Even Ground

Even Ground strives to help families and communities break the cycles of poverty and inequality by providing support to community-based programs that offer high-quality education and care to young people in Africa. We envision communities where all young people, regardless of their economic background, are given high-quality education and care to ensure a fair start in life and set them on the path towards a brighter future. UNAIDS estimates that to date, a staggering 14 million children have been orphaned by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV in the world and by 2025, it is estimated that 40% of South African adults will have died of t...
Jun 30, 2014

Scholar Spotlight: From Theory to Practice

Julius at his field internship
Julius at his field internship

Greetings from Uganda!

Our university pilot program continues to progress, with several scholars approaching graduation. During a recent field visit, we caught up with Julius, who has been an Even Ground scholar since 2006 and is currently finishing his training as an automobile engineer.

Over the last eight years, Even Ground has supported his secondary education, university diploma, and most recently a practical internship. In addition to a full academic scholarship, the generosity of our donors enables us to provide scholastic materials, counseling support and career guidance to all our scholars.

Leveraging the relationships of his university, Julius got an internship at a respected automobile mechanic garage in the community and has spent the last several months applying the classroom learnings. He reports, “I’m confident that after my training here I can do any automobile repair project. I like the garage as I am able to apply what I learned in a practical way.” Upon graduation in December, Julius will be seeking employment as an engineer in a local garage, and is looking forward to giving back to his community. He feels the education and support he received from Even Ground will enable him to make a difference in his community.

This fall we are hoping to start a new cohort of students for secondary education. This will require an annual budget of $7,000 USD. We appreciate the continued support of each of our donors, and have raised over half of the funds to launch the program. Please spread the word about our project to your friends, family and colleagues who may be interested in supporting our work.

Thank you!

Julius discusses his future with the local team
Julius discusses his future with the local team
May 16, 2014

Bandile Starts a Garden

Bandile
Bandile

This is the story of Bandile, who was 17 years old and doing grade 8 for the second time when Thanda’s agriculture after-school program came to his rural Sizanayo High School. Outside a humble school building set amidst rural hills dotted with huts and cows, the children learned to grow vegetables- something that had been lost during the turmoil of South Africa’s last 100 years. Bandile was the last born of 3 children and didn’t know anything about planting, but he immediately became passionate about agriculture and set up his own garden at home too. He taught his retired father and unemployed mother how to garden and they started helping each day. Bandile borrowed many books from the library set up by Thanda at his high school and he passed grade 8 with Thanda’s after-school help.

Today, Bandile is known around the community for his dedication to agriculture and his knowledge on organic permaculture. Teachers and local community members buy their vegetables from him and he’s supporting his household with this income. If you ever meet Bandile along the path, people say that he’ll turn the conversation to talk about agriculture and start teaching you how to plant.

This is just one of many examples of the changes happening in rural Umtwalume, spurred by Thanda’s agriculture initiatives. Just yesterday a new group of youth come to us, asking for advice and training in their new chicken business. It’s incredibly exciting as we start to see change happen and watch an economy take form.

Sizanayo High School
Sizanayo High School
Learning to plant at Sizanayo
Learning to plant at Sizanayo
Growing tomatoes
Growing tomatoes
Thanda teacher
Thanda teacher
The community
The community
Apr 2, 2014

A Community Celebration

Cutting the cake at the opening ceremony
Cutting the cake at the opening ceremony

Dear friends of Thembanathi,

Since our last quarterly report in December, we've reached some major milestones in our programs here in South Africa. On the 11th of January, over 100 people came together to celebrate the completion of the new Siyabonga Early Childhood Development and Community Center.  Representatives of the traditional authority, the local municipality, and local churches attended, along with the families and students who have participated in our program and community members excited to see this new facility built to benefit all the young people of the area.  We were very pleased that six of our US-based volunteers, as well as the directors and staff from two of our sister projects in South Africa - Thanda and Holy Cross - were able to join in the celebration. Many who spoke expressed appreciation for the people from across the world that made this possible, reminding us all that we are connected no matter how far apart we are or how different the lives we lead. In addition to the many celebratory speeches, there was a great deal of singing and dancing, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and a feast shared by all.  It was a great day for all of us to celebrate the accomplishments of our partners in South Africa and our supporters in the US and elsewhere.   

The next week saw the opening of our two new classrooms just in time for the start of the South African school year on January 16. The children who were with us in our old temporary facilities were delighted by the new classrooms filled with many new amazing materials. While initially a bit more tentative, the 43 new children who have been able to join our programs this year thanks to our expanded facilities have quickly opened up and are beginning to catch up with the others in their skills at learning games, songs, and other activities. The chalkboard walls, a suggestion of one of our advisory board members, have been an especially big hit with all of the children. They love covering the walls in drawings and then helping to wipe the surfaces clean to begin again. The children have also quickly discovered the many new blocks, trucks, dolls, and books – things many of the children had not seen before. It is fun to watch how fast they have become adept at building tall towers and then knocking them down.

It's amazing to think about how far we've come. None of this would have been possible without your generous support. We want to thank you for this! However, in order for the program to continue to serve these needy young people, and to grow to offer services to even more children and their families, we would very much appreciate your ongoing commitment to our programs. Please consider making a pledge to provide monthly support, as this form of support allows us to ensure continuity of care for young children facing adversity. A donation of only $25 per month will ensure that one of our center children continues to receive nutritious hot meals each day, while a $50 monthly pledge will cover the full costs of a young child's education, food and care at our high-quality early childhood center.

Thanks again to all of you for your support. We're excited to see what comes next!

Our team performs at the opening ceremony
Our team performs at the opening ceremony
Children celebrating before the ribbon cutting
Children celebrating before the ribbon cutting
One of our new classrooms
One of our new classrooms
A student enjoying our new chalkboard walls
A student enjoying our new chalkboard walls
A happy student
A happy student

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor is matching all new monthly recurring donations. Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $30
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $1,500
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $1,500
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Even Ground

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Even Ground on GreatNonProfits.org.