the Bouncing Babies cottage – how adorable are these little ones!


We will definitely look at doing more road trips in the future and put some mileage on the KAS Van.  It is always good to distribute in new areas and to spread the KAS message which is always so enthusiastically received!


Feedback on the postal strike:


Sadly, the strike appears to be far from over and although I now visit the Post Office almost daily, they are more often than not closed for business or have simply not received any mail at all from the central sorting house. 


We have not received any KAS mail at all for three weeks now, so have been forced to cancel our Opening Days until further notice.  However, we ARE using the extra time to sort the office out, catch up on admin and, most importantly, to pursue some exciting local initiatives which we will share with you as soon as we can. 


In closing, I hope you all liked the KAS Cuddle Bug which “hatched” on The Forum recently – we just love it and cannot wait for our first batch to arrive.  Thanks so much to the Knit for Life ladies who designed it!

  The KAS Cuddle Bug!


Also, please visit the KAS Shop which is now represented by a lovely new logo designed by Anne Powell’s granddaughter Amelia Murray – what a wonderful gift – thanks Amelia!  We have added some new items to the shop which, I’m sure you will agree, will make a big difference in the lives of the children!

  How inviting is our little shop now?