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...
Mar 16, 2015

New Center Starts Its Second Year

Banele
Banele

Dear Friends,

As you know, Thembanathi has been working for more than ten years to strengthen systems of education and care for young people and families in rural South Africa by supporting community-based early childhood education and care programs. In early 2011, we helped a group of community leaders in rural KwaZulu-Natal to establish a new early childhood development center in an area that was desperately lacking in much-needed early childhood education and care programs. The new program is called Siyabonga, which means 'we thank you' in Zulu. Since it was founded in 2011, Siyabonga has grown from 24 children in a tiny house (converted into a temporary center) to our current class of 66 children in our lovely new building, which was constructed with support from many of you.

Over the last year, word about the services and the wonderful new building has spread in the area. One single parent, for example, told us that she has brought her daughter to live with her grandparents so she can attend the center, as there were no educational programs for young children where she'd been staying before. Faced with extreme poverty and high rates of HIV/AIDS, safe and secure places for young children to learn and grow are essential. All of the guardians we've talked to say that they are excited to bring their children to our center because of the well-trained and caring staff, the safety and security it offers, and the quality of the facilities and equipment, incomporable in the area. The mother of one of our new two-year-olds told us: "I am very proud of the school my son attends. I like the high quality education and that everything about Siyabonga is up-to-date. Banele comes home everyday with something new he's learned. He also is very well fed." After only a year of operation in the new center, we've already exceeded capacity in the new classrooms and have had to create a waiting list. With additional donor funds, we hope to be able to open a new classroom soon to accommodate this expanding need. 

As we've told you before, the vision for the new building is to do more than just increase numbers. Our aim is to use the new center as a site for the development of a more holistic, comprehensive, and integrated model of support that will better serve children and their families in these communities. While we currently offer vital early childhood education and care programs that lay essential foundations for young people’s educational success, it is also critical that support for these disadvantaged young people continue into their primary and secondary school years. Even with the head start of an early childhood program, children can struggle to overcome the obstacles of the poor quality educational system and the other impacts of chronic poverty, and thus need ongoing support. This is why we are currently working on plans to expand our services to include other programming that will continue to support our young children as they grow. We hope to have some exciting updates for you on these new developments soon. 

We hope we can count on your continued support to not only ensure the needs of our current program are met but also to enable us to keep expanding our programs to serve even more young people and families in need.

 

Best wishes!

 

The Thembanathi Team

Aminathi
Aminathi
Sbongakonke
Sbongakonke
Playtime in one of our new classrooms
Playtime in one of our new classrooms

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Feb 10, 2015

Grade 10 Learners Get to Down to Business

Working in the garden
Working in the garden

The Nqolobane Garden is a 25m x 15m plot of land that is situated next to Nqolobane High in a valley surrounded by rolling hills and sugarcane fields as far as the eye can see. It is a place where learners in our After-school Programme come to learn, have fun and get their hands dirty (quite literally).

Last year, our Agriculture Director worked with a group of twenty-eight Grade 10 students to teach them a variety of organic gardening skills such as how to prepare soil, the value of crop rotation, and how to grown their own seedlings. The time they spent in the garden learning practical skills through our After-school Programme bolstered the theory they were learning in the classroom through Nqolobane High, and their efforts in both would be graded. 

To spice things up a bit, students were split into teams of four and each group was assigned one plot of land within the Nqolobane Garden. Each team grew the same crops - potatoes, beetroot, and carrots - and at the end of the school year, the group with the most successful plot of land received the highest marks for the project. Although all the teams did well, there was one clear winner...may we present to you the 2014 Nqolobane Gardening Champions!

Cricket break!
Cricket break!
Relishing in the fruits of our labour...
Relishing in the fruits of our labour...
Don
Don't drop that tire!
The winning team!
The winning team!
Jan 12, 2015

Uganda Year End Updates & Reflections

Eva finishes her nursing and midwifery training
Eva finishes her nursing and midwifery training

2014 marks the eighth year of the Even Ground Uganda Education Project, and was another successful year of our program. One of our scholars, Eva, has completed her nursing and midwifery training, and two scholars are finishing their college degree programs. 2015 proves to be an exciting year for our scholars!

We recently caught up with all three students and wanted to share their thanks and reflections on the past year.

Eva: Nursing and Midwifery Certificate student at Nsambya Hospital

With all course-work completed in 2014, Eva will be graduating with her certificate in nursing and midwifery in 2015. She reports, "I can’t imagine that I’m now a qualified nurse who can treat people”. She is excited to apply her new skills and provide access to health care within her local community. She also expressed her thanks to all our donors; your support is integral to our work and has a life changing impact on our scholars. 

Justine: Candidate for a Bachelor of Microfinance at Kyambogo University

In her third year of study, Justine is entering her final internship of the program. In June 2015 she will sit for her final exams, marking the completion of her degree program. Justine is seeking employment as she nears graduation, and is committed to giving back to her local community. Specifically, she would like to support our local partner, Friends in Need Integrated Development Project (FINIDP), to enable others in her community the opportunity to pursue their education. Justine truly represents the goal of the Uganda Education Project of identifying and developing local leaders and empowering them to transform their community. 

Emmanuel: Candidate for a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance at Ndeje University

Also in his third year, Emmanuel is pursuing a Bachelor degree in Accounting and Finance. Emmanuel is preparing for graduation in June 2015, and will then seek employment. Similar to Justine, he looks forward to supporting the Uganda Education Program through our local partner once he is gainfully employed. In addition, he would like to mentor younger students as they pursue their education.

Thank you to all of our donors in 2014. Your support enables us to continue this important program. As we near the end of the first phase of the University Scholarship program we look forward to welcoming a new cohort of students in 2015. Your continued support will make that possible. Happy New Year!

Justine at University
Justine at University
Emmanual looks forward to graduation
Emmanual looks forward to graduation

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