Project Gateway was started formally in 1992 when the Constitution was signed by 23 Churches from Pietermaritzburg. This in itself was a “Miracle of God”. They were Churches representing all races, most denominations and different languages. Yet God brought these men together to fulfil a common vision. “Start a place where peopled enter hopeless and leave with hope. Share the gospel of Jesus but make sure people’s basic needs are met”. (Isaiah 58 v 6 – 12) Dominee Piet Dreyer received the vision in 1986.
As we remember the history of Gateway, I thought it would be good to highlight a few of the “Miracles of God” we have seen through the process. There are many and we will record them all in our 30 year Anniversary book to be published in 2022.
First 10 years: (1991 to 2001)
In the late 180’s and early in the 1990’s, the first projects started in homes, classrooms and anywhere where space was available. In October 1991 we received the keys to the Old Prison in Burger Street. A “Miracle of God” to be given the buildings at no cost!
From 1992 onwards the projects moved into the Old Prison buildings. Much renovation was needed and this was done gradually as funds became available. Sewing training started in a classroom off site during the evenings and eventually moved onto the Gateway site. In the early years the refugee settlement of Fox Hill (now Mphumelelo) received food support from the feeding scheme which was based at the new Gateway Centre. This feeding scheme eventually grew to cover an area of 32,000 sq. kms in KwaZulu Natal feeding 30,000 people per day for 2 years from 1992 to 1994. The funding for the feeding scheme was another “Miracle of God” and the Churches in urban, township, semi-urban and rural areas became distribution points. Adult Basic Education classes were set up in a garage during 1993 and this eventually moved onto the Gateway site. Basic Computer skills and Electrical training also began. We housed the first group of street children and started our clothing distribution section to help the homeless and needy people in our community.
During 1994 our Prison Ministry started ministry at the PMBurg Prison. Khangisa sewing began to travel out to a number of communities to assist the women in basic sewing and other housekeeping skills. The metal work training and the fabric painting training also started during 1995.
We also started Woodwork and Block-making training. We opened our first Pregnancy Crisis Centre Home caring for women who found themselves in a vulnerable situation. Riverside Christian Pre-School which was started in 1993 as a crèche became Gateway Christian School in 1998. During 1999 we received 6 new classrooms and a new toilet block. Another “Miracle of God”.
In response to the escalating HIV and AIDS situation in the world and especially in sub-Saharan Africa, we began our intervention programme during 1996. This developed into a large programme that moved into the home at No 3 Burger Street enabling it to have the space to run the programmes for education regarding the pandemic and orphan and vulnerable children care. The Jailbreak Café opened which gave people a place to relax and reflect as CARE Ministry workers often need this intervention.
The Sunset Overnight Shelter for the homeless people moved to containers outside the walls of the Old Prison.
We began hosting “team’s from overseas through our volunteer programme. “Miracle of God”
Second 10 years (2002 – 2012)
We opened Duduza Home for 20 young orphan children on the Gateway site. “Miracle of God”
We started Zandla Xpressions to help local crafters market their craft locally and internationally. We attended many craft conferences overseas and we were awarded the KwaZulu Natal – Durban Portnet “Exporter of the year”. On one of our visits to the UK we persuaded supporters of Gateway to form a UK Based Charity Trust. “Miracle of God”
We received sufficient funding to build the double story Administration Block for the school. “Miracle of God”
Our UK Trust sends us the first funding tranche. “Miracle of God”
Esther House project for vulnerable women moves their accommodation onto the Gateway Site. They cared for 30 women at any one time who were facing terrible situations with nowhere to go.
We upgrade the existing sewing training to Gateway School of Fashion thanks to a UK Funder, Karen Millen and the University of Creative Arts from Rochester in the UK. “Miracle of God”
Various building improvements were continued and we launched the Old Prison Café.
We formed the “Freedom Route” tourism initiative in partnership with other tourism organisations in the city. We also launched the Museum Passport, a competition for school children which incorporates part of their school curriculum.
We were awarded an IMPUMELELO Award in recognition of the contribution we have made to the community in various fields. “Miracle of God”
Our Boarding home facility opened for children from GCS.
Last few years (2013 – 2020)
Asset Based Community Development training was implemented in many local communities.
We wrote and launched our 20 year book “Miracles in the Making” which captures the first 20 years of Project Gateway’s history together with testimonies of many people whose lives were changed by Project Gateway through our Ministry. “Miracle of God”
We held a few fundraising events – A Murder mystery was held at the Hexagon Theatre.
We grew our Early Childhood Education programme by partnering with Singakwenza Training and we currently support 16 crèches (890 children) monitoring the implementation of training received, giving food support and helping each crèche with their community gardens which supports the children’s nutrition programme. “Miracle of God”
Currently we are training 25 Year 1 learners and 6 Year 2 learners in Gateway School of Fashion. We also have over 400 children attending Gateway Christian School. “Miracle of God”
About the author
I grew up in KwaZulu Natal and after finishing my formal education at Wykeham in PMBurg, spent my early years in “banking and finance” before moving into the Clothing Industry where I spent 17 years, working with predominantly previously disadvantaged community people.
I am married to Denis and we have 2 children and 2 grandchildren.
This was a pivotal time in my life when I felt a strong calling of God to assist at Project Gateway. My fundraising “career” was formalised in the late 1980’s when the political situation deteriorated dramatically in the areas surrounding Pietermaritzburg where I live. This culminated in the 7 day war of March 1990 in the Edendale Valley. Through the Church I attended I was involved in the formation of Project Gateway in the late 1980’s. In 1996 I was asked by Project Gateway to set up a fundraising department which is today the Project Gateway Donor Marketing and Public Relations Department. (DMPR)
Project Gateway operates programmes which focus on Care Ministries, Education (Gateway Christian School) and Empowerment Programmes. (Gateway School of Fashion)